Classical Women: Professor Dawn Walts Profile by Sabrina Parr

Hello, everyone, and welcome to our installment, “Acts of Reading and Writing: Faculty Profiles.” This week we feature Dr. Dawn Walts, Lewis University English Professor. Lewis student Sabrina Parr interviewed Dr. Walts. The mini-interview, that the Jet Fuel Review editors are also partaking in for the “Meet the Editors” series, is located after the profile.

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Professor Dawn Walts is beloved by many of her students and as one of her students I can attest to this firsthand. Dr. Walts is always happy and upbeat in class, whether it is acting out a part of Beowulf or simply explaining a passage of text from Shakespeare. You can clearly see the love for reading shining out of Dr. Walts whenever she stands in front of her class; there is never a dull moment. Dr. Walts is like a book waiting to be read and we will do just that as we unpack her in the following profile.

Reading books is not something many people enjoy nowadays with all the distractions around. Smartphones make it easy to get the newest TV show right in your hand and why would you need a book when you can see it in front of you without any effort on your part? Dr. Dawn Walts is one of the few who still enjoys reading for fun. When asked where her favorite place to read is she replied, “I love reading on planes and trains.” Dr. Walts likes to be in motion. She likes to move while she reads, as she believes that reading provides the perfect escape to the crowded train or plane; although she is sitting, reading can transport her to someplace new or old. Books are a way of jumping out of our world and moving into someone else’s. Having a book in your hand is like holding a whole new world in your palm–all you have to do is open it and escape into it and all it has to offer.

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The Blackboard Wiz! LMS and Media Technology Administrator Alvin Butler Profile by Celeste Martinez

Hello, everyone, and welcome to our installment, “Acts of Reading and Writing: Faculty Profiles.” This week we feature Alvin Butler, Lewis University LMS and Media Technology Administrator. Lewis student Celeste Martinez interviewed Mr. Butler. The mini-interview, that the Jet Fuel Review editors are also partaking in for the “Meet the Editors” series, is located after the profile.

The Blackboard Wiz with an Energetic Twist!butleral

Alvin Butler, the tall man behind the glass windows in the library who is always wearing a black leather jacket, is also known as the Blackboard wiz; and, I’m proud to say, he is my ICE (Introduction to the College Experience) mentor. I met Mr. Butler this year in my ICE class. I won’t lie, at first, I thought he was going to be an unfriendly, strict mentor; but, it turned out I was completely wrong. He is one of the kindest, though frankest mentors, you could have in ICE. He doesn’t sugar coat it for you; he tells you how it is. However, he listens to you, and you can tell that he truly cares about all of his students in ICE. I genuinely look forward to every ICE session with Mr. Butler. In this class we are able to speak our minds and express our opinions on various topics from racism to culture. He always says, “What happens in this class stays in this class.”  I like this particular approach because I like to know that we can be honest and say what we feel. We don’t have to be afraid that he will judge us, because he never does.

Mr. Butler understands us and always tries to learn from us, in the same way we learn from him. He makes the whole learning process entertaining, especially with his weekly stories that always make us laugh. His most recent story was about an embarrassing situation at a grocery store.  He was being a considerate husband and went to the grocery store to buy his wife tampons. When he went to purchase them, the price would not scan so the woman at the register had to make an announcement on the overhead speaker for a price check on the tampons. Mr. Butler became bright red and embarrassed, begging the woman to not make the announcement, but she did nevertheless. When he returned home he didn’t speak to his wife the rest of that evening. The whole class jumped out of their seats laughing when he told us, as it was one of his funniest stories yet.

Mr. Alvin Butler works at Lewis University as the Blackboard administrator, and teaches an Introduction to Information Systems course, besides being my ICE mentor. As the Lewis University Blackboard administrator, his job consists of interpreting the blackboard manual and ensuring that he and his group are handling the technology efficiently here at Lewis, as well as being able to write in technical terms and expressing himself in terms that his primary support will understand. Being an expert in technology, Mr. Butler has an educational background in his specific field. He graduated from Rock Island High School which is located in Illinois. Then, he received his Associates in Computer Science at Blackhawk College, which is located in Moline, Illinois. Later, in 2004, he received his Bachelors of Science in Information Technology at Franklin University in Ohio.

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Thoughts Before Words: Professor Clare Rothschild Profile by Daniel Echeverri

Hello, everyone, and welcome to our installment, “Acts of Reading and Writing: Faculty Profiles.” This week we feature Dr. Clare Rothschild, Lewis University Theology Professor. Lewis student Daniel Echeverri interviewed Dr. Rothschild. The mini-interview, that the Jet Fuel Review editors are also partaking in for the “Meet the Editors” series, is located after the profile.

