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Elizabeth Cullingford, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

English students Maggie Gunn and Travis Alexander named Dean's Distinguished Graduates

Posted: April 8, 2013
Maggie Gunn and Travis Alexander

Maggie Gunn and Travis Alexander

The Department of English congratulates Travis Alexander and Maggie Gunn, the 2013 Department of English Dean’s Distinguished Graduates. 

Every year the College of Liberal Arts names twelve Dean’s Distinguished Graduates on the basis of high scholarly achievements, leadership, and service to the college and university community. The Dean’s Distinguished Graduate program has yielded over 370 alumni. Often honors students, those who have undertaken extensive undergraduate research projects, or those who have held active leadership positions, the recipients represent the highest standard for academics and service in the College of Liberal Arts.

About Maggie Gunn

Towards the goal of becoming a secondary English teacher, Maggie Gunn studied in the Plan II, English Honors, and UTeach Liberal Arts programs. Since discovering her calling to teach language arts in high-needs schools, she has dedicated her academic and extracurricular time to researching and addressing educational inequity. She has been privileged to learn from and work with KIPP Austin Charter Schools, Breakthrough Austin, and Connally High School. On campus, she has worked as a Resident Assistant in Jester West Dormitory and as a teaching assistant for Lee Walker’s freshman seminar, Pathways to Civic Engagement. Her research culminated in a thesis paper on teaching racially sensitive material in secondary schools, via a case study on Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. She is the proud older sister of two younger Longhorns and a proud member of the Orange Jackets and the Friar Society. 

About Travis Alexander

Travis Alexander began his studies at UT as a Plan II major. In his first semester, Travis' interest in the music industry led him to the University Unions' Music and Entertainment Committee, which he chaired during his junior year. During this time, Travis also served for two years on the executive cabinet of the Plan II Students' Association. In his junior year, Travis entered the English Honors program and published his article, "Vulgar Display of Rebellion: Analyzing Confederate Memorialization through 'Dimeabg' Darrel's Guitar in the 1990s," in UT's Undergraduate Research Journal. This piece was ultimately selected as the year's best submission. In the fall of 2011, Travis was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honors society. The following summer, he attended an American Literature conference in San Francisco and interned at Century Media Records in Los Angeles. While in California, Travis spent time meeting and interviewing friends and contemporaries of the American writer Charles Bukowski (1920 - 1994)--the writer whose work provides the subject of his senior thesis entitled "Under the Influence: Class Fictions, Neonaturalism, and the Grotesque in Charles Bukowski's Ham on Rye." While writing his thesis, Travis has participated in the Junior Fellows Program. He is the recipient of an Unrestricted Endowed Presidential Scholarship and Endowed Scholarships in the Department of English and Plan II. Additionally, Travis has received research grants from the Department of English, Plan II, the Junior Fellows Program, and the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Consortium. 
 
After finishing his thesis, Travis hopes to complete a Ph.D. and become a professor of American Literature. In preparation for these studies, Travis has audited two graduate seminars this year: Modernism and its Discontents and Psychoanalysis in Colonialism.
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