News and Events


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PWR News & Events for Spring 2016 

Click on the link above for Brown Bags, Reading Series, and Special Events

WRT Essay Contest Winners
Calendar Year 2014-15

Congratulations to our essay award winners! Awards were presented at the Writing Minor Open House on Oct. 14.

WRT 102 Analysis

Jessica Vestuto
"The Loss of a Life Not Lived"

WRT 102 Informal

Max Stanley
"In the Cup for Astrophysics"

WRT 102 Argument

Ethan Kelly
"The Artificial Human"

WRT Upper Division FORMA

Kamil Kuflewski

WRT Upper Division INFORMAL

Heather Wright
"How to Walk Away From Someone"

WRT 101

Maria Zerva "
A Comparative Commentary of Two Short Stories"

Calendar Year 2013

WRT 102 Informal Essay 

Casey Pinner

"Alone in a Crowded House"

Casey's instructor: Rita Nezami


WRT 102 Analysis Essay

Mary Lu Unterburger

"The Morality and Logic Behind Modern Notions of Love"

 Mary's instructor: Linda Josephs


WRT 102 Researched Essay 

Helen Liu

"The Role of Ethics in Art"           

Helen's instructor: Marilyn Zucker


Calendar Year 2014


WRT 102 Informal Essay

Amanda Sze  


Amanda's instructor: Michelle Whittaker


WRT 102 Analytic Essay

Christa Martin

"Too Much of a Good Thing: Paul Bloom Unleashes the Dark Side of Empathy"

Christa's instructor: Ryan Calvey


Upper Division Researched Essay

Rebecca Kim

"Bipolar Disorder"

Rebecca's instructor: Robert Kaplan


Upper Division Informal Essay

Frances Shi

"The Echo There of Me and You"

Frances's instructor: Kevin Clouther



WRT  ePortfolio Contest Winners

Click on the link above to see the winners of the PWR's first ePortfolio contest for WRT students. The winners were judged by a WRT faculty panel to be models of both excellent writing and design.


Writing Minor Open House, 10/8/2014, Shared Faculty Lounge, Humanities Bldg.

Dr. Shyam Sharma Discusses MOOCs on PBS NewsHour, 8/27/14

As part of a week-long series on college education, PBS NewsHour will air a segment on MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses), which features an interview with our own Dr. Shyam Sharma. The interview with Dr. Sharma will air on Wednesday, August 27.  

The name of the week-long series is "Rethinking College." It begins on Monday, August 25th, 2014 and is hosted by senior correspondent Hari Sreenivasan. 
According to the station's press release, "Sreenivasan’s on-air reporting will be complemented with a robust set of online features including additional reporting from the PBS NewsHour Education team, dispatches from the Hechinger Report ( and Twitter chats throughout the week. Additionally, the complete series will be available as a mini-documentary online and on PBS apps in Apple TV, Roku and Xbox."  See more at

PWR Reading Series: Fall 2014

Julia Fierro   (OCTOBER 5, Humanities Poetry Center, 1:00-2:00 PM)

Julia Fierro's debut novel ​​Cutting Teeth ​was included on "Most Anticipated Books of 2014" lists by HuffPost Books, The Julia FierroMillions, Flavorwire, Marie Claire​, and Library Journal​. Julia's work has been published, or is forthcoming, in Guernica Magazine, ​Poets & Writers,Glamour, Psychology Today, ​and other publications, and she has been profiled in the L Magazine, Brooklyn Magazine, The Observer and The Economist. In 2002, she founded The Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, and what started as eight writers meeting in her Brooklyn kitchen has grown into a creative home for over 2,​5​00 writers. She is a graduate of The Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow, and currently teaches the Post-MFA workshops at Sackett Street. Julia lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children. She can be found online at  (OCTOBER 5, Humanities Poetry Center, 1:00-2:00 PM)