Thoughts Before Words

Dr. Clare Rothschild is a professor at Lewis University with a Ph.D in Theology.Clare Rothschild She was born in California and went to college there for her first few years. As a professor, she believes theology is important because,

“theological issues plague people because our thoughts about them are unsophisticated, lacking appropriate nuance and necessary ambiguity.”

Since she first became a theology professor, she reads “fiction as a discipline before bed.” She is the type of reader who wants “no distractions” while she reads and describes her perfect reading atmosphere on a plane.

English classes have always been easy for Rothschild, to the point where she was presented with the chance to co-write with Trevor W. Thompson, stating that she “would certainly do so again! He is perfectly brilliant.” Thompson has a Ph.D in Theology from University of Chicago, which is the same university that Rothschild attended, and where she received her Ph.D. in Theology as well. They have written several books and articles together. He is a very successful author and I would have to agree with Rothschild’s statement about him being “perfectly brilliant.”ROTCHRIST

Rothschild believes thinking is more important than reading and writing in theology. She wishes that students today would think before they read and write. Intellect is important to Rothschild, and because of this, she would love to meet Hercules Poirot, a fictional Belgian detective, who has been in 56 short stories and 33 novels. She thinks solving crime cases takes a lot of thought and that is why she enjoys him.

Theology has played a role in Rothschild’s life since before she could read. She memorized “The Little Book about God” by Lauren Ford, at a very young age. Also when she was eight she “detected” a mistake in the Ten Commandments from a children’s bible in a store. She had memorized the Ten Commandments so well that when she detected the mistake, it surprised her. Later in her adult life, she finally received a Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School in 1992; then, she went on to receive a Ph.D at the University of Chicago Divinity School in 2003. Now she is teaching at Lewis University and is a well-known professor.

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One Class Can Change a Life: SAIC Instructor and MFA Candidate Danielle Susi Profile by Zana Dixon

Hello, everyone, and welcome to our installment, “Acts of Reading and Writing: Faculty Profiles.” This week we feature Danielle Susi, instructor and MFA candidate at the School of the Art Institute. Lewis student Zana Dixon interviewed Ms. Susi. The mini-interview, that the Jet Fuel Review editors are also partaking in for the “Meet the Editors” series, is located after the profile.

One Class Can Change a Lifedanielle susi profile

Getting lost in a book allows you to escape reality, however, getting lost while reading a book is terrifying; for Danielle Susi this is beyond true. Reading on Chicago’s train, formally known as the “L,” or while on the CTA bus, has become a normal routine for Susi; it allows her to literally move as she is moving through the story. One day while riding the CTA bus, Susi began to read a book. “It was night time and I had a long day at work,” she recalled. She became so distracted reading the book that she lost track of the time. When she finally happened to look up, she noticed she was in an unfamiliar neighborhood. As she hurried off the bus into the cold darkness of the night she fortunately found her direction and began the long ten block walk home. This was not the first time she has gotten lost, and probably will not be the last. “Pay attention while reading on the bus or train,” she advises. Getting lost while reading, however, has not diminished her love for reading.

Danielle Susi’s love for reading and writing stemmed from her childhood. From an early age, reading has been a llamapart of Susi’s life. As a young girl her house was filled with children’s books that her mother would read to her. “I remember the book Is Your Mama a Llama? being read to me over and over again,” Susi recalls. She knows that book had a great influence on her love for llamas but later realized that reading at an early age contributed to her love for reading; or, as she says, “I recall my mother reading to me as a child; she deemed it very important. My favorite book was Go Dogs Go. Reading as a child has also influenced my love for writing.”

Choosing a book to read is not at all difficult for Susi; however, “I am not drawn to genre writing” she declares. Reading a book should be able to take you from your reality and put you in a place that goes beyond one’s imagination. While reading a book, questions should be posed that cause you to look for answers; and when the answers are not found it allows you to look within yourself for the answers.

In college, choosing classes can be easy, especially when you are set on a major. Danielle Susi knew she wanted to major in Political Science. However, she did not know that a simple creative writing class would cause her to double major in writing.  At Quinnipiac University during her freshmen year, Susi enrolled in a creative writing class hoping to just fill a requirement. As the year went on, her love for writing began; her writing career started at the age of nineteen. Throughout her college experience her writing profile began to grow: “I personally write poetry and fiction stories.” Susi then declared an independent major in writing. This is often a difficult process because it requires students to make their own curriculum and paradigm for classes; however, since Susi loved writing it wasn’t a chore.

