Honoring Indigenous People’s Day 2020

I’m an SCSU graduate student, a Graduate Assistant, and the English Department blog and social media manager. I am also a 5th and 6th grade English and Social teacher at a local elementary school. 

In honor of Indigenous People’s Day this year (October 12), I took my 5th and 6th graders on a field trip to listen to my dear old 78-year-old friend, Julius, talk about his time doing mission work on the Red Lake Reservation where he spent 20+ years living and working alongside the Indigenous People living on the reservation. 

My students were absolutely fascinated learning about Indigenous Peoples from someone who’s lived and experienced their way of life. It was so much better to hear him speak than to have my students read more out of a textbook. They thoroughly enjoyed learning about the Indigenous Peoples’ way of life! Instead of me sharing my experience, I’d like to share their experiences (in the red text) (and insert clarifications when necessary).

I like that he explained what he did. My favorite artifact was the dream catcher. My favorite part was when he said they came to take him home. The most interesting part was when he talked about the artifacts and how they were made with love. I did not dislike anything.


This student talked about the time when “they came to take him home.” Julius told a story about how years after his time on the Red Lake Reservation, his Indigenous friends invited themselves over to his house one day. When they arrived, they said, “Julius, we’re here to take you home.” They surrounded him and said they weren’t leaving his home without him. Obviously, they were only slightly serious as they knew he had other obligations in his life at that time and he couldn’t go back. The story demonstrated how much the people on the Reservation loved and respected him!

This student also talked about some of the Indigenous artifacts he had on display. He talked about how everything they create is made with love. He also showed many of the gifts these people had gifted him over the years. Everything was absolutely beautiful! 



What I thought was it was very cool. It was very fun to see the paintings he showed to us. The turtle shell was cool. I liked it because there were so many details on the shell. I liked to see the process to see what they did to get it to look that cool. I liked the canoe. It was so cool because you could see all of the details on the canoe. My favorite thing there was the painting that he got from a kid that he drove a bus for. It was so cool to see what he did when he was younger. It was a cool experience.

Part of his mission work was to drive a school bus route for their local school (as you can see in one of the later pictures; he’s wearing his bus driver jacket!). He told many stories about the kindness the students showed him. Many of the students painted or drew him pictures as gifts. Since they didn’t have much, they would give handmade items as gifts.

I think it was cool for the stuff on the table, and I think it was cool that he could speak their language. My favorite thing about it is how good they are at art. My favorite artifact was the pictures. He should put more stuff on the table.


One point Julius stressed was the importance of learning a second language. He can speak fluent Ojibwe, but he suggested my students learn Spanish. 

At one point, Julius recited the “Our Father” prayer in Ojibwe! It was really quite amazing! The written version of the “Our Father” is pictured here.


I loved it. It was so interesting. It was so cool to listen to all he had to say. I didn’t dislike anything. It was so awesome. The most interesting thing was all the pictures and artifacts. My favorite part was listening to everything. My favorite artifact was the birch bark wood canoes. 


Everything was really cool and the paintings were amazing. The language was cool too. And the boats made out of bark and stuff were really cool. The necklaces were cool too. Everything was really cool. But my favorite thing was the turtle shell. It was REALLY cool.





I’ve always honored Indigenous People in my classroom, but this year was way more impactful to my students. 

We’re curious to know:

How do you honor Indigenous People? 

What was your favorite artifact that Julius showed the children? (I know, the pictures aren’t amazing and don’t show everything.)

SCSU Writer’s Club

Hey English Department!

Did you know that SCSU has a writing club??

Check it out here!

Now, joining a club is a big deal, I know! You’re in college. You’re already so busy! But there are so many psychological benefits to write more, so you should definitely consider joining the Writer’s Club!

Check it out!

Writing makes you happier!

I absolutely love this reason to write! In our world today, we can all use a little more happiness. Why not find your happiness through writing for the Writer’s Club?

Writing leads to better thinking and communicating!

I mean, I think this is pretty obvious, but what better way to experiment with enhancing your writing and thinking skills than joining the Writer’s Club?

Writing leads to increased gratitude!

This is another value we need to see more of in our society. Why not help contribute in increasing the world’s gratitude by first increasing yours! Join the Writer’s Club!

