English Alumnus Success Stems from Liberal Arts Education


John Hoeschele ’86 (English)

Part of the beauty of a liberal arts education is the unexpected directions your degree can take you. After graduating from SUNY New Paltz, John Hoeschele ’86 (English)—a member of the College’s Alumni Advisory Council— planned on becoming an English teacher. He enrolled in graduate school, completed his student teaching, and was two requirements shy of completing his master’s degree.

“But I had another plan to get into the advertising business,” said Hoeschele. “I always thought it was a cool business and an interesting way to use an English degree. Before I finalized my graduate degree, I scattered my resume near and far, and ended up getting a job at an ad agency in Ithaca.”

Hoeschele entered the industry as a junior copywriter at the small firm, and quickly climbed to the position of creative director. Later, he landed at Sag MarCom, a larger agency in Syracuse, where he became vice president of creative services, before leaving that job to work for a Syracuse-based dotcom business as head of marketing and communications. He then ran his own consultancy, Drum Creative Communications, for six years before landing his current position in 2006 as marketing communications and government relations manager at Anaren in Syracuse.

“Being able to write, to stare at a blank page and not be afraid of it, is a great skill to have,” said Hoeschele. “Advertising, by itself, is a creative and fun process. You get to think and write. There’s editing. You have to boil down messages and make them more succinct and streamlined.”

While at New Paltz, Hoeschele was involved with the English Club and also studied abroad for a semester in London, which was an inspiring and invigorating experience.

“For an English major, it was a dream come true,” said Hoeschele. “It’s where Dickens lived and wrote, where Arthur Conan Doyle wrote Sherlock Holmes. I got to go to the Lake District where Wordsworth and Coleridge and all those guys did their writings. It was really cool to see the places they were referring to in their poetry, and the things that inspired them.”

Hoeschele also met his wife, Lisa (White) Hoeschele ’85, at New Paltz, where she majored in French. She currently manages a mental health agency and previously worked as a French teacher as well as a development fundraiser for PBS. They have two children, Maxwell and Margaret, and reside in Cortland, N.Y.

Prior to his involvement with the Council, Hoeschele admits he’d largely lost touch with New Paltz, but hopes to change that with his new position. This past December, Hoeschele decided to partner with fellow New Paltz grad Catherine Fisher ’81 (English) to host an alumni mixer at the Onondaga Historical Association in downtown Syracuse as part of Global Orange and Blue Day.

“I thought it was sort of incumbent upon me to walk the talk,” he said. “I’m trying to create some excitement and a sense of New Paltz community.”

Creative Writing Students Find Inspiration on Historic Huguenot Street

Twenty-eight SUNY New Paltz students with a passion for creative writing participated in a Huguenot Streettour of Historic Huguenot Street (HHS), the National Historic Landmark District less than one mile from campus.

The tour was organized by Creative Writing Program Director Jan Schmidt and Professor Sarah Wyman, in hopes of helping their writing students feel connected to the local history and architecture preserved at HHS.

“We have an active community of student writers on campus who work with each other, support each other in and out of classes and are committed to honing their craft,” Schmidt said. “The tour of Historic Huguenot Street, workshop and reading is part of our larger effort to inspire our students’ writing and involve them in the wider world of the New Paltz community.”

“My favorite Creative Writing events are always the student and faculty readings, where writers share their new work,” Wyman added. “It was a delight to take our show on the road this spring, and present our micro-fictions, poems and stories fresh from the Historic Huguenot Street tour.”

Students had the opportunity to spend time surrounded by stone houses and accompanying structures dating as far back as the late 17th century, when Huguenots from France and southern Belgium fleeing religious persecution first arrived at the banks of the Wallkill River, in what is now New Paltz.

The tour was followed by a writing workshop and “Read-A-Loud” at which students, faculty and staff shared their poetry and prose in the 1799 Lefevre House.

A number of students expressed feeling moved and inspired by the immersive foray into village history.

“As I’ve grown older I’ve realized how much history is embedded in the Hudson Valley, especially in New Paltz,” said Jeffrey Seitz ’15 (English – Creative Writing). “Gaining a better comprehension of that history has fed directly into my own creativity.”

“It was like entering into another world,” said Carina Kohn ’17 (Psychology). “When you see that the things you know now were once very different, you can choose to try to enter that world and write about that, or to notice the ways in which the present and the past are connected.”

“To be in the places where founders of our little part of the state actually lived was a humbling experience,” said Tsahai Wright ’16 (English – Creative Writing). “As a writer, engaging in these types of activities gets the creative juices flowing.”

HHS is a frequent collaborator with the College for tours, arts events and a summer Archaeological Field School.

