Alexa Pastor
Alexa Pastor, 2013 Medallion winner

The Department of English sponsors a number of awards each year.

The Medallion of Excellence
The Jerome J. Fischer Memorial Award
The Margaret Powell Esmonde Memorial Award
The Senior Class Poet
The Literary Experience Essay Award
The English Honor Society

The Medallion of Excellence

The Edward McGrath Medallion, the English Department’s Medallion of Excellence, is awarded to a graduating senior each year. The 2014 Medallion of Excellence winner is Christine V. Tergis.

Previous Winners:  
2013 - Alexa I Pastor
2012 - Theresa Donohoe
            Nicole Battisti
2011 - Molly Schreiber
2010 - Max Stendahl
2009 - Joe R. Gonzalez
- Angela S. Allen
2007 -
Emily M. Trovato
- Thomas Emerson
- Kathryn M. Rutigliano
2004 - John Durnin
2003 - Mari Grace Crosby
2002 - Michael Foley
2001 - Kristin Suga
2000 - Christine Anderson
1999 - Thomas McKinley
1998 - John Giordano and Megan Norcia
1997 - Lisa Tomaszewski
1996 - Mark Spoonauer
1995 - Kelly Beissel

English majors have also been honored with the Saint Thomas More Award, the Medallion of Excellence for the Honors Program:

2010 - Tara Powers
2009 - Thomas Celona
2006 - Molly Grace
- Corinne Welsh
1999 - Maria Sadowski

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The Jerome J. Fischer Memorial Award

The Jerome J. Fischer Memorial Award is given annually to the most distinguished undergraduate essay written in a Villanova English course. The Fischer Award honors Jerome J. Fischer, who taught nineteenth-century British literature courses, as well as a variety of other courses, at Villanova from 1947 until his retirement in 1983. He died in 1984.  (For details about the essay competition, click here.)

Megan Plevy, from Montvale, New Jersey, is a senior English major with a Concentration in Writing and Rhetoric and a minor in Education. During her time at Villanova, Megan has been a part of the Villanova Ski & Snowboard Team, Chi Omega sorority, Relay for Life committee and USLA mentoring. In the fall of 2012, she studied abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Over the past couple of years, Megan has interned in publicity at HarperCollins Publishers, in editorial at Montgomery Media newspapers, and in communications at QVC. She was also a writing volunteer for PCAPS (Philly Coalition Advocating for Public Schools). After graduation, Megan hopes to travel and end up working in New York City. Her essay was also presented at the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Conference this past year, where it received the Undergraduate Research Award for best undergraduate essay.

Previous Winners:  
2013 - Shanon Welch
2012 -Theresa Donohoe
2011 - Molly Schreiber
2010 - Max Stendahl
2009 - Jamie Kapalko
- Daniel E. Trucil
2007 -
Emily Trovato
- Stephen Cornell
- Kristy Wessman
2004 - Mark Napolitano
2003 - Valerie Kate Fernandez
2002 - Rebecca Corcoran
2001 - Michael Foley
2000 - Corinne Welsh
1999 - Jennifer Joyce
1998 - Cara LaColla
1997 - Chris Eagle
1996 - Wendy Anne Tucker
1995 - [not given out]
1994 - Michael DiRuggiero
1993 - Rosemary Scalo
1992 - Mary Kovalchick
1991 - Peter Naccarato
1990 - Sarah Pines
1989 - Anne Marie Ryan
1988 - Jon Lemole
1987 - Jill Stevens

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The Margaret Powell Esmonde Memorial Award

The Margaret Powell Esmonde Memorial Award is given annually to the most distinguished graduate essay written in a Villanova English course. The Esmonde Award honors Margaret Powell Esmonde, who taught at Villanova from 1974 until her death in 1983. She was a specialist in Renaissance literature who also taught courses in science fiction and children’s literature.  (For details about the 2008 essay competition, click here.)

Theodora Hermes graduated from Lebanon Valley College in May of 2012. During her undergraduate career, she doubled majored in English and Sociology and served as the Student Director of the Women's Services and Gender Resource Center. At Villanova, she continues to merge her interests in academia and activism by pursuing a MA degree in English while working as the graduate assistant in the Gender and Women's Studies program. Her paper, "'Caught in the powerful grasp of the Demon of Slavery: Gothic Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl," was written for an American Gothic class with Dr. Michael Berthold in the summer of 2013. She recently presented this paper at the National African American Studies Association's annual conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 


Theodora is currently at work on her thesis which examines topics of visibility and invisibility in nineteenth and twentieth-century African-American women's literature. Theodora will graduate from Villanova spring, and will return to alma mater as an Adjunct Instructor in the English and Sociology departments to teach courses in Gender Studies and late American literature. Her ultimate goal is to receive her PhD in African-American literature.


Previous Winners:  
2013 - Rebecca Hepp
           Cara Saraco
2012 - Alexandra Edwards
2011 - Benjamin Raymond
2010 - James McAdams
2009 - Don James McLaughlin
- John Breedlove
- Rebecca Steffy
2007 -
Rebecca Burnett
- Karen Y. Lee
- Marc Napolitano
2004 - Victor Sensenig
2003 - Deborah Gross
2002 - Brian Sweeney
2001 - Patricia Crouch
2000 - Laura Giuliani
1999 - Sharon Cournoyer
1998 - Marc Schuster
1997 - Mary Ann Quigley
1996 - Robert Duggan, Jr.
1995 - Gale White
1994 - Gale White
1993 - Daniel Hipp
1992 - Helen Goff
1991 - Sr. Elaine Marie Glanz, I.H.M.
1990 - Katrien Conlan
1989 - Janet Wallin
1988 - Anne Gallagher
1987 - Gregory Sullivan
1986 - Ellen Wilmot

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Senior Class Poet

The Senior Class Poet is chosen each year on the basis of a portfolio judged by an outside poet.

The Senior Class Poet for 2014 is Mary Grace Mangano. Two of her poems follow.


Peter Pan sewed his shadow to his feet, but mine is stapled to my head. It hangs over me, watches me, follows me. I want the light to go right through me, to beat in my blue lines. The nurse says she can’t draw blood from the swan-soft bend of my inner arm, but she pierces it anyway so that I can save three lives. For the next two weeks, I’ll have a butterfly bruise that diverges in yellow lines, with splotches and splatters that trickle, that drizzle, that scatter. Isn’t that humerus? The bruises are like little shadows that remind me of past pain. But I’d rather feel the pain that pinches than the kind that hurts. My shadow follows me without even flirting – not even a little bit. Sometimes I don’t mind. That’s how I know I’m real. Like light behind paper, my words are visible but can only be read when held up to a candle that burns my eyes when I stare at it for too long. My skin is thin like paper. If you held me up to the light, there would be words instead of blood. They stay there even when I want them on my tongue.




What it feels like to grow up


What is feels like to grow up

is remembering the sweaters

you used to wear: itchy, but

at least you were warm –

& the punch in your gut

when you see those copper hills

in Fall, the broccoli-tops turned

orange and maroon that say

soccer and a certain smell, perhaps

of the detergent on your flannel sheets

or mint toothpaste as your mother

blow-dries your hair after a bath –

the same bath where you are sometimes

part-mermaid. It feels like memories

that are only a part of you because

you hang onto them so that they will

still be real, like love. But most of all,

it feels like looking at your limbs for long

moments and every freckle on your face,

running your finger along your chin

and memorizing your nose and

wondering how you can inhabit the

same body as the girl who loved

being warm after the bath, with the heat

on her neck and wet hair slowly

becoming gossamer in the mirror.

And it’s the thought that maybe

growing is just being a new person

every year, and every day, so that by the time

you’re twenty, you’ve met seven thousand

three hundred versions of yourself,

and maybe even more, but sometimes

you have to be re-introduced because it’s

been awhile since you’ve seen each other.


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The Literary Experience Essay Award

The Literary Experience Essay Award is given each semester to the best papers written for English 1050.

The Spring 2012 winner is Nicholas Cho.
Nicholas's essay, "The Excavation and Expulsion of Exploitation in Latin America" was written for Prof. Ellen Bonds.

The Fall 2012 winner is Alissa Foti.
Alissa's essay, "Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Metaphysical Poetry" was written for  Prof. Cecilia Ready.

Previous winners:  
Fall 2011 - Monica Solis
Fall 2010 - Lien Trieu
Fall 2009 - Ellie Garbade
Fall 2008 - Greg Cappa
Fall 2007 - C J Hodukavich
Fall 2006 - Jennifer Latz
Fall 2005 - Stephanie Cody
Fall 2004 - John Zurbach
Fall 2003 - Nadia Nauss
Fall 2002 - Adrienne Sanetrik
Fall 2001 - Matt Nespoli
Fall 2000 - Michael Knerr and Ryan Zitnay
Fall 1999 - Kate Schramm
Fall 1998 - Megan Knecht
Spring 2010 - Anne Stohlquist
Spring 2009 - Michael Tomae, Nakoya Wilson
Spring 2008 - Kailee Fowler
Spring 2007 - Marissa Zator
Spring 2006 - Christina Park
Spring 2005 - Christian Skonier
Spring 2004 - Emily Trovato and Kerri White
Spring 2003 - Monica Borgone
Spring 2002 - Elizabeth Micklow
Spring 2001 - Matt Varga
Spring 2000 - Andrea Flood
Spring 1999 - Jocelyn Trufant

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English Honor Society 2014

Rosaria D. Altomare
Kate J. Brunori
Michael B. Bucaria
Anna R. Cassidy
Christa R. Chirico
Lauren E. Clem
Lucas W. Cox
Mary C. Finnegan
Colleen L. Francke
Camila Gadala-Maria
Melanie P. Grenier
Robert C. Janoski
Margaret McCarty
Mary P. McDermott
Alexis Nicheporuck
Karoline M. Nunez
Megan R. Plevy
Arielle Ratush
Nelson B. Rice
Elaine Roghanian
Danielle E. Sekerak
John C. Szot
Nkiruka C. Umegbolu
Rebecca M. Watson
Julia L. Willis


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