Writing leads better learning!

So, you’re here at SCSU for what? To learn!! Why not join a club that will directly help your degree mean more?

There are so many more reasons to write and join the Writer’s Club. Feel free to check out “The Psychological Benefits of Writing” from sparringmind.com for more valuable reasons to write!

Calling all English Department faculty, students, and alumni!!

Did you know that you can be featured on our blog page??

We absolutely love featuring our current students, faculty, and alumni!


  1. Have you recently been published? Let us know the details and we’ll put together a post. We’d also love to publish a post you wrote.
  2. Are you teaching a really compelling course? (The answer should be “yes” because ALL of you are teaching really compelling courses.) Write something about the course and send it our way. We love to read about what’s happening within the walls of Webster!
  3. Got a fun story to share? Please share it!! This can be about anything. Exciting happenings in your class. Fun summer getaways. A funny story your niece told you the other day. We love to get to know our professors and would love to have you share your stories!


  1. Have you written a really interesting paper recently? Send it to us! We’d love to publish it on the blog! We really enjoy seeing what students are doing within our classrooms!
  2. Do you have any fun side projects happening? We’d love to hear about it! We like featuring students’ projects because we like showcasing our amazing English Department talent!
  3. Are you writing a thesis or working a culminating project? Featuring something like this on our blog is beneficial because it may give inspiration to future students as they begin to think about their own culminating projects.


  1. Are you published (or soon to be published)? Send us a link and short write-up about your pieces and we’ll link your work to our blog. We know we have some amazing alumni and your work deserves to be featured!
  2. How about a story from when you were attending SCSU? We quite like taking trips down memory lane! Please feel free to share your stories with the blog!
  3. What are you up to these days? We feel very connected to all of our alumni and would greatly appreciate to hear how you are doing, what you are doing, and how the English Department helped prepare you for your current adventures.

Do you have other ideas for submissions? Please, send them our way! If we haven’t said it before, we love featuring faculty, students, and alumni!! Please consider writing something for the blog!

Webster during COVID-19

Ok friends. Let’s address the elephant in the room. And by “elephant,” I mean “COVID-19.”

Everyone knows about it. Everyone’s talking about it. But, I haven’t seen anyone talk about how different campus looks right now.

I walked around Webster Hall, our home, on Tuesday before teaching my class. It was about 1:30 PM.

Before I drop the photos I took, I want you to remember what Webster was like back before COVID. I remember walking through the halls, hearing a multitude of voices and seeing students studying in the comfy chairs on every floor. I remember the English department (and other departments as well) office doors open, the office full of smiling faces ready to greet anyone who walked in! I remember seeing full classrooms of students learning. I remember an alive and active building.

I’ll admit. I was very saddened by my walk through Webster. I felt like I was alone. I didn’t get to greet anyone. No smiles. No “How are you?” No interaction. Just me and my thoughts.





Walking around Webster was a sad experience. When I finished my walk, I went to my classroom to get set up for class. Some students come in-person and the rest join on Zoom. It’s far less than an ideal situation, but at least they get a little bit of in-person instruction. When I’ve asked which method the students prefer, the say in-person. I had five students in my classroom on Tuesday. The rest were on Zoom.

Drop us a comment to let us know which method you prefer!

I hope eventually we can go back to fully in-person classes, but until then, we’re doing the best we can and I’m confident all the professors teaching here are continuing to provide high quality instruction!

Take care and be safe!


The English Language is Weird Pt. 1 – “Word Crimes”

This week’s blog post is going to be a little different from previous weeks’ posts. With the state of the world right now, I just feel like we all need a good laugh, so hopefully this post will at least make you chuckle! And because I like laughing so much, I think I might just make this a series! So, stay tuned for more posts about the weirdness of the English language!

For the first chuckle, I’d like all of us to take a trip down memory lane, all the way back to 2014 (which, I know, isn’t that long ago). I had just graduated college and was on the prowl to find my first English teaching job when “Weird Al” Yankovic dropped his classic video “Word Crimes” which highlights all the standard mistakes we, as English speakers, make.