“It is important to us that the students of SUNY New Paltz see HHS not as a dusty old museum, but as a place where they can come to learn, grow and be creative,” said Kara Gaffken, HHS director of public programming. “Over and over again, the students from the College have taught and inspired us just as much as we hope to teach and inspire them. It is a fabulous relationship that we hope will continue for years to come.”

For more information about Historic Huguenot Street, please visit them online.

LA&S Outstanding Graduates Honored

Students from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who excelled academically and outside of the classroom were among graduates honored during the campus-wide Outstanding Graduate Awards ceremony, held Thursday, Dec. 11 in the Multi-Purpose Room.

Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Philip Mauceri presented the students with certificates.

Congratulations to all LA&S Outstanding Graduates:

Alexis Moody

Asian Studies
Dennis Gross

Mia Faske
Carly Rome
Hayley Ward

Communication Disorders
Sarah McNamara
Shayna Burgess
Heidi Schmidt (Graduate)

Digital Media and Journalism
Gianna Canevari
Julio Olivencia
Alexandria Fontanez*

Maya Slouka
James Frauenberger
Karissa Keir
Danielle Brown (Graduate)

Kevin Vogelaar
Jessica Pierorazio (Graduate)
Jonathan Mandia*

Languages, Literatures & Cultures
Alexandria Fontanez*
Sarah Walling

Latin American & Caribbean Studies
Adam Repose

Elizabeth Saunders
Jonathan Mandia*

Political Science/International Relations
Andrew Roepe

Hannah Lake
Stefany Batista
Geoffrey Ralls
Morgan Gleason (Graduate)

Sarah Alestalo
Imuetinyan Odigie
Allison Smalley

Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Sudies
Emily Holmes

*Received multiple departmental awards.

Award Winning Author to Conduct Poetry Reading and Workshop

Karina Borowicz, author of the award-winning volumes, The Bees are Waiting and Proof, will read from her latest volume and also conduct a poetry workshop on Thursday, Nov. 6.  The reading will be at 7 p.m. in the Honors Center, and the workshop will be held on the same day from 2-3:15 p.m. in Jacobson Faculty Tower, Room 1010.

Borowicz’s debut poetry volume, The Bees are Waiting (2012), won the Marick Press Poetry Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Poetry, the First Horizon Award, and was named a Must-Read by the Massachusetts Center for the Book.  Her second book, Proof (2014), won the Codhill Poetry Award and was a finalist for the National Poetry Series.  Her poems have appeared in many journals including AGNI, Nimrod, Poetry Northwest and The Southern Review, and her work was recently featured on The Writer’s Almanac.

Students should contact Pauline Uchmanowicz (uchmanop@newpaltz.edu) to sign up for the workshop.

Cognitive Science Colloquium Series Begins with Sign Language Lecture

Coppola field photo 2

Dr. Marie Coppola conducts field work to promote equal access to language and education for deaf individuals.

Dr. Marie Coppola will be the first speaker of the 2014-2015 Cognitive Science Colloquium Series. Dr. Coppola is the director of the Language Creation Lab at the University of Connecticut. Her research investigates how sign languages emerge and are created in communities. Her talk will focus on homesign gesture systems (that is, gesture systems developed by deaf individuals who are not exposed to conventional sign or spoken language input), their characteristics, and the developmental consequences of linguistic deprivation with respect to other aspects of cognition.

coppola headshot vertical

Dr. Coppola

Dr. Coppola’s talk, titled “Which aspects of language and cognition depend on linguistic input? Insights from homesign gesture systems” will take place on Thursday, October 23, at 3:30 pm in the Coykendall Science Building Auditorium. The talk is sponsored by Campus Auxiliary Services and by the following programs and departments: Linguistics, Deaf Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Communication Disorders, and Psychology.

Abstract of the Talk:

Researchers in the cognitive sciences have long debated the relationships between linguistic input and language structure, as well as the relationships between language and cognition. Homesign systems offer a unique window into these relationships. Homesigns are gesture systems developed by deaf individuals who are not exposed to conventional sign or spoken language input. Homesign systems exhibit a number of linguistic properties, but appear to lack others, which depend on access to a linguistic model and/or interaction within a language community. Dr. Coppola will show that homesign systems have structure at a variety of levels of linguistic analysis, including phonology and discourse structure. Dr. Coppola will describe some of the developmental consequences of linguistic (but not social) deprivation, particularly with respect to number cognition. Finally, she will discuss her work with Manos Unidas (www.manos-unidas.org), a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote equal access to language and education for deaf individuals in Nicaragua.

LA&S Summer Internship Scholarships

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is pleased to announce scholarships to support low-paying or unpaid summer internships for students.  For summer 2014 we will offer two or three $1,000 awards.  This program is supported by generous contributions from SUNY New Paltz parents, alumni, and friends to the LA&S Dean’s Fund.

