Faculty Profile: Dr. Robert Mundy

Profile by Anthony J Caputo (’17)

Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 2.20.09 PM

Dr. Robert Mundy

Background Check

Robert Mundy is an Assistant Professor of English and Writing Program Administrator at Pace University.  He has previously worked at SUNY Old Westbury as a Writing Center Professional. Robert attended Stony Brook University, CUNY Graduate Center, and St. John’s University, where he studied both Comp/Rhetoric and Gender Studies.  His research focuses on composition, writing centers, and gender/masculinity studies.

Rob is currently working on a coedited/coauthored book project that considers the relationship between public controversies and private identities in the Writing Center.  Some of his recent publications include “’I Got It’: Intersections, Performances, and Rhetoric of Masculinity in the Center” and “No Homo: Toward an Intersection of Sexuality and Masculinity for Working-Class Men.”

The Lingua Franca

Q: So, what sparked your interest in English?

A: Hmmm, where to begin?  I guess I have always been creative and outspoken.  I mention both characteristics because that is how I understand myself as a writer and the writing I try to develop—equal parts creativity and voice.  Entering college, I wasn’t all that sure what I was supposed to be doing—what was the purpose of this venture.  A bit lost, I gravitated to what I knew—the stories I had written in my journals, poems I had penned to girls I never had the nerve to talk with, my fears and sorrow.  Looking back on those days, I studied English because something inside of me said that these were my people—that they felt what I felt, saw what I saw, and had neuroses like I have.

 Q: How did you find your passion?

A: Much of my desire to write extends from a need to challenge the status quo.  From the beginning, though, I wrote as a means to figure it all out—to discover who I am and why I feel the way that I do.  As a researcher, I have taken up conversations my brother and I have had over the years to better understand the complexities of gender.  Although I often think about the larger sociocultural and socioeconomic issues we as people face—I tend to start with me.  Man, that sound narcissistic.

Q: Which leads me to my next question.  Do you have any advice for students who are very unsure of what they want to do with their lives?  When did you decide to commit your life to teaching and what passion or circumstance drove that commitment?

A: I wish I had a profound story to tell.  I write and teach because that is what I do.  In truth, I am a one-trick pony.   This is all that I am really good at – all I ever really wanted to do.  I think Bukowski said it: “Find what you love and let it kill you” – that has always been my approach.

Q: That’s an interesting outlook that I hope not only I can learn from but others as well.  Knowing your passions, did people discourage you in your choice of majors?

A: My parents were just happy we, my brother and I, went to college.  I’m not sure they understood the whole design (as I just noted about myself), either.  All they understood was that we needed to go if we were to be successful.

Q: Was English/Education your first choice, or were there other options you considered?

A: As an undergrad – yes.  As I graduate student, I wanted to paint.  Mom said no.  She couldn’t imagine how I could survive as a painter.

Help Along the Way

Q: So, passion is certainly a factor but what helped you along the way?  Do you have any idols?

A: When I started to identify as a writer, as a much younger man, I remember replacing my Michael Jordan poster with one of Jack Kerouac.  So, I tend to turn to old Jack for such an answer.  As a man and a writer, he spoke to me in way few others have.  Musicians have also inspired me – the Joe Strummers, Patti Smiths, and Jim Carrolls of the world.  Richard Hell is pretty cool – and my inner 7-year-old wants to say Paul Stanley from KISS.

Q: What’s your best memory of an English class? Why?

A: Missy Bradshaw – Stony Brook University – “Deconstructing the Diva.”  She first introduced me to Michel Foucault (French philosopher, theorist).  His work blew my mind, and I suddenly realized, as I noted before, that English is bigger than I had ever imagined.  For the first time, I was beginning to see the sociological side of writing.  English was no longer the “classics” for me.  Looking back, that was a big moment, as I never returned to the “traditional” English that first brought me to the college.

Q: Was there a particular faculty person who influenced you? In what way?

A: Over the years, I have had the privilege of working with some truly brilliant people.  I noted Missy before – but Harry Denny, my dissertation director, really influenced me as a man, teacher, and writer.  Together we have published a bunch of writing together – the book I mentioned and a book chapter called “No Homo.”  Presently we are working on an article about masculinity and sexuality.  Harry was my greatest teacher and supporter.  He taught me just about all that I know about my job – from how to be a leader to how to be a good colleague.

