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Literature & Languages Student Opportunities

  • Explore the Possibilities

    As a student in the Literature & Languages program at Saint Francis University you will have plenty of opportunities in the classroom and beyond. Below are just a few of the opportunities waiting for you.

  • Open Opportunities

    While these opportunities are open to anyone, Literature & Language majors can find great career experience via these extra-curricular activities.

    • RED Radio - Student Radio Station
    • Troubadour - The Troubadour is a bi-weekly student publication of Saint Francis University.
    • ASL Club - The ASL Club is a vibrant student organization who enjoys working with the Deaf community to create awareness of Deaf Culture and American Sign Language! One of the first steps in breaking down walls of oppression or discrimination is to create awareness. Many people have few experiences with a person from the Deaf community and often view deafness as a disability. The Club, with support from the Deaf Community spreads awareness and allows people to realize that Deaf individuals are highly successful just like any hearing person.
    • Literary Club - Many of our majors are active members of the Literary Club, which, in addition to hosting public readings and writing workshops, provides transportation and travel money for off-campus cultural events. Last year, for instance, members of the Literary Club, accompanied by Dr. Kirk Weixel, attended a production of Rent in Pittsburgh.
    • Bell Tower - Saint Francis University Yearbook
    • Environmental Studies Program
    • Peer-reviewed journal, Legacy
    Writing Contest

    Each year the School of Arts & Letters hosts the Gunard Berry Carlson Writing Contest to recognize undergraduate students’ outstanding writing and visual artwork. Writing categories include fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and essay writing; visual arts categories include photography, painting (oil or water), sculpture, and sketch. Entries are judged by an interdisciplinary faculty panel, and prizes are awarded as follows:

    Writing Entries

    • First Place: $350 and $350 Tuition Credit
    • Second Place: $200 and $200 Tuition Credit
    • Third Place: $150 and $150 Tuition Credit
    • Fourth Place: $100 and $100 Tuition Credit
    • Honorable Mentions: $25

    Visual Arts Entries

    • First Place: $100
    • Honorable Mentions: $25

    All winning entries and honorable mentions in both the writing and visual arts categories are published in Tapestries, a university-sponsored literary magazine, with the winning visual arts entry serving as the magazine’s cover image.

    Tapestries reflects the broad creative talents of the university’s burgeoning writers and artists. Any currently enrolled SFU undergraduate may submit writing or artwork for the Gunard Berry Carlson Writing Contest.

    For more information regarding contest guidelines and submission procedures, please e-mail Dr. Brennan Thomas at or call 471-1111.



    The Western PA Women Writers Bi-Annual Retreat

    The retreat is organized by English faculty Timothy Bintrim, Robin Cadwallader, Lauri Chose, Kelly Rhodes, and Kirk Weixel, and supported by the funding from the School of Arts & Letters, Provost’s Office, and English, Communication Arts & Foreign Languages Department.

    Our first retreat in 2008 featured authors Rebecca Harding Davis, Nellie Bly, Willa Cather, Margaret Deland, Jennifer Haigh, and Tawni O’Dell.


    Immersion Trips

    Retreats include immersion trips to the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and the Deaf Freedom Cruise. A student minoring in ASL must participate in one ASL immersion trip, as application is key to the success of ASL. Although students learn ASL on campus, they apply it while immersing themselves within the Deaf community.


    Spanish in Costa Rica

    The Spanish in  Costa Rica Program features an immersion approach in conjunction with  Centro Panamericano de Idiomas (CPI), living with host families while spending a week at each of the three CPI campuses in small classes (2-4 students).

    Professional Development

    Honor Society

    Sigma Tau Delta Logo

    Sigma Tau Delta was founded in 1924 at Dakota Wesleyan University to recognize English majors who have displayed superior scholarship in their literary studies. Saint Francis University established the Phi Chi Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta in 1988 and is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies.

    Writing Center

    A Humble and Generous Attitude Towards Learning: The university’s writing center, now housed in the English department, provides tutoring services to all undergraduate students, particularly those who feel anxious or uncertain about their writing abilities or are struggling to find their own voice.

    Involvement: English majors selected to tutor in the writing center are trained to guide the center’s clientele through various stages of the writing process; in doing so, tutors enhance not only their interpersonal communication skills but also their understanding of the writing process. This scholarship option is strongly recommended for students pursuing careers in education and professional writing. English majors collaborate with tutors from other disciplines in developing materials for our center’s website and quarterly newsletter, The Write Times.

    About the center: The Writing Center, located in Pasquerilla Library, provides one-to-one consultations and small-group workshops for students seeking assistance with their writing. The center’s peer tutoring staff is trained to work with students at any stage of the writing process on almost any type of assignment. Tutoring services and resources are free to all students enrolled at Saint Francis University.

    For more information regarding the center’s services, please e-mail Dr. Brennan Thomas, Writing Center Director, at or visit the writing center’s home page.

    Conferences, Collaborations, and Outreach

    Lit and Lang Student Opps Harry Olafsen CERIS hide reveal

    In the spring of 2015, freshman Harry Olafsen and Dr. Roxana Cazan participated in a conference organized by the Consortium for Educational resources on Islamic Studies at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh.

    In November, 2015, Dr. Lauri Chose and Dr. Roxana Cazan escorted students to see a production of Lord of the Flies at Carnegie Mellon University.