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Educational Differences between Russia and America: Professor Serafima Gettys Profile by Migle Giedmintaite

Hello, everyone, and welcome to our installment, “Acts of Reading and Writing: Faculty Profiles.” This week we feature Dr. Serafima Gettys, Lewis University Foreign Language Professor. Lewis student Migle Giedmintaite interviewed Dr. Gettys. The mini-interview, that the Jet Fuel Review editors are also partaking in for the “Meet the Editors” series, is located after the profile.

Educational Differences between Russia and Americaa_cc2c9b1dGettys

Dr. Serafima Gettys is a professor at Lewis University where she is serves as Director of the Foreign Language Program. She has been teaching at Lewis for ten years, and is originally from Saint Petersburg, Russia, where he was born and raised. She attended the University of Leningrad before she and her daughter immigrated to America in 1990. Prior to coming to Lewis, she taught at Stanford University; however, when she saw an advertisement in the newspaper that Lewis University was hiring for positions to start new programs, she decided to take the opportunity because she  felt that she could do a lot more. Gettys states that when she was at Stanford, “People who were teaching languages were not as important as people who were teaching literature, so I was never able to do what I thought was right.” When Dr. Gettys came to Lewis, thereForeign-language-dictiona-007 was no foreign language program; now, Lewis offers up to nine languages, including Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Spanish, German, French, and Italian.

Since she began teaching, she has observed the level of knowledge that students around her had. She started out in Russia and was an English professor there for many years. She noticed that students in Russia had a high level of knowledge; they were pushed by their teachers to the limit. This made them feel obligated to know everything. Even when she was a student she was always expected to know more. For example, if someone asked her if she had read a certain book, and she hadn’t, she would be embarrassed; whereas, here in America, people often say “I hate to read.” For someone to grow up in the Russian culture, not reading a certain book would be the same as saying, “I’m an idiot.”

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The Power of Music: Professor Mike McFerron Profile by John Morrison

Hello, everyone, and welcome to our installment, “Acts of Reading and Writing: Faculty Profiles.” This week we feature Dr. Michael McFerron, Lewis University Music Professor. Dr. McFerron was interviewed by Lewis student John Morrison. The mini-interview, that the Jet Fuel Review editors are also partaking in for the “Meet the Editors” series, is located after the profile.mike-mcferron

The Power of Music

“Music is ubiquitous” is a quote that has driven Dr. Mike McFerron into a lifelong dedication of music. A quite fitting representation of a composer in the modern age whose writing is done primarily on a computer. Dr. McFerron believes in the freedom of music and how an abstract art can be relayed and turned into an individual’s interpretation. With a Doctorate of Musical Arts, he understands the ins-and-outs of music theory having obtained copious amounts of knowledge regarding acoustics and the science of music, which he accumulated during his time at The University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory of Music. He is a scholar of the arts and a very interesting man; one that I had the pleasure of sitting down with one afternoon in his tucked-away office containing several book shelves and an upright piano, all very appropriate for the upcoming conversation.

Music often seems to be on the back burner for non-musicians, but McFerron’s passion runs deep: “I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t read music,” exclaims McFerron when asked who influenced him towards this life of music. He accredits this influence to his mother, whose love of John Denver encouraged him to pick up the guitar at age six. His mother’s love for music comes from her own mother, McFerron’s grandmother, a talented triple threat—actor, singer, and dancer—whose Irish heritage brought her into a world of the arts. “We were a very Irish family and when people got together they danced and sang; that was important to them,” says McFerron. With such a musical background, you might suspect him to be a virtuoso instrumentalist, but when asked how many instruments he could fluently play he responded:

“None, I’m not fluent in anything, I don’t know what fluency is in a musical instrument. My main instrument that I studied the most was voice, but I’ve dabbled a little bit in piano and a bit in guitar; I’ve played a little bassoon and I played a little percussion, but I would say I’m an expert in none of them.”

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Lost in Literature: Professor Bill Chura Profile by Paige Zander

Hello, everyone, and welcome to an installment called “Acts of Reading and Writing: Faculty Profiles.” This week we feature Dr. Bill Chura, Lewis University Biology Professor. Dr. Chura was interviewed by Lewis student Paige Zander. The mini-interview, that the Jet Fuel Review editors are also partaking in for the “Meet the Editors” series, is located after the profile.

Lost in LiteraturebChura

The quote by John Wooden, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” is Lewis University professor Dr. Chura’s favorite inspirational quote. Dr. Chura spends most of his days reading what he would describe to be “serious and dry contents.” From textbook to textbook and PowerPoint to PowerPoint, it is no surprise that when he is allotted leisure time, he reads for pleasure; and he prefers fiction in order to “read to get lost rather than to learn.” When asked how often he reads for pleasure he exclaims, “not enough!” He does manage to find time on vacation, ideally on the beach with the aroma of salt water and the sound of the waves, or he finds time before bed (as long as the Bulls, Bears, or Blackhawks are not playing).