Susan MerrellSusan Scarf Merrell  (NOVEMBER 19, Humanities Poetry Center, 1:00-2:00 PM)
Susan Scarf Merrell's novel, Shirley--a psychological thriller set at Bennington College in the 1960s, narrated by a young woman who moves with her professor husband into the home of novelist Shirley Jackson and Jackson's husband, Stanley Edgar Hyman, and who uncovers a chilling connection between the celebrated couple and the disappearance of a young co-ed on campus years before--is published by Blue Rider/Penguin. She is fiction editor of TSR: The Southampton Review, and an assistant professor in the MFA program in Creative Writing & Literature at Stony Brook University. Merrell is also the author of the novel A Member of the Family and the nonfiction book The Accidental Bond: How Sibling Connections Influence Adult Relationships. (NOVEMBER 19, Humanities Poetry Center, 1:00-2:00 PM)




 RhetComp@StonyBrook Blog Launched

The first issue of RhetComp@StonyBrook features posts by Kristina Lucenko on the maker mindset in the writing classroom and Christopher Petty on fostering feedback through dramaturgy.  


More PWR Faculty in the News

Roger ThompsonRoger is mentioned in the New York Times for a study he co-authored on writing workshops for veterans,  published in the September 9, 2013 issue in an article called "How to Run a Successful Writing Workshop for Veterans" by Matt Gallagher.
Marilyn ZuckerMarilyn is featured in Stony Brook Happenings for her semester of teaching autobiographical writing to university students in Portugal.
RitaRita Nezami published a translation from French of Tahar Ben Jelloun’s novella Par le feu (By Fire) in the September 16, 2013 issue of The New Yorker.  
Congratulations to all for their outstanding work!

Provost's Outstanding Lecturer Awards

Congratulations to the PWR's Wilbur Farley and Tom Tousey, recipients of the 2013 Provost's Outstanding Lecturer Award! This prestigious accolade, instituted in 2012, is granted to a full-time Faculty Lecturer at Stony Brook University based on significant contributions to the university, as evidenced by the quality of the individual's teaching, service, and related professional development.

Wilbur Farley has been a Lecturer with the Program in Writing and Rhetoric since 2000. His interests include film, emerging technologies, and popular culture. In addition to teaching the writing workshops 101 and 102, he has also taught upper-level writing courses, focusing on the cultural value of heroes and the rhetoric of mental health discourses.

Thomas Tousey has taught writing and rhetoric for more than twenty years, the last fifteen as a faculty member of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stony Brook University. He has also taught classes for English and Journalism at SBU. Before coming to Stony Brook, he taught writing at Hofstra University and worked as a production editor for Physical Review Letters.

Wilbur Farley and Tom Tousey join our 2012 award recipients Jennifer Albanese, Dennis Clarke, Cynthia Davidson, and Marilyn Zucker. Congratulations to all!


writing minors 2013


Congratulations to our first Writing Minor graduates!

Pictured from left: Program in Writing and Rhetoric Director Gene Hammond, Joseph Cavera, Sean Walsh, and Zachary Carlisle. Not pictured: Irene Balanos, Pauline Dolle, Valentino Lee, Andrew Livigni (fall 2012), Zenna Solomon, and Courtney Schmitt (fall 2012). 

Congratulations to our 2012 Undergraduate Essay Award Winners!

researched essay
Brian Mazeski (instructor Kristine Seitz): “Generation Disbelief: Why Society Didn’t Know or Believe Smoking Was Harmful”

analytic essay
Nicole Casson (instructor Ryan Calvey): “Copyright and Copywrong”

informal essay
Rebekkah Karp (instructor Linda Josephs): “My First Time” 

And a special thanks to the judges: Jennifer Albanese, Cynthia Davidson, Jeff Green, Liz Kotseas, Kristina Lucenko, Rita Nezami, Ali Pincas, Barrie Stevens, and Tom Tousey. 


New Faculty

A warm welcome to our new faculty in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric!