Adding Character to Context

Q: We tackled some of the reasons you decided to pursue English in education and in life, but let’s add a little more context to that.  What are some interests and hobbies you enjoy?

A: I play a good amount of basketball.  Recently, I got involved in Krav Maga, an Israeli fighting style.  I’m not so interested in the fighting, per se – but I need to get into better shape – and walking on the treadmill bores me to tears.  Beyond that, I paint, play guitar, bike…

Q: Favorite ninja turtle?

A: Splinter (hope that is acceptable).

Q: (Laughs) Good answer.  What are your favorite things to read and to write?

A: I write predominately about gender – namely masculinity – and composition/rhetoric and writing centers.  As a reader, I get stuck looking at texts for work most of the time, but when I am free to read for myself, I tend to explore memoirs and graphic novels.

Q: What are some of your greatest accomplishments?

A: I recently coauthored my first book—a text that looks at public controversies and private identities.  I could talk about my writing all day, but that is boring.  As a kid, I threw a nine-pitch inning once.  That was pretty incredible.  Three strikes in a row to three consecutive batters.

Q: What is something commonly accepted that you wish would be different? 

A: Sexism – homophobia.  Man, this could easily turn into a manifesto.

Q: Switching gears, what do you find peaceful or soothing?  What eases your mind?

A: I wish I had an answer for you.  I would benefit from some peace.  I really enjoy watching college basketball, particularly St. John’s University.

Q: Favorite art-form? Song? Movie? Book? Comedian? Actor?


Art:            Dadaism

Song:         Age of Consent

Movie:       Raging Bull

Q: How do you feel about our social and political climate in regards to English majors? Or in regards to college and education in general?  Are they under attack?

A: Well, we could talk about that all day, so I’ll just say this: Art seems to be under attack given the present climate (see cuts to the NEA and NEH).  And, for me, that is all right.  I think that tension was what brought me to the arts.  Art, writing, etc. keeps culture honest.  When art is at its most vulnerable is when it is most powerful.

Q: “When art is at its most vulnerable is when it is most powerful.”  That’s quite a profound statement and one I’ll certainly remember. 

 Finally, any advice for current English majors?

A: Well, I am not much of an advice guy, but I would say to cast a wide net.  I went into my studies thinking that English was “X” and only “X” – but eventually learned the field is much larger than that.  Think about what you value and what moves you—how powerful this major truly is.  Hmmm – ask questions.  We are here as a department to help and support you.


Poem <3

Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 5.26.19 PMToday my LIT 132 Intro to Literary Studies class wrote a collaborative poem as a way of coping with our stress. I think it worked! Hope you enjoy it, too!


April is the cruelest month
Like wet socks on the beach.
My summer plans like work and stuff
Family health
An elephant. Big and loud and can crush you with one stomp.
Final exam review review review
Two tests that basically determine my final grade grade grade
My boyfriend is making my head spin
And not in a good way (from the woman with the concussion)
Gum on the bottom of the desk.
Volleyball just volleyball every aspect of it (we could write a whole poem about it)
An ant, small, with so many big things happening.
Time managing—familyfriendsandschool
Reading this stresses us OUT!!!!
My calc exam tonight (I’ve only been to my calc class like 5X this semester….)
I don’t have enough housing points ‘cause I’m a transfer
Getting to and from school every day. The crutches don’t help.
RA deadlines bulletin boards door decs meeting with all our residents
A tunnel that gets narrower and narrower.
My email inbox overflowing
Like Chinatown during rush hour.

Take this poem of stress
Rip it shred it crumple the pieces
Toss them in the recycle bin
They will transform
Come back
As a blank page
Full of possibility

Alum Profile: Ashley Linda

Profile by Jackie Coughlin


A Courageous Move

Ashley Linda originally graduated with a BA in Communications with an Advertising concentration and an English Writing minor from Marist College in 2009. She began her education at Pace University when she ended her career at NBC in the Integrated Marketing Company. She became inspired, excited, and eager to seek out different ways to use her brain. She made phone calls to explore different graduate programs, later connecting with the superintendent of her high school. After convincing her to choose Pace, Ashley quit her job in the city and enrolled in the program in Pleasantville. Today, Ashley is a Pace School of Education alumna and current English teacher.