These are merit-based awards that take into account the student’s GPA, the quality of the internship, the relevance of the internship to the student’s academic major and educational goals, and the relevance of the internship to the student’s future career.


  • Applicants should be majors in a department or program within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
  • Applicants should have a 3.3 or higher cumulative G.P.A.
  • Preference will be given to students in their junior year; seniors who will graduate in May or August 2014 are not eligible for this award.
  • The internship cannot be with a business or organization run by a family member, relative, or close family friend.

To apply, students should submit the following:

  • A 300-500 word description of the internship and its relation to the student’s academic major, educational goals, and career plans
  • A resume
  • An academic transcript with cumulative G.P.A.
  • Two letters of recommendation from faculty

Applications should be sent to the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, JFT 614.  Deadline for applications is May 7, 2014.  Awards will be announced on May 15, 2014.

Free Hearing Test for Students, Faculty & Staff

DSC03877Hearing loss is a very common problem that can significantly affect an individual’s ability to communicate. The Speech Language and Hearing Center (SLHC) here on campus provides full audiological evaluations at no cost for students, faculty and staff.  The evaluation takes approximately one hour and will be performed by a nationally and state certified audiologist. If you are interested, please call 257-3600 to make an appointment.

Statistics on Hearing Loss:

  • About 20 percent of adults in the United States, 48 million, report some degree of hearing loss.
  • 60 percent of the people with hearing loss are either in the work force or in educational settings.
  • At age 65, one out of three people has a hearing loss.
  • About 2-3 of every 1,000 children are hard of hearing or deaf
  • Estimated that 30 school children per 1,000 have a hearing loss.

Source: John Hopkins Medicine

Tom Festa Honored for Excellence in Scholarship


Tom Festa

Professor Tom Festa (English) has received the 2013 LA&S Excellence in Scholarship Award. The award was based on recommendations from the Liberal Arts and Sciences Senate committee. Festa’s main field of scholarship is early modern English literature, and he has concentrated much of his work on the study of the poet John Milton. “I’ve been recognized by other learned societies, outside of our community, while on the faculty here. It feels particularly good to be the recipient of an award from my home institution,” said Festa.

Digital Scholarship and Pedagogy Search Candidate Speaks About ‘Deep Mapping’ Techniques

Digital Humanities

“Navigating Space and Time with Digital Humanities Geographical Information Systems (GIS),” a talk by digital scholarship and pedagogy search candidate Dr. Charles Travis (Trinity College, Dublin), will be held Monday, Feb. 10 in JFT 1010, from 4-5 p.m.

Lev Manovich predicts that the “systematic use of large-scale computational analysis and interactive visualization of cultural patterns will become a major trend in cultural criticism and culture industries in the coming decades.”

One visualization technique associated with digital humanities GIS is the concept of “Deep Mapping” originally coined by the writer William Least Heat Moon in PrairyErth (1991). “Deep Mapping” can be described as a “vertical form of travel writing” employed to “record and represent the grain and patina of place” through juxtapositions and interpenetrations of the historical with the present, the political with the poetic and the discursive with the sensual.

Conflating oral testimony, anthology, memoir, biography, and natural history, deep mapping techniques are confluent with eco-critical tropes which Serpil Oppermann argues transcend the duality of art and life, human and the natural, to focus on the interconnections between various dualities and constructions.

Travis’ presentation will focus on deep mapping narrative and visualization techniques such as ergodicity, deformance and bricolage made possible with proprietary and open-source GIS methodologies and approaches.

Mindy Lewis to Lecture on “Giving Voice: The Power of Personal Narrative”

Author Mindy Lewis will lecture on Friday, November 8 from 11-12:15 in the Student Union Building, Room 100 as part of the Composition Program’s Summer Reading Program. The lecture will focus on truth in memoir and creative nonfiction, the importance of writing about difficult personal experiences, the composing process, and lifting the stigma that surrounds mental health concerns.  Lewis will also hold a writing workshop that day from 2-3:15 PM.  Interested students should contact Joann Deiudicibus at deiudicj@newpaltz.edu before November 1; seats are limited.

Mindy Lewis’s memoir, Life Inside was described in a starred Kirkus Review as “complex, chilling, luminous” and named a 2003 Book of the Year by the American Journal of Nursing. She is also the editor of Dirt: The Quirks, Habits and Passions of Keeping House. Her writing has appeared in NY Times Book Review, Newsweek, Poets & Writers, Arts & Letters Journal and other publications. She teaches at The Writer’s Voice and Hudson Valley Writers’ Center, and has taught at Brooklyn College and as a visiting writer at George Mason University.