Weird AlIf you don’t know “Weird Al” he’s known for taking pop culture songs, changing the lyrics and subject of the song, and rerecording them. Most times, he keeps the original chord progressions, rhythms, and musicality. Often times, they make the listener crack up!

Of course, as I was on my hunt for my first job, I laughed way too hard when I first heard this song. I immediately thought, “This song HAS to make it into a lesson in my future classroom!!” Unfortunately, due to the “Everybody shut up” lyric at the beginning and the original inspiration for the song, it never entered my classroom. Regardless! It’s still a funny song!

“Word Crimes” is based on another song from the time. Released in March of 2013, “Blurred Lines,” recorded by Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and T.I., became an instant sensation and according to the L.A. Times, it “went on to become the biggest song of 2013.” Its disco/R&B feel made it easy to dance to and its lyrics were easy to learn and sing.

Unfortunately for the singers, just two short years after the release of this song, they were found guilty of plagiarism (a hot button word in the English field) as they had copied Marvin Gaye’s chart-topping 1977 hit, “Got to Give You Up.” The singers were forced to pay “nearly $7.4 million in unpaid licensing fees and a chunk of the song’s profits,” (L.A. Times). When thinking about this, it’s slightly ironic, because in an interview with GQ shortly after the song’s release, when asked “What’s the origin story behind your new single, Blurred Lines?” Robin Thicke responded, “Pharrell and I were in the studio and I told him that one of my favorite songs of all time was Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got To Give It Up.’ I was like, ‘[Dang] we should make something like that, something with that groove.’ Then he started playing a little something and we literally wrote the song in about a half hour and recorded it. The whole thing was done in a couple hours—normally, those are the best ones.”

Lesson of the day? Don’t plagiarize, kids!

Anyway, here’s “Weird Al’s” “Word Crimes!” Have you committed any of these “crimes?” I know I have…

I think the “crime” that really rubs me the wrong way is misuse of apostrophes! I get it. It’s difficult to know when to stick an apostrophe in a word, but I still just shake my head when people use them incorrectly. Oh, that and the overuse of the word “literally.” I can’t stand that one either!

Drop us a comment and let us know which word crime tickles your feathers!!

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.


Why Study in Central Minnesota?

If you haven’t yet read last week’s post, I highly encourage you to do so! This is the complimentary post to last week’s!

Part of the reason I chose to attend SCSU is because it’s so conveniently situated in the middle of some really unique things to do!

Ever wonder what it’s like to attend school in Central Minnesota?! It’s pretty awesome, honestly! Central Minnesota presents opportunities for students of all kind!

Note: Please check websites for COVID updates before you visit any of these locations!

For my nature friends!

Lake George – Situated right next to campus, Lake George is a great place to hang out any time of year! While visiting, enjoy the walking paths, park, fishing, or other water sports!

Munsinger Clemens GardensMunsinger Clemens Gardens – Just across the river from SCSU, the beautiful Munsinger Clemens Gardens contains so many beautiful flowers and walking paths! Bring a picnic lunch, have a seat by the river, and enjoy the fresh air!

Quarry Park and Nature Reserve – Just five miles from campus, the Quarries is a great hangout any time of year! From hiking, to skiing, to swimming, the Quarries presents something for everyone!

Charles A. Lindbergh State Park – This is one of Minnesota’s beautiful state parks located about 40 minutes from campus! Enjoy an afternoon of hiking, swimming, and more, or spend the night in their campground and enjoy a few days within the park.


For those who love craft brews!

Beaver Island Brewing Company – Up for some good local craft brew? Check out the Beaver Island Brewing Company, just a short walk from campus!

Pantown BrewingPantown Brewing Company – What’s unique about this brewery? It’s owned by a St. Cloud State University graduate! If that’s not enough reason to visit the brewery, then I don’t know what is!

Bad Habit Brewing – Head down the street to St. Joseph, MN for some truly unique brews! Sit in the taphouse or on the patio.


For those history buffs!

Lindbergh HomeCharles A. Lindbergh Historic Site – Celebrate the man who made the first solo transatlantic flight! A native to Little Falls, Minnesota, Charles Lindberg’s life is documented at this historic site. You can also see his boyhood home!