New Directions

Pace’s program helped shape Ashley’s teaching philosophy. Dr. Joan Walker, Beth Kava, Mary Horgan, and Dr. Christine Clayton were women who helped to shape how she thought about the profession as a whole. Having a strong teaching philosophy and a deep rooted passion for the aspects of her job that she loved allowed her to stand up for what she believes in. Ashley became confident and passionate about working towards a common goal with colleagues, especially against tough obstacles.

An Influential Career

At the end of Ashley’s first year teaching at her current school, she was approached by two students who asked if she’d help them start a Women Empowered club at the high school: “Just the fact that they thought of me was an honor, but since then we have worked for three years and have turned the club into the most attended club at the high school.” They discuss issues of equality, welcome guest speakers, and write letters to representatives in government. Ashley has witnessed these young men and women grow and become leaders in the school. She has seen them face the backlash and bullying that comes with this responsibility and supported their efforts. She conveys that it’s been a fulfilling challenge.

“I truly believe that empathy and social justice are two things that we need in society. And nothing teaches you to be empathetic more than reading; you are literally walking in someone else’s shoes. And learning to communicate your thoughts and ideas is a power that no one can take away from you. And you can stand up for others using your voice.”

Inspiring Faces

Other than her professors, Ashley is inspired by her boyfriend: a Pace graduate and teacher for AP and Regents US History. He supports her drive in being the best educator she can be. She additionally admires the work of her Department Chair, a teacher involved at all levels of the school, and a natural leader.

Learning Inside and Outside of the Field

Ashley’s work in literacy, research, and writing changes every year based on personal learning goals and initiatives within her school. This year, she worked with her Department Chair to incorporate an Independent Reading program into curricula based on research conducted last year, mainly by Penny Kittle (Readicide) and Chris Tovani (Do I Really Have to Teach Reading?).

At the end of every year, she finds herself reflecting on ways she can improve the program for the following year. Sometimes it’s a conversation for the department; other times it’s more personal.

Ashley emphasizes her first job as a lesson for the importance of life balance. She loves getting outside, exploring, and taking her dog Penny for hikes and long walks. She advocates for exercise and visiting the gym as ways to clear the mind.

Ashley loves to read, particularly about strong women and what it means to be a woman today. She claims to be a sucker for anything 1920’s and highly recommends Live By Night by Dennis Lehane. Ashley is also currently involved volunteering with the Peekskill Democrats.

Advice for English Majors:
“An audience is always warming but it must never be necessary to your work.” —Gertrude Stein

Alum Profile: Rebecca Italiano (’16)

Profile by Maria Snelling (’20)


Becoming an Education Major at Pace

Rebecca Italiano (’16), former member of the Pace University Women’s Volleyball team, was not always encouraged to choose an Education major. Her aunts and family members who were already teachers discouraged her dream to teach because of the heavy workload and low salary. Her number one supporters were her parents who saw Rebecca as a good fit for teaching young children. Rebecca believed, “If Education really wasn’t right for me, there are still many opportunities that I could work with kids.”

Because Pace University offers many opportunities to work with children, one of the main reasons she chose Education at Pace was to be able to “impact kids directly.” In addition, Rebecca’s main reason why she chose Pace to pursue her degree in Education was the five-year combined program. Within the four years of Undergrad, Rebecca received her Bachelor’s degree and is currently completing her fifth year to receive her Master’s degree in Special Education.

Time in an ICT Classroom

 Now, Rebecca is a teacher in an Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) fifth grade classroom teaching both general education and special education children.

Teaching fifth graders with disabilities and speech and language impairment, Rebecca sees the benefits to her English courses at Pace. Although Rebecca does not have a concentration in English, she says that reading and writing are very important in the daily classroom.

Rebecca find her work inspiring: “Teaching in an underprivileged school, I can see immediately how I’m really changing these kids’ lives.” By noticing the way the children are speaking, Rebecca encourages them to speak with confidence: “I teach my kids everyday to believe in themselves. If they say ‘I can’t,’ then I make them resay everything they just said with no negativity.”

As one who balanced academics and collegiate athletics, Rebecca’s advice for Education majors is “stay ahead, always stay ahead.”

Faculty Profile: Professor deVries

Profile by Amanda Morales (’19)


Who is Professor deVries?

