Joy Castro Granted Tenure; Wins Research Awardby Jim Amidon • December 25, 2002
English professor Joy Castro teaching in the 2000 spring semester
Castro, an award-winning and widely published author, earned her bachelor’s degree cum laude from Trinity University and her master’s and Ph.D. from Texas A&M University.
Since her arrival on campus in the fall of 1997 as a Byron K. Trippet Assistant Professor of English, Castro has served on a range of College committees, and was actively involved in the strategic planning process. She serves as chair of the Faculty Development Committee, and is a member of the Gender Issues, Fine Arts Fellowship, and Visiting Artists Series Planning committees. Castro is the Wabash liaison to the GLCA Women’s Studies Program, and has been involved in the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts.
“Joy is not only an excellent teacher, but she is constantly looking for ways to improve,” said Dean Ditzler. “Every semester she tries something new in her courses in an effort to improve her teaching, and she is active in sharing those ideas with her colleagues.”
Castro has worked diligently to nurture student writing, and has been the advisor to the Wabash Review, as well as a frequent advisor and contributor to Wabash Magazine. She also has worked as a volunteer at the Montgomery County Family Crisis Shelter.
Castro will be on sabbatical during the 2003-04 school year, and has been honored as the McLain-McTurnan-Arnold Research Scholar for the spring semester. Castro is the 24th MMA Research Scholar since the program was established to allow faculty to conduct original creative and investigative research to enhance classroom teaching and learning. Castro will use her research sabbatical to complete a book-length manuscript on Modernism, Feminism, and the Work of Margery Latimer for University Press of Florida.
“The book is a feminist recovery project,” says Castro, who will use elements of her dissertation on the American modernist writer, along with papers she has presented on Latimer and archival research conducted at Yale and Wisconsin. “This project restores to critical view the reputation of a groundbreaking innovator of modernist fiction whose work was originally published alongside that of Hemingway, Joyce, and Faulkner…but whose reputation eroded after her early death in childbirth in 1932.”
Castro’s dissertation on Margery Latimer proved to be historically important work in that it brought to attention the literary production of a popular American modernist writer of the 1920s and 1930s. Since that time, Castro has presented a large number of conference papers on Latimer and her husband, the Harlem Renaissance writer Jean Toomer.
Professor of Chemistry Richard Dallinger chaired the MMA Research Scholar selection committee. “It is a very difficult task each year for the committee to select one award recipient from among the many outstanding proposals,” he said. “The committee members are thrilled to honor Joy Castro as this year’s McLain-McTurnan-Arnold Research Scholar. She is a top-notch scholar, and her manuscript on the life and works of Margery Latimer will be an important contribution to the field of modernist literature.”
Castro has earned a number of awards for her teaching and scholarship. She won the McDonald Award for Teaching Excellence at Texas A&M; the Charles Gordone Creative Writing Award for Poetry; the American Business Women’s Association Graduate Scholarship; the Staley Creswell Award for Outstanding Teaching; and the Women’s Faculty Network Graduate Scholarship.
Castro’s short fiction and essays have appeared in North American Review, Mid-American Review, Puerto del Sol, Quarterly West, Wabash Magazine, Indianapolis Monthly, and Works and Days, the newsletter of the Wabash College English Department. Her research on Margery Latimer appears in the American National Biography and the Review of Contemporary Fiction.
“I am constantly inspired when reading her creative works,” added Ditzler. “Joy’s characters so accurately depict the lives of people who struggle in our society that many of us who read her work become inspired. We become inspired to work harder at the educational enterprise in an effort to build a stronger society in which to live.”