Stearns History Museum – Visiting the Stearns History Museum is a perfect daytime activity to learn more about the county in which you are studying! At just three miles from campus, there’s no reason to not stop by!


For the adventure junkies!

QuarriesQuarry Park and Nature Reserve – I know, this is a repeat on the list, but it’s for a good reason. Looking for an opportunity for some high adventure? Want to jump off cliffs into water below? You can do this at the Quarries! Make sure to exercise caution while cliff jumping.

Powder Ridge – Just 20 miles from campus, Powder Ridge is the perfect weekend day trip if you enjoy winter sports! You can downhill ski, snowboard, cross country ski, and more at Powder Ridge!


For the music and art lovers!

Paramount Center for the Arts – The Paramount really presents something for everyone. Watch a play or musical, attend a concert, or take part in a variety of arts-based classes!

Summertime by George – A free summer concert series that takes place by Lake George! Bring your lawn chair and get ready for a really fun evening! Also, get there early because parking can get a little hectic if you don’t!


For the sports fans!

Huskies FlagSCSU sports games – This one is just a given! SCSU has so many amazing sports teams! You can always find a game to watch to support your fellow Huskies! One really great aspect of SCSU is the support system! Students are supported everywhere they turn. They’re supported by other students, professors, staff members and community members! Be part of the community of support by attending and cheering on your fellow Huskies!

Joe Faber Field – Home of the St. Cloud Rox. Check out a local ball game with friends!

Wobegon Trails – 65 miles of trails to walk, bike, run and more! Get outside for a causal walk or a lovely workout!


For those who love to shop!

Crossroads Center – Right in the heart of St. Cloud, Crossroads presents shops small and large. If you go, definitely check out the fudge in Scheels; you can get a free sample!

Mall of America – You’re coming to Central Minnesota to study! You might as well venture south and hit up the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota! If you like Crossroads, you will LOVE the Mall of America! (Bonus: MOA is also right near an IKEA in case you need to furnish your dorm or apartment!)

Spoonbridge and CherryNicollet Mall – Contrary to popular belief, Nicollet Mall isn’t a shopping mall, but does present some really great culture! Right in the heart of Minneapolis, Nicollet Mall is a one-stop-shop, so to speak. They have food and drinks, shopping, music, and attractions such as the Walker Art Center! Across the street from the Walker Art Center, you’ll find the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden home to the iconic “Spoonbridge and Cherry” sculpture.

I could continue this list of amazing Central Minnesota things to do, but for now, I’ll just leave it at this!

What is your favorite thing to do in Central Minnesota?



What Makes SCSU Unique?

I often get asked, “Why SCSU?”

With so many good colleges and universities in Minnesota, choosing a secondary education institution may be difficult. I’ve lived in Central Minnesota my entire life and SCSU has always been in my backyard. I’ve always felt fortunate to have a large university right near my home.

When I began my search for graduate education, I started and ended with St. Cloud State University. It felt like there were no other logical options. I sent away my application and crossed my fingers!

I feel very fortunate to be learning at SCSU, and here’s why you should also consider coming to SCSU for your education.

  1. Faculty and Staff – The professors (especially in the English department) truly want the best for their students. Never once have I had an email gone unanswered or a request for a meeting denied. SCSU profs are willing to drop what they’re doing to focus on your immediate needs. As someone who has gone through an undergraduate program (not at SCSU) and has been teaching in the public high school sector for six years, the attitudes of these professors are rare. If you’re looking for not only extremely knowledgeable professors, but also professors that are kind, caring, and deeply committed to their students, then SCSU is the right place for you!
  2. A personalized curriculum – This is something I wasn’t expecting when I started learning at SCSU. I cannot count the amount of times my curriculum was completely catered to what I wanted. My advisor has been nothing but amazing when it comes to this. He’s willing to petition for substitutions whenever needed or wanted. I’ve had opportunities to take independent studies and partake in internships. SCSU is focused on giving you the education you are truly seeking!
  3. Cost – This is definitely an important factor when choosing a university. Part of the reason SCSU was so appealing for my graduate education was lower tuition rate compared to other university’s graduate programs. Because the cost at SCSU is very reasonable, I do not have any loans. I’ve been able to maintain my full-time job while attending school full-time, which has paid all of my tuition bills! The low-tuition at SCSU makes it possible to graduate loan-free, or with few loans, if you put your mind to it! I’m all about finding the best bang for my buck, so to speak, and SCSU definitely offers this as it is a university that offers extremely high-quality education at a reasonable cost!
  4. Longstanding History – Maybe it’s just me, but for some reason, I have a higher level of trust for universities that have been around for ages! SCSU was founded in 1869 and stood strong through WWI, the Great Depression, WWII, the Russian influence after Sputnik, the Civil Rights era, and so many other tumultuous times in American history! I trust this school to continue standing strong and to provide me with a high-quality education.
  5. Central Minnesota – Now, I know, I’ve lived here my whole life, but St. Cloud and the surrounding communities really do have a lot to offer. Be watching for next week’s blog post that will explain multiple reasons you should receive your education in Central Minnesota!

