The Benefits of Taking a GAship Outside of the English Department

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Advice / Lehigh Culture & Community / Literature & Social Justice

Co-written by Sarah Heidebrink-Bruno and Jimmy Hamill


Sarah Heidebrink-Bruno, Ph.D. Candidate, 2 years in the Center for Gender Equity

For me, one of the best parts of teaching before and after I had a GA position at the Center for Gender Equity was the fact that my experiences in the classroom and in a student center symbiotically benefited one another. For instance, being a teacher taught me how to manage my time, respond thoughtfully to students’ questions and concerns, and turn even adverse circumstances into a teachable moment–all skills that served me well during my two-year tenure at the CGE.

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Sticking to a Schedule?

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Advice / Lehigh Culture & Community


Being a graduate student is one of the rare occupations in which we can make our own schedules; technically we can work whenever we’d like.  Before beginning graduate school this flexibility seemed an extremely exciting benefit, but once I began I realized how difficult it actually was to keep myself on track and prevent burnout.  With the end of my first semester as an MA student complete (and having survived  writing roughly 50 pages in two weeks) I’ve realized how important having and sticking to a self-imposed schedule is for me.

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Moving Forward With Hope

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In an essay on Octavia Butler titled “The Only Lasting Truth,” Tananarive Due calls attention to the necessity of utopic thinking, hope, and desire. It is an important reminder in a political present that is charged with an incessant appeal to catastrophism. The dystopian rise of Donald Trump has drawn on people’s fear and offered minority groups as scapegoats to provide a seemingly simple solution to our problems. Catastrophism worked for Trump, but in order to counter darkness, we need not more darkness but hope that the world we desire is still possible.

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Our Silence Does Not Protect Us

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Advice / Lehigh Culture & Community / Truth

Co-written By Sarah Heidebrink-Bruno and Sarita Mizin

*Trigger Warning: Sexual Harassment/Assault*

I was a little girl the first time a grown man, a stranger, touched me against my will. He told me that I was beautiful, that I reminded him of his daughter, then he reached in through an open car window to kiss my head. My mother was pumping gas at the time. I was too stunned to talk about it, but the whole way home, I could smell traces of peanut butter on my eyebrow from his kiss.

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Gothic Reading Group: Laughing in the Dark

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Scary Stories CoverOctober 27th marked the second meeting of the Gothic Reading Group.  Of course, fall is the perfect time to be diving into the haunted material usually associated with the gothic. However, the group took a different turn for this month’s reading. Instead of diving into Frankenstein, Dracula, or other traditional texts, we took a trip to the past and found ourselves face-to-face with the stories that haunted us as children. Nope, it’s not Goosebumps. Our group took on the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark collection.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was first published in 1981 by Alvin Schwartz (author) and Stephen Gammell (artist). Two sequels followed the original collection, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (1984) and Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones (1991). The Scary Stories legacy is dependent on the mythical tales, but best known for its terrifying artwork. The entire collection was recently re-released in the summer of 2017, which provided the group an opportunity to reenter their childhood fears.


Okay. I know that we are a reading group composed of graduate students. I am fully aware that we should be engaging in scholarly texts and contributing to the larger academic conversations. I get it. But I would be a complete liar if I told you that I did not love every minute of these children’s books. They’re fun, exciting, scary, corny, and amazing. Most importantly, they provided our reading group with an understanding of how young readers come to access the world of the gothic.

 While Scary Stories may seem immature, the collection is derived from old and new myths. The timelessness of the stories provides them with their scares, as well as their limitations. The tales can feel out of place sometimes. Yet, their ambiguous and loosely defined parameters make them fun to read. In fact, Alvin Schwartz provides readers with an appendix and glossary to further investigate the history behind the myths within the books. In doing so, Schwartz ties the adaptations to their source and provides certain scholarly reading groups access to crucial background information.


Glossary or not, the Scary Stories collection is notable for the combination of text and artwork. The photos throughout this post have been pilfered from the books. The design, the gore, and the overtly frightening nature of these pieces makes us wonder how the books ever got past our parent’s filter. Regardless of their explicit nature, we are happy that the artwork has been paired with the text. The group spoke at length regarding the combination and our consensus that the text and the art work are an important pairing. They seem to need to be together, as it is their symbiotic relationship that provides the horror of the Scary Stories collection.

If you have never read the Scary Stories books, worry not. We have compiled a list of our favorites. These should provide you with some reference. Even if you are not interested, we highly recommend that you hunt down some of Stephen Gammell’s artwork. It is the epitome of creepy.

Our Favorite Stories:

  • Harold
  • High Beams
  • The Red Spot
  • One Sunday Morning
  • The Bed by the Window
  • The Window

If you are interested in joining the reading group, please be in contact with our fearless leader Meg Bruening ( If not, we’ll continue our dark rituals without you. Either way, stay scared.

Parent. Student. Scholar.

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mother son

When one of my college professors told me years ago that the best time to write a dissertation is while bouncing a baby with one hand and typing with the other, I scoffed at him.” Easy for him to say,” I thought. He had a partner and an extended family at home to help. He was able to take time away from his family when necessary to get work done. And, unless he chose to share the fact that he was a father, no one would know based on external appearances that he had children at home.

Fast forward to several years later, and I am writing this blog post in stolen moments in-between my son’s naps–when I should probably be, you guessed it, doing research for my dissertation.

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Monday Meet and Greet: Claire Silva

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Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Tell us about yourself!

Hi! I’m Claire, and I’m a first year MA student. I have a BA in English from Penn State. I’m originally from Bethlehem, PA, so I’m really excited to be experiencing my hometown through a whole new lens. I’m primarily interested in the ways class is portrayed in American literature and the effect literature has on a reader’s class consciousness. In my spare time, I used to enjoy cooking and baking, reading for pleasure, and traveling. Now I just do school.

Why did you choose Lehigh?

The opportunity for MA students to teach cannot be beat. I also love the emphasis the department puts on social justice.

What is your favorite book outside your field of study?

The first few weeks of classes have rocked my world so hard that I don’t know my field of study anymore! But I think I can say that I probably won’t be studying 19th century Brit Lit, so maybe Jane Eyre.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

I’m looking forward to continuing to work with my undergraduate students. Teaching has consistently been my favorite part of the week, and I can’t wait to continue developing my relationship with my class.

It’s My Money and I Want It Now?

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Money makes the world go round. The early bird gets the worm. Lover Boy’s “Working for the Weekend.” Thank goodness it’s Friday.

All of us have, at some point or another, either heard from or told a friend, “I get anxious if I’m not doing something,” or, “I feel like I should be working.” The American forty-hour work grind is as much a part of our spirit as apple pie – after all, the unions and workers at the turn of the century fought hard and endured much to ensure that future generations of children would not end up in the coal mines; forty hours sounds like heaven compared to the reality of an early 20th century factory job. But, as we move further into the twenty-teens and celebrate the growing implementation of automation and technological production, much remains unchanged from those battles nearly a century ago. Is this the best we can do?

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