Prof. Victoria deVries always loved writing short stories and poetry during her grammar and high school years, so becoming an English literature major in college was no surprise. Over the years, she has written 35 interview/human-interest articles and edited more than 80 books. She likes to read fantasy and lately has been doing more non-fiction. A few of her favorite fantasy books include The Life of PiThe Last Unicorn, and Perelandra.

After earning a Master’s in English and education from the University of Virginia, Prof. de Vries taught on the high school level for four years. While she greatly enjoyed working with high school students, she has found special satisfaction teaching first-year college students.


Importance of What She Teaches

Prof. deVries says that developing one’s critical thinking skills is very important because good thinking can lead to good writing. Her hands-on experience as editorial director of a marketing company in New York City, where she worked with a wide variety of Fortune 500 clients, showed her, among other things, the importance of clear thinking and writing—something she stresses in the classroom.

Understanding writing as a process with various stages/steps is also essential. Writing, reading, and critical thinking skills are portable—students can take them anywhere they go in life.

Favorite Course To Teach

At Pace, Prof. deVries has taught English 110 and 120. While she appreciates the strengths in both courses, comparing English 110 (composition and rhetoric) and 120 (critical writing), she said,

“I think 120 is more dynamic, I think I enjoy it more. It allows students to get outside of themselves and tackle issues that are socially relevant issues and there are a variety of activities that I’ve used to enhance student learning in those areas.”

Prof. deVries has enjoyed working with all of her students. Some students show a real spark in terms of creativity, interest in writing, and desire to improve. Students who are dedicated to learning really bring out the best in her as a teacher.

Advice for Future Teachers

If you are planning to be a future teacher, Prof. deVries believes that you should know and love the subject you want to teach. Be willing to work hard, and be a people person who enjoys working with students. Encourage your students to recognize their uniqueness, and help them to enhance their skills and talents by providing a variety of engaging learning activities.

Being over-prepared with your lessons is a good idea so you can switch things around at a moment’s notice if necessary. Be flexible and ready to learn new things and instructional methods all the time.

Alumna Profile: Gianna Sandri Antolos (’09)

Profile by Queen-Nzinga Alfred (’19)


Gianna Sandri Antolos (’09)

Who is Gianna Sandri Antolos?

Gianna Sandri Antolos is an alumna of Pace University who grew up in a rural town in New Jersey. She decided to attend Pace because she wanted to be in New York but wasn’t ready to take on the big city.

Gianna came to Pace undecided, but English was her first choice, and she made her decision freshman year after loving her English courses. She worked hard in college in order to achieve her goals. While she had some obstacles finding a job, she never gave up.

She is an author for Booksforbetterliving.com and Readitforward.com and is also a freelance marketer and writer employed by Penguin Random House. She was previously a Marketing Manager for celebrity books with Crown Publishing. A year ago she gave birth to her daughter and was fortunate enough to continue working for her previous boss as a freelance marketer from home, and she also writes weekly articles for Books for Better Living.

Opportunities of an English Major

Gianna made it clear that being an English major has many opportunities if you’re willing to work hard and seek them out.  She told me,

“The doors will only open if you pry them open and demand to be looked at for positions that you wouldn’t normally think you’d fit the bill for.”

Gianna applied everywhere she could for an internship to gain in-office experience before she graduated. Due to her determination, she received many internships with different companies such as a Sales Intern at Pearson, a PR Intern for Viacom’s channel LOGO, and a casting internship at ABC’s One Life to Live. These internships would open many more doors for her in the future. Because they were so different she learned many different applicable skills from each one.

Being an English major is important because companies want employees who can communicate well and edit carefully.

“Being an English major makes you desirable because you have fundamental skills that many lack. Put the management major and the English major side by side in an entry-level job interview at advertising agency and I guarantee you the English major has a leg up.”

After Graduation

While attending Pace University, Gianna Sandri Antolos received many awards such as the Jean Bueti Award for Academic and Extra Curricular Excellence and the Career Services Experiential Award. She was also Vice President of Programming and Administration for the Student Government while at Pace.

