Kseniia Maksimova – Fulbright Scholar and Current Grad Student

Kseniia MaksimovaSpecial Guest Author – Kseniia Maksimova

Fulbright Scholar Currently Studying at St. Cloud State University in the Rhetoric and Writing Graduate Studies Program


 

Kseniia is a second-year graduate student in the Rhetoric and Writing program at St. Cloud State University. She has been a tutor in the Write Place since her second semester in the university.

From early childhood, Kseniia has been hunting for thoughtful, inspirational stories that leave an imprint on a reader’s soul. Following a dream to publish her own story, she applied for a Fulbright scholarship that later brought her from Russia to the U.S. and gave her an opportunity to study Rhetoric and Writing.

Kseniia graduated from Kazan Federal University where she earned her B.A. in teaching Russian and English. Working as a journalist at the KFU student board, she contributed to the development of student media as she wrote articles for the university website and provided the informational support of the institute’s events. Besides, Kseniia presented her research on political correctness at scientific conferences. Some of her works were published in the KFU collection of scientific articles. A few years later, her fiction piece “Speech!” was published in Kaleidoscope, the SCSU Multicultural Literary Arts Magazine.

Inspired by the experience of working at the Write Place, Kseniia is planning to become a writing coach in one of the centers of academic writing in Russia, once she returns to her home country. She believes she can make a great contribution to the development of writing centers by sharing her experience of being a tutor in the U.S. In addition, Kseniia is continuing to move toward her dream to become a non-fiction writer and she is constantly working on polishing her writing skills.

Excited about traveling and learning about American culture, Kseniia hopes to continue to explore different states while living in the U.S. One of her hobbies that aligns with traveling is post-crossing (exchanging postcards and letters with people from all around the world) which, she believes, helps people to stay connected and learn more about each other. Apart from this, Kseniia likes reading, making various handicrafts, learning French, and hiking.

 

Visiting Scholar from China Researches Sinclair Lewis at St. Cloud State

Dr. Chen in front of SCSU huskyCentral Minnesota’s literary claim to fame again attracted international attention this Spring. The author of the book Sinclair Lewis and American Popular Culture, Professor Ying Chen, came from the University of Inner Mongolia, China, to spend six months as a visiting scholar in the English Department in order to work with the Sinclair Lewis Papers in University Archives.

You won’t easily find her book on Amazon.com since it is written in Chinese, but Dr. Chen is an authority in, among other things, the reception of Nobel Laureate Lewis in China after the country’s turning to the outside world during the 1980s.

Despite disruptions to her library access during Spring 2020 from COVID-19, Dr. Chen forged ahead with three articles and her first Zoom presentation to the Sinclair Lewis Society of America. Her current research focuses on comparing the Lewis’s novel and play production versions of Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here. But she has made efficient use of archive time to collect electronic copies of all the documents our library holds relating to Lewis. Encountering these original papers has transformed her understanding of the novelist and enabled to discover many Sinclair Lewises in this one writer. “Before coming here, I thought of him as a hero – and now I see him as we are, ordinary people…You would think from his novels that he was very serious and skeptical, criticizing everything, but when you read his letters you find him like a kid looking for attention from others,” she added. She sees this youthful characteristic as admirable, as a driver of his open and exploring mind.

Dr. Chen in front of Ruby Cora Webster HallThe half year here, which included sitting in on TESL classes and Monica Pelaez’s advanced Literary Theory and Criticism course was a “very difficult but rewarding experience” during an era that showed both “the best and the worst of America in an important year in American history.” Dr. Chen expressed her thanks for all the support from English and from Tom Steman of Archives. The Center for International Studies assisted her with all the unexpected COVID paperwork.

 

When at her home university in the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, Dr. Chen teaches the extremely popular course, Introduction to Contemporary Writers in Foreign Cultures.

If you’d like to read more about Sinclair Lewis, a native to Sauk Centre, Minnesota (roughly 45 miles from SCSU), click here!