    In April 2015, five writing center tutors--Jordan Gorsuch, Kim Marangoni, Dency Samuel, April Taylor, and Christi Villareale--and their director, Dr. Brennan Thomas, presented a scholarly panel at the Mid-Atlantic Writing Centers Association Conference hosted by James Madison University. Their panel, titled “‘Show, Don’t Tell’: Consultants as Model-Practitioners of Effective Writing Practices,” explored ways in which Saint Francis' writing tutors emphasize students’ development and autonomy by modeling rather than merely describing effective writing strategies for the center’s clientele.  Each of the six panelists demonstrated new methods for assisting students with various stages of the writing process, from overcoming writer’s block to incorporating source material and revising for clarity and stylistic emphasis. Their presentation was well received; immediately following the question-and-answer period, five audience members separately complimented the tutors' innovative methods. The tutors and their director also attended a panel session on African American Vernacular English (AAVE) and the keynote address of Nathalie Singh-Corcoran, West Virginia University’s Writing Center Coordinator.

    In the spring of 2016, seniors Syndey Beunier-Lucas and Kayla Reed visited the premier local anime convention, Tekkocon, in Pittsburgh along with 13 students from the Anime Anonymous club and their advisor, Ms. Daniels.

    As President of the Anime-Anonymous club, senior Syndey Beunier-Lucas earned a free ticket to the Pasquerilla Center in Johnstown in March 2016 to experience a Japanese-AmericanTaiko-drum Ensemble: the San Jose Taiko.

    Gabrielle McDermott ('15), a double major in English and Biology, accompanied Associate Professors of English Dr. Lauri Chose and Dr. Tim Bintrim and five other student volunteers to MOM-n-PA, the second Pennsylvania dental Mission of Mercy held in Allentown, September 12-13, 2014. During the two-day clinic, more than 2,000 Pennsylvanians received free dental treatment, including cleanings and fillings, oral surgery, and extractions. Gabrielle assisted in dental x-ray. Late on Saturday, when a young man with trisomy-21 bolted from the dental chair, Gabrielle was one of the first bystanders to catch his arm, stopping his flight through the treatment area, which might have caused serious injury (needle sticks or worse) to himself and others. We like to credit Gabrielle’s decisive action to her study of literature, but she credited her reflexes to growing up with her brothers!

    Lit and Lang Student Opps Kings ASL hide revealIn 2013, Emily Gabriel initiated and completed an ASL community service project for the West Moreland Association for the Deaf. She taught the waiting staff at the King’s Restaurant basic ASL and organized a dinner at the restaurant, of which the restaurant donated 15% of the proceeds. Ms. Gale DeArmin volunteered to interpret at the restaurant as needed.

    Lit and Lang Student Opps Lorraine hide reveal

    In 2012, Lorraine Oliver designed a toy for the Deaf children in the Dominican Republic and won first place in the Invest in Success Competition. The toy is now used at the Deaf School in the Dominican Republic. 

    Fr. Bede Memorial Reading Series

    Our campus is hosting wonderful reading events as part of our reading series. Recent authors who have visited Saint Francis University include:

    • Marian Szczepanski, Fall 2015
    • Roxana Cazan, Spring 2015
    • Wendell Mayo, Fall 2015
    • Laurie Cannaday, Fall 2015
    • Kim Van Alkemade, Spring 2016
    Student Success Stories

    Cecilia MacDonald

    In 2015, Cecilia was offered a fully-funded seat in the University of Iowa’s College of Law where she received the Dean's Award for Academic Excellence as a result of her success in the course Legal Analysis Writing and Research I. She is grateful for the wonderful support received at Saint Francis University in the Literature & Languages department, which allowed her to develop her writing and to widen her horizons so that one day she may become a successful attorney.

    Jeffrey G. Stoyanoff

    Jeffrey earned his Ph.D. in English in August 2015 from Duquesne University and is now an assistant professor of English at Spring Hill College outside of Mobile, Alabama, specializing in medieval literature.

    Malissa L. Cadwallader

    Malissa earned her master's in Pacific Rim and International Affairs in 2007 from University of California, San Diego. Following a brief stint in the Peace Corps, she worked in development for Chimp Haven, the national chimpanzee sanctuary in Louisiana, and is now the Chief Operating Officer for Rainforest Trust, an international non-profit organization.

    Aaron J. Rovan

    Aaron earned his M.A. in English from Duquesne University and is currently working on his Ph.D. at West Virginia University, focusing on immigrant writers and the immigrant experience. 

    Laura Neugebauer

    Laura is teaching English and Journalism at Our Lady of Good Counsel high school in Maryland.

    Amanda Woodring

    Amanda is now a tenured faculty member at Altoona Area High School. 

    Lisa Beiswenger

    Lisa earned her MA in English from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (2005), her MA in media and cultural studies from Roehampton University, London (2007), her MA in anthropology from Ohio State University (2012), and currently holds a graduate fellowship while she finishes her Ph.D. in anthropology at Ohio State University, expected 2016.

    Veronica Orr

    Veronica is a copyeditor for the Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown.

    Latitia Lattanzio

    Latitia earned her M.Ed in educational psychology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania; she is currently working on her D.Ed in school psychology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she is a teaching associate.

    Michael Fox

    Michael is teaching English at Portage Area High School.

    John Dunning

    John is teaching English at North Pitt High School in Bethel, North Carolina.

    Krista Swope

    Krista graduated with a degree in Arts & Letters and a minor in ASL and is now pursuing a Master’s Degree in Deaf Education at Bloomsburg University, PA.

    Marla Beck

    Marla graduated with her degree in Occupational Therapy and a minor in ASLA, and today she works as an OT at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind.