Books that Cook
Professor of English Jennifer Cognard-Black's new book, Books that Cook: The Making of a Literary Meal, is being published by NYU Press this August.

Program Information

Ben Click, Chair
Professor of English

Office staff: 240-895-4225

Alumni—where are they now?

Monica Powell

Monica Powell (class of 2011) graduated with an English major and a WGSX minor. She currently lives in Washington DC, where she works in theatre education with the Young Playwright's Theatre and the Shakespeare Theatre Company.


Student Spotlight

Maria Smaldone

Maria Smalldone finds doors opening for her in Oxford, while studying at the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Alumnae & Alumni News

Roya Biggie

   Roya Biggie (class of 2008) graduated with an English major and minors in Theater and WGSX. She is a writing center fellow and an MA candidate in English at Georgetown University, where she will also serve as the Coordinator of the university’s Writing Center during the 2009-10 academic year. Her current research focuses on the eroticization of the heart in early modern drama. Roya plans to pursue her Ph.D. in English literature, and is currently deciding which program to attend.

Margaret Schuster

Margaret Schuster (class of 2008), shown here standing on Omaha Beach in Normandy, is a J.D. Candidate for May 2011 at University of Maryland School of Law. She was a History and English double major and a WGSX minor while attending St. Mary’s. Last year, she competed nationally as part of University of Maryland’s Health Law Moot Court team.

Elizabeth van Fleet

Elizabeth Van Fleet (class of 2007) graduated with an English major and a WGSX minor. Since graduation, she’s been living in downtown DC. She’s about to celebrate her two year anniversary at Americans for the Arts (, which is a national arts advocacy whose simple mission is all the arts for all the people. She’s an editor and manages several publications, the website, and e-communications. Elizabeth says, “My first job could not be more perfect, and I still believe (and boast!) my SMP and my role in Avatar played a huge part in my luck! Who knows where it will lead next?!”

Elizabeth is shown here with English major Paul Clark (2005), Adrian Parsons, who also attended SMCM; and Jason Ortego, who came to SMCM as an NSE student in 2003.

Karyn Sailstad

Karyn Sailstad (class of 2007) graduated with an English major and a minor in Studio Art. She currently lives in Bath, England, where she is pursuing a Master’s degree in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and interning with the children’s publisher Barefoot Books. In her oodles of spare time, she enjoys volunteering at lit festivals and working part-time for Mr.B’s Emporium of Reading Delights.

Karyn agrees with Elizabeth van Fleet in that her studies and experiences at St. Mary’s have prepared her well for life beyond college: “The disciplined and collaborative environment in the English department at St. Mary’s not only mirrors that of a graduate program, but often exceeds it. St. Mary’s professors continue to be invaluable resource and inspiration long after graduation.”  

After completing her Master’s degree in the Fall of 2009 Karyn plans to remain in the UK to continue to write and work in publishing.

Joe Hall

Joe Hall's (class of 2004) first book of poems, Pigafetta Is My Wife, is due out from Black Ocean Press in 2010. It prominently features the names and acts of more than one SMCM alum. In 2007 he founded the DC area reading series Cheryl's Gone and continues to help curate readings. A 2007-8, Thesis Fellow holder, he graduated from George Mason University with an MFA in 2008 and is currently headed to some other sort of institution of higher learning. For links to other people doing art and life and news in real time, please visit Joe is always glad to hear from you. He also hopes Avatar is doing well.

Becca Tuttle

Becca Tuttle (class of 2009) graduated from St. Mary’s with a double major in English and French, and a WGSX minor. Becca spent the summer of 2009 studying Arabic in Tunisia as part of the State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship program; in the fall of 2009, she began graduate studies in French at NYU, at their Paris Center.

Zach Pajak

Zach Pajak (class of 2009), featured here kissing the Blarney Stone in Ireland, is editing publications for ASCD in Alexandria, VA. Zach's love for stories, language, and fictional creations has helped him land an additional job as a book reviewer/recommender at Daedalus Books & Music in Columbia, MD, where he gets to read and discuss stories with customers and fellow reviewers every evening (it's tough work, but someone's got to do it). Zach is grateful to the St. Mary's English Department's faculty and students for simply far too many reasons to list here. He will at least say, though, that his work on his St. Mary's Project in English (SlackWater Volume VI: The Instant City), his role as a Writing Center Peer Tutor, and the deep passion for writing and language the department powerfully awakened and cultivated in him gave Zach the growthful experiences necessary to more than just fulfill his positions. Zach continues to draw from the insights, resources, and kinship given by the department's faculty and students, and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition. In the fall, he will begin his graduate studies at Oregon State University.
Teresa Houk Teresa Houk (class of 2001) is happily employed in a public library in Baltimore County. She was an English major, she says, “mainly because I love literature and reading, and that same interest lead me to library science. I use that knowledge and those skills every day as a librarian. I feel like I have a really solid foundation to work from when I’m evaluating books and recommending them. For me it was the love of it that drew me to it, but it has also paid off for me in my career.”

Garrett J. Brown

Garrett J. Brown (class of 1996) received an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and is now wrapping up a Ph.D in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was recently awarded the 2009 Liam Rector First Book Prize for Poetry, for Manna Sifting, published by Briery Creek Press. He’s also published a chapbook, Panning the Sky, available from Pudding House Publications.