The Scroll

An Interview with Mark Jay Brewin Jr. ’08

Mark Jay Brewin Jr.’s book, “Scrap Iron,” published in 2013, features poems about his childhood home in South Jersey, landscape, science and relationships.

Author and alum Mark Jay Brewin Jr. ’08 visited Elon on Tuesday, Feb. 24 to share his poems with students and faculty at the First Annual Alumni Poetry Reading in 2019. The event took place in Sankey Hall, where Brewin read a combination of original poems that he wrote during his time at Elon and poems from his award-winning book, “Scrap Iron.”

Brewin read a slew of poems pertaining to his childhood home in South Jersey, human relationships and scientific concepts. He says, “I come from a long line of talkers and storytellers, which is exciting because that’s sort of half the battle [of writing].”

At Elon, Brewin majored in both creative writing and photography. Brewin attributes his success as a poet and artist to the complimentary combination of these majors and the self-reflective nature of his education. “The art classes taught me how to write about my poetry and what it meant,” he says, “It all tied together.”

Brewin says, “the faculty were just tremendously giving of their time and really helpful in figuring out what was going to be the best for me.” In particular, Professor Drew Perry helped Brewin to jumpstart his career. Brewin says, “He basically just said to me that ‘no matter what you do, if poetry and writing is what you like, then you have to go to grad school and you have to learn that craft further.’”

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Major Monday: Hayden McConnell

Hayden McConnell is a junior at Elon, as well as one of the first people to switch to the recently added PWR major. In addition to that, she minors in digital art and multimedia authoring, creates some pretty cool designs, like the new PWR sticker, and has her own stellar blog! This past summer, she stayed at Elon to manage the social media for the PWR Department, and has been taking major-related classes this semester, such as PWR 313 Feminism in Rhetoric and PWR 217 Writing Technologies. Taking time out of her busy week, we chatted about her experiences within the PWR Department over hot cider at Oak House.


  • Why did you choose to be an English/now PWR major?

I chose English because I’ve always enjoyed writing and it has never felt like a daunting task to me. I’ve always used it as a way to organize my thoughts and as an outlet for my ideas. When I found out about the PWR major, I thought it would be a perfect balance of both writing and communication to find a job I’d love.

  • Do you know what you would like to do after graduation with your degree in English? If so, please elaborate.
  • (more…)

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Faculty Spotlight: Professor Heather Lindenman

Our Faculty Spotlight for the month of October is shining on Professor Heather Lindenman. She is an Assistant Professor in the English department and teaches classes that span from ENG 110 to a Teaching and Learning Apprenticeship. If you haven’t seen her on campus for the last few months, it’s because she’s been on maternity leave spending time with her newborn baby boy! That being said, Professor Lindenman is keeping busy and has accomplished quite a lot in the past year, with three published articles and another one set to come out in November. I managed to catch up with her during a brief visit to campus and got the scoop on what she’s been up to lately.

Last spring you said you were doing research regarding the outcomes of your community-engaged writing classes and the consequences of a community writing partnership that links college and high school students. Are you still working on that or have you started something new?

I’m still working on them! Much of my research is based on different types of community-engaged classes and what students take away from them. I just wrapped up studies on a high school-college partnership where college students went to high schools and worked with students to use writing for social change. I’m also conducting research on Elon student’s non-academic writing including what students do outside of school and what they learn from that. A third project I’m working on concerns Elon alumni and explores what types of writing they do, which turns out to include a lot of emailing. I’ve also found a skill that they feel is really important is the ability to write things concisely and quickly. Overall, we’re hoping to learn how to better writing instruction here based on what alumni are actually doing in their careers.

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Major Monday: Amanda McMahon

For most people, an English major equates to the good old “Oh, so you want to be a teacher huh?” For some the answer is no, but for Amanda McMahon it’s a “Yes, yes I am.”

Amanda is a senior, majoring in English with a concentration in teaching licensure. While the concentration can be strenuous and time consuming, Amanda still manages to work in the Writing Center, act as the treasurer for EFFECT‑ Elon’s women’ club, and be an active member in the English Honor Society. She also stayed at Elon this past summer working as a counselor for Elon Academy, and is now a Teaching Assistant at a local high school.

Although she’s a busy gal, I finally managed to sit down with Amanda and ask how she does what she does and why, from her teaching licensure concentration to her research to her involvement with Elon Academy.

So, why an English major?

“Well, to be honest I didn’t always want to study English. Growing up I went through so many career phases like being an architect or a psychologist. However, I really enjoyed English classes in high school and always had a love for reading and writing, so once I got to college it just seemed like a natural fit.”

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Art Feeds: An Artistic View of Learning

In a brand new, interdisciplinary approach for The Scroll, I got the opportunity to see Elon’s innovative education at work in one of my very own classes. Approaches to Arts Administration, taught by new professor Dr. David McGraw, I have been exposed to the inner workings of various arts organizations, how they are created, and what they do to help their community.

To facilitate this discussion, we were asked to give group presentations based on case studies of different art organizations. The most interesting presentation, in my opinion, was about an organization called Art Feeds. Art Feeds is designed to provide therapeutic aid to children- especially those affected by recent tragedies or natural disasters- through multiple forms of artistic expression. The group of girls presenting the case where well prepared, but that was not the interesting part. What I found fascinating was that the group handed the rest of the class coloring pages and crayons, and instructed us to color while they gave their presentation.

Shockingly enough, this made it easier for the class to focus on the presentation.