Although she had a job prospect upon graduation, she learned a very difficult lesson regarding the corporate world from the beginning, and she lost her job offer due to the ill advice of a mentor. While she had landed a Marketing Assistant position at Pearson, she received the ill advice of a previously respected Vice President who told her to interview for a higher level job she knew she didn’t have the experience for. Needless to say, she did not get the higher-level job despite the promises of the Vice President, and she also lost her opportunity as a Marketing Assistant. Upset, but determined, Gianna applied everywhere and decided that the best decision at that time was to go back to school and get her Master’s in English Literature at Centenary University, where she earned her degree for free while she worked as a Resident Director on campus. While she had a bad experience with one individual, she kept in touch with the wonderful people she met at Pearson through her internship. Keeping in touch with them paid off, because after receiving her Master’s degree, they asked her if she would like to interview for a job in the Marketing department again. She did, and became a Marketing Assistant for Business and Communications textbooks at Pearson Education.

After working at Pearson for nearly two years, an HR rep from Random House found Gianna on LinkedIn and asked if she’d like to interview for a position as Marketing Associate for the business division of Crown Publishing. This position opened more doors for her, when she was reassigned from business books to celebrity books, and began working on the marketing plans for numerous memoirs and nonfiction books. Some of the most notable books she worked on are Brunette Ambition by Lea Michele, Neil Patrick Harris’ Autobiography, Billy Joel, Gotta Give the People What They Want by Jalen Rose, and books by Mindy Kaling. After about two years she was promoted to Associate Marketing Manager.

While working at Penguin Random House, Gianna began writing for Read It Forward, and published an article about her favorite childhood author Sharon Creech and her book Walk Two Moons. Sharon Creech actually read Gianna’s article, responded to it, and sent her a signed copy of the book.

Greatest Influence

Gianna’s mentor was Dr. Rebecca Martin, who gave Gianna both support and motivation. Gianna said,

“She really gave me the confidence I needed to stick to my guns and follow through with what I wanted, not what was easy to settle for.”

This is the drive that forced her to keep apply for internships and jobs even when it felt like nothing was going to progress for her.

More Words of Advice from Gianna Sandri Antolos

“You have to recognize where your talents are, then what makes you happy. When you figure out what you excel at and what gives you joy, you’ve found your passion.”


“Your passion is whatever you naturally gravitate towards, whether you realize it or not- you don’t choose it—it chooses you.”


“At any moment, you may run into someone who could become a vital connection in your career advancement. I got my internship at Pearson because I met the VP on a trip in Florida and struck up a friendly conversation. So be kind to everyone you meet.”




Alumni Profile: Amanda Cody (’09)


Assistant Director of Communications for Portsmouth Abbey School

Profile by Jessica Henderson

Present Day Amanda

Amanda Cody graduated from Pace University with an English Degree in 2009 and moved on to grad school while still moving forward in her professional life. By learning to apply the writing and critical thinking skills she developed in school, Amanda began to pave her career path as a Marketing Communications Manager for the Sports Foundation at Brown University.

At Brown, she continued to apply her knowledge by communicating  with coaches, parents, and alumni; writing direct mail pieces; and featuring student athletes on the Brown University Athletics website.

Even today, in her brand-new job as the Assistant Director of Communications for Portsmouth Abbey School, she continues to apply the skills she learned at Pace and the ones she gained while working at Brown.

Discovering Her Major

Although Amanda was always interested in the humanities, it first led her to Pace as a double major in History and Political Science. The idea was short-lived and eventually led her to consider Education, where she realized that English would be the subject she would most want to teach. Yet again, she felt like Education was not for her and finally committed to becoming an English major.

Despite her love for reading and desire to pursue in the arts, she faced several concerns and discouragements from those close to her for choosing to major in English. They felt that English wouldn’t lead her to a successful, well-paying job. That English is only beneficial as a minor because other skills are more important than knowing how to write.

Amanda continued her journey in English, though, reflecting on the achievements of her professors at Pace had and discovering the wide range of opportunities that English majors are exposed to.

Branching Out and Growing Connections

What initially attracted Amanda to Pace University was the small classroom sizes, for she knew that she wouldn’t be able to sit in a lecture hall and simply copy notes. And although she wasn’t an involved student at first, the size of the classes forced her to interact with her peers and professors.

Little did she know at the time that her experience at Pace would leave her with connections with people that will last a lifetime. The relationships that she formed with her professors helped her with early drafts of her short story and led her to achieve her greatest accomplishment of publishing a book shortly after she graduated.