These are just five reasons why you should consider attending SCSU! Believe me, there are so many more beyond these! If you’re a current/past student, what do you love most about SCSU or the local community?! Comment below!

“When in doubt, be an English major!”

Did you know that St. Cloud State University has an exceptionally high employment placement rate?

From the 2017-2018 graduates, 97.5% of students were employed in a related field within one year of graduation! For the English department, that number is slightly higher at 98.6%!

Why is this the case?

  1. The Career Center – The Career Center is always there to help current and graduated students with career needs. Right now, during the middle of COVID, appointments to meet with career counselors have gone virtual, so current and past students can explore career options from the comfort of their own home! Check out SCSU’s Career Center here!
  2. Professors and other connections – When you attend SCSU, you don’t just walk away with a degree; you also walk away with lifelong resources and in many cases, friends. Find an advisor you really jive with and you’ve just found yourself a lifelong resource! If you are in need of career assistance after graduation, reach out to your advisor! Not only are they happy to help, but our professors love hearing from past graduates!
  3. St. Cloud – Our location acts in your favor when it comes to finding a career. There are so many career options in and around the area, and if you can’t seem to find something in St. Cloud, the Twin Cities are just a short drive away!

Check this out! Here are some of the locations of employment of the 2017-2018 English graduates. Notice how many of them are in and around St. Cloud!

When you’re looking through this list, also notice the wide variety of employers! The English degree is so versatile and opens up the doors for many career opportunities! We in the English department like to say,

“When in doubt, be an English major!”

Anoka-Hennepin School District

American Creativity Academy


College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University

Comfort Autism Center

DaVinci Academy of Arts and Sciences

Eden Valley-Watkins School District

Illinois State University

Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University

Immersion Magazine

Independent School District 196

Interamerican University of Puerto Rico

Ivy Tech Community College

Japan Exchange and Teaching Program

Joy English

Kimball Area public schools

Little Falls Community schools

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe

Mokpo Bukkyo Elementary School

Mora Public School district

North Dakota State University

No-Strings Attached School of Music

Osseo Area School District

Peace Corps

Saint Paul Public Schools

St. Cloud Area School District

St. Cloud Technical and Community College

St. Francis Area Schools

US Department of Veterans Affairs

University of Wyoming

Willmar Public Schools

As you can tell, many of these employers are near Central Minnesota! Finding a career close to SCSU is very possible, especially because of the connections you will make through your time here.

If you were an English major, we’d love to hear what you are doing for a career! How versatile can our degree really be?? Drop us a comment and let us know!

“Where am I and how did I get here?” An informal series on the (eventual) evolution of an English MA thesis, Part I

By Kayla Justice, English MA Student 

Two years before the writing of this post I was working for a SCUBA diving company on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, and the thought of graduate school was non-existent. As is the case for many over-achieving undergraduate students, graduate school seemed like an inevitability someday, but upon my graduation in December 2015 I realized that I had no clear academic goals or direction to pursue, so the obvious solution was to teach SCUBA instead. To be clear, I loved my time on Kauai and teaching diving. Many of the people I met over the course of the two years I lived there remain important personal friends and I hope to go back to either Kauai or to professional diving, or perhaps both, at some point in the future. But the academic itch set in in spring 2017 and I knew I wanted to go back to school.

Continue reading