An interest for biology and literature started at an early age for Dr. Chura. As a kid, he admits he had bug collections that entailed putting “pins through their thorax and all,” and even wrote some poetry himself. He called himself a “biology-minded kid,” but also showed an interest in poetry and quotes for athletics. Even though Chura confessed he had a bug collection growing up, he was also a very athletic kid. Growing up, he played basketball, baseball, football, and tennis. Through athletics Chura explained how he found peace and alleviation from all distractions and family life. During his years at Mount Carmel High School and Benedictine University, he continued his basketball career. As an athlete, he recalled how he frequently would read inspirational quotes and messages that focused on teamwork, persistence, and success. He explained how he “felt inspired and moved by the words of others” through poetry and quotes.  Going back to his favorite quote by John Wooden, Chura learned that giving your best effort in the first place will ultimately save you time, whether it be in athletics or typing up a rough draft for an assignment.

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Tied to Your Roots: Professor Pramod Mishra Profile by Andrea Holm

Hello, everyone, and welcome to a new installment called “Acts of Reading and Writing: Faculty Profiles.” This week we feature Dr. Pramod Mishra, Lewis University English Professor. Dr. Mishra was interviewed by Lewis student Andrea Holm. The mini-interview, that the Jet Fuel Review editors are also partaking in for the “Meet the Editors” series, is located after the profile.IMG_4042

Tied to Your Roots

Dr. Pramod Mishra was tucked away alone by his father’s family on a midnight train at the young age of three years old, heading towards Calcutta in North India; still, even till this day, unaware of his own birthday. He lived in the hinterlands of Nepal after he and his mother were banished from India. Coming from a less privileged location Mishra stated, “I lived five years in semi-starvation: three years in high school and my first two years in college”; yet, he was inspired by works of literature to establish a better life for himself. He even rose to become an English professor and went to many well-known universities, including Duke University.

At the age of five years old, Mishra already had a career plan assigned to him by his parents. He was taken through many rituals to become a Kabir monk. However, fate had its way and instead he attended modern school. I was surprised to find out that during Mishra’s childhood he faced multiple struggles. Even though he learned to read at the age of five, school did not come easy for him. He failed third grade and had to be held back an additional six months. He was then able to proceed into fourth grade, where he was able to become top of his class and school within six months. It was  works of literature that encouraged him to try harder. During this period of educational hardships, he was reading stories from Hindu scriptures. One Hindu scripture in particular sparked his interest,the Sukh Sagar, which is a compilation of stories of the Puranas.  He informed me about how the book affected him, proclaiming, “I came across a narrator, Sukhdev Muni, who was blessed to have the most knowledge in the world and was the wisest of all.  I was also seven, and here I was who had failed third grade and was repeating it.” Evidently this piece of literature motivated Mishra to become like the narrator, Sukhdev Muni, a well-rounded, bright intellectual.

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Crème de la Cremin: Professor Dennis Cremin Profile by Alyssa Aquino

Dennis CreminHello, everyone, and welcome to a new installment called “Acts of Reading and Writing: Faculty Profiles.” This week we feature Dr. Dennis Cremin, Lewis University History Professor. Dr. Cremin was interviewed by Lewis student Alyssa Aquino. The mini-interview, that all of the Jet Fuel Review editors are also partaking in for the “Meet the Editors” series, is located after the profile.

Crème de la Cremin

When he isn’t cracking jokes in the classroom or telling you about his passion for Alexander the Great, Dr. Dennis Cremin can be found in his reading chair with a good book while sipping a hot cappuccino. He is the ideal historian possessing “too many books and not enough book shelves.” Cremin received his Masters from Midwestern State University and his Ph.D. from Loyola University in Chicago. He is the author of many books and the originator of the name Jet Fuel Review, “a high octane literary journal.” Dr. Cremin, a historian, a college professor and a published author is considered nothing short of a “triple threat,” like a Vin Diesel, in today’s society.

The interest for literature and writing came to Dr. Cremin at an early age. According to him, it was his creative writing teacher, Fr. Greg Boyle, who first pushed him in the direction of success. After receiving an “A-” on a one-act play, Cremin realized “writing was something he could do well.” Engaging in historical texts and novels helped to aid his interest in producing literature of his own. More specifically, the works of Doris Kearns Goodwin greatly fascinated Dr. Cremin: “it turns out we were both influenced by going to the home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Hyde Park, New York.” Goodwin is famous for writing presidential histories and Dr. Cremin admired the power of history and place within text. In fact, the power of place acts as a major theme in his book, Grant Park: The Evolution of Chicago’s Front Yard.

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