I know that this may not seem directly related to the English department, but it poses an interesting discussion. Are there other ways in which we as students can “occupy our minds” while in the classroom in order to focus on the content of the class? For example, doodling in our notebooks, or absentmindedly coloring can potentially increase our focus. The conflict, however, comes from finding the line. It is *probably* unreasonable to break out a coloring book, but a simple distraction to focus your mind could be seen as reasonable by most professors.

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Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Barbra Gordon

This week the Faculty Spotlight is on Dr. Barbra Gordon. Of her 43 years as an educator, we have been fortunate enough to have her here at Elon for 31 years! One of our most Zen professors here in the English department, Dr. Gordon also advises Iron Tree Blooming, an on-campus meditation group.

Dr. Gordon teaches a variety of classes in writing and debate, and says that she cannot choose a favorite!

“Each course offers different delights,” she says, which allows her students to learn and develop in brand new ways. This is what she loves about the Elon community; she gets the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of young people, and encourages us to create a better future for everyone.

In her free time, Dr. Gordon bounces between meetings, research, tennis, and Italian! Her current research focuses on the differences between “composing with words, and composing with sound and images,” (super interesting). How she has time for everything? We may never know. As someone who is very passionate, however, Dr. Gordon encourages students to take courses that you are passionate about, and shadow professionals in the work world who are doing what you aspire to do.


We asked Dr. Gordon a fun question to close things off: If you were trapped on an island, what three books would you bring? She told us Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind (to help her relax), the most extensive Norton Anthology of Poetry available, and the Tao Te Ching. Great choices Dr. Gordon! If you want to hear more about Dr. Gordon, learn some quick Italian, or find your Zen, invite her to coffee!

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Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Janet Warman

For our next faculty spotlight, we’re giving a shoutout to Dr. Janet Warman. You may know her from her super popular Mental Illness in Literature course, one of her personal favorites. She has been a teacher since 1977 (awesome), and has been here at Elon for 28 years.

In her time working with the Elon community, Dr. Warman has grown to love the increasing diversity on our campus, and the interactions between departments is energizing for her. In addition to Mental Illness in Literature, she enjoys teaching Poetry as a genre the most. Her love for poetry is the subject of her current research- Dr. Warman is currently on sabbatical to research Alzheimer’s for a new collection.

When she is not on campus, Dr. Warman works with the Modern Language Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, the North Carolina Writers’ Network, and the North Carolina Poetry Society. Additionally- even though we aren’t sure where she finds the time- Dr. Warman is a member of a book club that is made up of current and retired Elon faculty.

Dr. Warman leaves us for sabbatical with the following advice “Never stop believing in the power of words in your personal and professional life”. Thanks Dr. Warman, we believe in you too!

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ENG 110: Providing Profesisonals

By: Katherine Francisco

I recently attended a round of presentations from Dr. Lindeman’s ENG 110 class. I was struck immediately by how professional each student was in preparing their work and presenting it to a panel of experts from the community.

Students giving their presentation.

Each group of students was responsible for offering their revisions to local websites including the Social Services page, the Environmental Health page, and the Sheriff’s Department website. The groups collaborated and offered many suggestions to make the pages less cluttered and more user-friendly. Data was collected from surveys the students completed off campus, and all of their content was formatted into presentations.

As they presented, three representatives from the county took notes and asked questions of the groups to get ideas to revise the websites. I noticed right away that all of the students were well prepared for the questions, and they had all rehearsed their content extensively.

I was honestly shocked at the professional level of work coming from a group of first-year students, but that is what Elon does best: shock others with their professionalism.

The panel of professionals who provided feedback on the presentations

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Top 10 Resume Tips for English Majors

By: Katherine Francisco

One of the most overwhelming parts of finding a job is developing an effective resume. Added to this is the pressure that an English major will “never find a real job” (or at least that’s what some of our parents- and popular culture- tell us). English majors tend to pride themselves on their writing and communicating abilities, but when it comes to important documents like your resume, you freeze up. Below are the top ten tips for English majors (and everyone), when it comes to developing a resume.

  1. Focus on your skills, not your title: Some people will hear that you are an English major and assume that you’re a nerd who spends all day reading books- and while some of us are- that’s not all we bring to the table. We can analyze practically any situation, and communicate its meaning in powerful ways. That is what employers want.
  2. Show off your experience: We English majors hold a wide variety of jobs and internships in our undergrad career. Talk about them on your resume; you already have the experience, and if you enjoy it, you might as well get paid for it.
  3. Don’t be afraid to brag: While you’re talking about your experience, don’t forget to mention how awesome you are! You have worked hard for your education and experiences, and potential employers should know that. There is no room for modesty on your resume.
  4. (more…)

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Student Spotlight: Meara Waxman

Junior English major Meara Waxman has done some interesting undergraduate research this summer. As a part of her Lumen project, Meara spent the summer studying popular feminist figures from the 19th century. While this isn’t her main field of study, she has conducted this interdisciplinary work to supplement her research of Bronte novels in a feminist context.

Meara was inspired to conduct research in this field by her mentor, Janet Myers. The two bonded over their shared love of linguistics, and from that point, the Bronte sisters were their focus. The goal of Meara’s research is to analyze Bronte novels at a sentence level to determine if the content either supports or refutes feminist ideals in the 19th century. Further, she compares these analyses to the theories of prominent feminists of the time to see if there are any patterns between the two.

     Meara is also a Lumen Scholar, a title which she says is amazing and very rewarding. With the funds from the scholarship, she is traveling to Bath, England in the spring to conduct more research. Meara encourages everyone to do research, and especially to apply for the Lumen prize to be a part of a “wonderful community of scholars”. In addition, Meara advises everyone doing research to be open to the research process because “the more open you are, the more excited about your project you will be”.

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