English Major Set to Pursue PhD at Rutgers

Alexis Haynie, a graduate of the York College, CUNY Class of 2016, was an excellent student throughout her college career; and her diligence has paid off with a graduate fellowship.

Haynie was admitted with full funding to three prestigious Ph.D. programs in literature -- respectively at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, University of Texas, Austin, and Rutgers University.  She accepted Rutgers’ "Excellence Fellowship," and will attend there. The fellowship, which is approximately $30,000 per year plus tuition for six years, was more competitive than the other two institutions’ offers.

“The Rutgers package offers more support with my faculty and more in my area of Black Literature of the late nineteenth century/early twentieth century,” said Haynie, a native of Arlington, Texas. She came to New York for College.

She is no stranger to Rutgers University, nor to hard work for that matter. Haynie was a fellow at the Rutgers English Diversity Institute (REDI) in the summer of 2015; and a fellow at the CUNY Pipeline to the Ph.D., a month-long summer research program.

“These are both highly competitive fellowships, which include thousands of dollars in award stipends,” said Haynie’s York mentor, Dr. Mychel Namphy, whose expertise includes African-American Literature, Native-American Literature and Autobiography.

But Haynie’s journey to doctoral program acceptance in English Literature was somewhat circuitous. It includes a one-year sabbatical from her undergraduate studies to decide her future.

 “I was hoping [to major in] in Journalism, but ended up in Education,” said Haynie, a dynamic young woman with a ready smile. “I decided to take a break to figure out what I wanted to do.  I didn’t even know what a Ph.D. in English could do. But I realized that the kind of teaching I wanted to do was college-level.”

She also sought from many other faculty members in the English department, including Professors Patricia Milanes, Kelly Josephs, who earned her PhD at Rutgers; and Shereen Inayatulla. The young scholar engaged in many facets of college life, including acting. She appeared in two of York’s recent productions, “Live, Laugh, Love Cry, the Poetry of LindamichelleBaron;” and “Twilight, LA.”

Asked how she thinks Haynie will do in her program, Dr. Heather Robinson, new chair of the English department, was enthusiastic about her former student’s prowess in the discipline.

“The English Department is delighted for Alexis,” said Robinson. “Her acceptance, with fellowships, to three PhD programs speaks to the intelligence, curiosity and determined pursuit of deeper understanding that many of our faculty have seen in the classroom and at departmental events here at York.”

“I’m sure Alexis will thrive at Rutgers, and make important contributions to the graduate program there,” Dr. Robinson added.

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