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When people find out a college student is earning an English degree, they likely think that student is focused strictly on historical or modern literature, creative writing, or rhetoric and composition. Most of those people probably have not stepped foot in an English department in many years, though.

Florida State University undergraduates who win IDEA Grants have to select a faculty supervisor to guide and mentor them through the research and completion of their project. Senior English major Colby Blackwill chose English Professor Jimmy Kimbrell, and Kimbrell has the highest praise for Blackwill and his academic excellence.

“I cannot recall ever having the honor of mentoring an undergraduate student who is more immersed, ambitious, and capable than Colby Blackwill,” Kimbrell says, “and I have had many wonderful students during my nearly two decades at FSU.”

Undergraduates at Florida State are familiar with the process of scouring course offerings and looking for classes they want to add to their academic schedules. Talise Burton, a senior majoring in English, decided she wanted to build one of those courses for students to consider. And FSU’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Academic Engagement rewarded Burton with an IDEA Grant to help carry out the unconventional plan.

Reading an author’s works allows a person only so much insight into what the author was thinking during the writing of the books. To gain a better understanding and more awareness of English novelist Thomas Hardy and his novels, Florida State University English major David Advent recently immersed himself in the Victorian realist’s environment.

Roberts Parade

When a writer wins an award, the honoree usually receives a certificate or a plaque, maybe even gets the opportunity to give a short thank-you speech in front of colleagues.

For her most recent honor, Florida State University English Professor Diane Roberts took a more celebratory route—literally. After FSU named Roberts its 2018 Alumni Distinguished Writer, she earned a slow-moving ride in the October 19 homecoming parade.

The start of Florida State University’s 2018-19 academic year also begins a new alliance between FSU and the Newberry Center for Renaissance Studies. The Newberry Center, an independent research library in Chicago since 1887, works with an international consortium of universities in North America and the United Kingdom.