Even today, she is still in contact with her closest professors and considers them her friends that she can go to for advice.

College Experience: There’s More to It than You Think

Amanda came into college with the mindset that she was only supposed to engage in the things she was supposed to do and what was expected of her.

She quickly realized that college is more than that, though. It is a time to figure out what it is you want to do and a chance to find yourself.

If there is one thing that Amanda learned during her time at college that is more important than the others, it would be to branch out and expose yourself to new things, whether it is within your major or not. Even if you don’t think you will like it, according to Amanda, those are the moments that you will most likely learn the most from and help you with your career path.

Today, she continues to follow these motifs by staying active with her new dog after long hours at work. And now with her new job opportunity and short story project underway, she hopes to buy a house, settle down in Rhode Island, and see where her career takes her.

Bookmaking Workshop

Reflection by Jaquay Dee-Hardmon

I attended a bookmaking workshop this past Thursday on Pace’s campus, and the instructor made it clear that trash can be valuable.

At first, I thought,

What is the use of things that have already been thrown away?
And what does this have to do with bookmaking?

She went on to say the books she makes are hand made. Things that are made by hand can be worth so much more. All the materials we used were things she picked up from the street and recycled resources. The materials consisted of cardboard, buttons, ribbons, stickers, recycled paper, crayons, glue sticks, magazines, scissors, little trinkets, rubber bands, fake plants, yard and beads. We then were instructed to pick out things that we wanted to be a part of our book. The purpose was to think about what we wanted our book to portray.

With the recycled paper, we had to cut out words that stood out most to us. I cut out words like family, poetry, and excellence. These words pertain to my life. I try to strive for excellence with the support of my family and the use of words are important to me because I write poetry. I used yarn, stickers, dried plants and pictures. My objective was to have my book represent who I am as a person.

As we were working we had a time limit on each part of the book we were working. The purpose behind this was not to spend too much time dwelling on decisions which would consist of taking too much time on one thing.

This whole experience helped see things differently as far as bookmaking in general. My expectations with this experience was to put together a hard a cover with pages to go inside. I was expecting my book to look as standard as they come.

However, I was impressed at what I came up with in a short period of time. This workshop brought out my creative side, and allowed me to see a book can be however you want it to be.

This experience helped me step away from thinking about stressful things that come with being in school and enjoy creating. I can honestly say this experience calmed me down and put me in a good mood. It was suggested that it makes someone feel good knowing that you made something for them. However, it feels even better when you make something for yourself.

Student Research? Yes, Please.

Every year, the Society of Fellows of Dyson College holds a a research conference. This year, it was held on Saturday, March 4, on Pace University’s New York City campus.

Dr. Bette Kirschstein said the day was “terrific,” and she was especially impressed with “Taylor Longenberger’s presentation on her work with Chemistry professor Joe Krumpfer on silicone paints.” Dr. Kirschstein said Taylor “presented a ground-breaking scientific and artistic development” with poise and confidence.


Ms. Taylor Longenberger with Dr. Joseph Krumpfer

Other notable parts of the day included a presentation on Toni Morrison’s Beloved by Sania Azhar and a student/faculty panel led by Dr. Robert Mundy of the English Department and Dr. Michael Finewood of Environmental Studies and Science. This latter panel considered identity, place, and the environment, with students presenting on ideas such as ecocomposition and green gentrification.

Some of these finer moments were shared on the twittersphere.



Hope to see you at next year’s meeting, and remember to consider participating in the weekend seminar as well, coming in fall 2017!



Success? This Way –>

Career Night featured three alumni and a Pace employee. Highlights from their panel talks will be shared in the future. For now, check out what they had to say at the end of the event when asked,

If you were to give one piece of advice to English majors today, what would it be?

Thanks to:

Amanda Cody, BA in English Literature, Pace University, 2009
Assistant Director of Communications for Portsmouth Abbey School

Beth Gordon, BA in Literature, Binghamton University
Associate Vice President for ITS, Pace University

Kathryn Bohan Hurd, BA in Literature and Communications, Pace University, 2001
Senior Instructional Designer at SUNY New Paltz’s Teaching & Learning Center

Gianna Sandri Antolos, BA in English and Writing, Pace University, 2009
Penguin Random House freelancer, marketing and web writing