Graduate Student Organizations & Reading Groups


Graduate Student Senate

The Graduate Student Senate addresses larger institutional questions regarding graduate students and their quality of life. The Senate has addressed issues ranging from housing, parking, health care, professional development and career advising. The department's senator is elected annually and represents student concerns to the larger university community. The senator is also a member, alongside the director of graduate studies, of the Graduate Council, the most important legislative body of the Office of Graduate Studies.

GSS Senator (AY 21-22): Trent McDonald (

Graduate Advisory Panel

The Graduate Advisory Panel (also known as GAP) consists of all graduate students in the English department. Its purpose is to provide an open forum to discuss all matters pertaining to graduate student life, to advise the faculty on graduate student interests, and to publicize, organize, and report on graduate student activity groups and graduate student committees. Meetings, held once a month during the academic year, are followed by a social hour.

Convener (AY 21-22): Ian Clark (
Co-Convener (AY 21-22): Lisa Brune (

Peer Mentoring Program

The Peer Mentoring Committee consists of current graduate students and helps new graduate students with the transition into Office of Graduate Studies. It offers a visible, safe channel of communication and advice for those who are new to the community. It combines the approachability inherent in talking with a fellow student with the understanding that any chat occurs with the highest degree of confidentiality possible. The program serves as resource that is available before new friendships and networks have had time to develop. Peer Mentors share mentoring strategies with and receive training from the larger Peer Mentoring program, which is facilitated by the Office of Graduate Studies. Spread out over the academic year, several social events organized by peer mentors help break the ice and introduce new students to those who already know the department.

Coordinators (AY 21-22): Shea McCollough ( and Laura Evers (

Dissertation Workshop

The Dissertation Workshop meets twice monthly to discuss the research and writing of the dissertation. Approximately eight contributors present work each academic semester and meetings also take place during the summer. The workshop convener creates the presentation schedule and moderates the meetings. Nearly all participants in the Dissertation Workshop have completed their major field process; students who are nearing completion are welcome to visit the workshop.

The usual format of each session is for one participant to submit a piece of writing (usually a draft of a chapter or a prospective article). The aim of each workshop is to provide detailed and specific feedback on the argumentative frame of the submission, to assess its successes as a formal piece of writing, and to offer suggestions towards subsequent revisions. Successful submissions will feature a visible argumentative structure and an accompanying sketch of how this particular piece of writing fits into the whole of the dissertation. Submissions should be between 25 to 50 pages of proof-read material.

The Dissertation Workshop also acts as a professionalization opportunity for graduate students in the department. The discussions of submitted work are intended to give all participants a better sense of how to meet successfully the challenges of writing the dissertation. Discussions are thus collegial but vigorous, and aimed at fostering a shared sense of the defining features of strong and marketable dissertation work across a range of fields. At the same time, the workshop is meant to provide a sense of community for dissertators engaged in the often solitary process of writing a thesis.

An advanced graduate student is elected convener every year. Students with an interest in joining or learning more about the workshop should contact the Co-Conveners for 2021-2022: Ana Quiring ( and Lisa Brune (

Graduate Student Colloquium Series

The graduate colloquium series is a bi-annual event that gives graduate students the chance to present their work in an open forum with peers and faculty. This event not only celebrates the vast array of research being produced by graduate students in the English department, but also provides grad students with a valuable opportunity to receive feedback and prepare their projects for outside conferences or publications. There are two to three presentations per event. Students at all levels of the graduate process are invited and encouraged to submit proposals and to participate on the committee.

AEGS Executive Board:

  • Crystal Payne, President
  • Laura Evers, Vice President, Graduate Student Association (GSA) A&S Representative
  • Maria Kane, Graduate Student Senate (GSS) Representative
  • Maria Siciliano and Naomi Kim, Peer Mentors
  • Alex Mouw and Marc Blanc, Dissertation Workshop Conveners
  • Ashni Clayton and Bonnie Pang, Graduate Student Colloquium Organizers


Reading Groups

English graduate students are active in a number of reading groups that meet several times each semester. These groups often include graduate students and faculty from other departments and programs ranging from Art History to Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Through the Center for the Humanities, tenured or tenure-track faculty members and/ humanities graduate students may apply for a $1200 renewable grant to fund reading and writing groups each year. 

Approaches to Literary Pedagogy Reading Group

Conveners (AY 21-22): Anwesha Kundu ( and Stephen Reaugh (

Early Modern Reading Group

Conveners (AY 21-22): Julie James ( and Professor Rob Henke (

Finnegans Wake Reading Group

Conceners (AY 21-22): Ian Clark ( and Matthew Thompson (

Literature of Black Lives Matter Reading Group (Sponsered by the Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Equity) 

Conveners (AY 21-22): Tuma Ussiri ( and Professor Stephanie Li (

Marxism and Literature Reading Group

Conveners (AY 21-22): Marc Blanc ( and Sophie Levin (

Religion & Literature Writing Group

Conveners (AY 21-22): Ann Marie Jakubowski ( and Sara Flores (

Poetry and Poetics Reading Group

Conveners (AY 21-22): Alex Mouw ( and Ann Marie Jakubowski (