Jessica Karbowiak

jkarbowiakJessica Karbowiak is a native New Yorker. She holds an MFA from The Pennsylvania State University and an MA from The University of Texas at Austin. Her first collection of fiction and creative nonfiction, These Things I Know, was published by Pink Fish Press in 2012, and her stories and essays have appeared most recently in The Chaffey Review, Two Hawks Quarterly, and Blood Orange Review. She was honored with two Pushcart nominations and one essay was anthologized in 2012. She teaches Rhetoric and Composition and Creative Writing, and her most recent academic post was as Writing Center Director and Visiting English Instructor at Alma College in central Michigan. Jessica looks forward to meeting all the fabulous SBU students. As a college teacher who has taught mostly in the Midwest, Jessica is glad to have other New York accents in the classroom other than her own.





Roger Thompson

Roger ThompsonRoger Thompson has taught at the Virginia Military Institute for fourteen years, where he was Professor of English and fine arts.  His research bridges the traditional disciplinary gaps between rhetoric, literature, and writing studies, and he has worked under fellowship at Harvard University pursuing cross-disciplinary research.  He is Senior Fellow at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, is the co-recipient of a CCCC Research Initiative Grant, and was invited to the inaugural Dartmouth Summer Seminar for Composition Research.  He is an award-winning nonfiction writer, and his scholarship and nonfiction has appeared in numerous academic and non-academic journals.  His primary area of research is in the history of rhetoric with a particular emphasis on classical and nineteenth-century rhetoric, but his recent work includes extensive scholarship on veterans and the culture of war.  He is co-author of Beyond Duty: Life on the Frontline of Iraq, a bestselling Iraq War memoir that has been translated into several languages and was covered by major media outlets, including The New York Times, CNN, the CBC, and NPR.  He has an extensive background in undergraduate research, directing a cross-disciplinary, international environmental research program in Banff, Alberta, for a decade, and his teaching and mentorship has been recognized by VMI with several awards and grants.  He received his PhD in Rhetoric and American Literature from Texas Christian University, and he received his BA and an MA in English from Baylor University.



Peter Khost

Peter Khost

Peter earned his Ph.D. in English with a concentration in composition studies from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His M.A. and B.A. are from Rutgers and Fordham Universities, respectively. He has published on pedagogical and professional issues in higher education, and his diverse scholarly interests include writing program administration; autoethnography; the literature/composition divide; critical university studies; collaboration; assessing writing; and holistic or contemplative education, especially mindfulness and "felt sense" theory.

Khost teaches undergraduate and graduate courses at every level, 100-600, at Stony Brook University, and he is the former Associate Director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric, and former Director of the Writing Center. He serves on the University's Undergraduate Council and maintains leadership positions on national, regional, and institutional committees in his field. Peter played integral roles in the creation of the new writing minor and development of cross-curricular writing initiatives at SBU. He developed and teaches the writing program's professional writing course and will soon offer another new course of his own design: Rhetorics of Love and Compassion.



Shyam Sharma

Shyam Sharma

Ghanashyam Sharma, who goes by Shyam (pronounce it "Sam"), used to be a teacher of linguistics, literature, and critical theory at the Tribhuvan University of Nepal, where he received his first master’s degree in English literature and a degree in English education. After completing a second master’s degree with a focus on rhetoric and composition from the University of Louisville, he received his PhD with the same specialty from the University of Louisville. Shyam’s professional interests include theories and pedagogies of composition and rhetoric, writing in the disciplines, multilingualism and language policies, digital media and composition, the intersection of global popular culture and literacy practices, and traditions and histories of rhetoric. Besides his passions for teaching and research, Shyam also has an interest in experiencing different cultures, mentoring other members of his professional communities, and, currently, “horse-riding”—which happens to be in its unique form of letting his two and four year old kids ride him around the house.





Program in Writing and Rhetoric • Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5340 • 631.632.7390
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