Mindy Buchanan-King Receives Outstanding Graduate Student Award

Posted by Monica Hoel
Mindy finished her M.A. in English in December, 2019.

Mindy Buchanan-King (E&H 2001) has just completed her M.A. in English at the College of Charleston (run jointly with The Citadel). And her research is getting a lot of attention. “I had the opportunity to see my research into Joan Crawford and the aging female image and sexuality in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? published in The Quarterly Review of Film and Video; I also presented research about female disability and sympathy in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton at the Victorians Institute and the consequences of “womanly” duties in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wall-Paper and Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw at the Philological Association of the Carolinas. This June, I will have the honor of presenting an abbreviated version of my master’s thesis about Edith Wharton’s use of Romanticism in her 1929 Hudson River Bracketed during Edith Wharton’s New York: Conference in Manhattan.” Mindy received an Outstanding Graduate Student Award.

Mindy’s master’s work led to a rediscovery, of sorts, of Edith Wharton. Even though her first encounter with Wharton was less than exciting (“I read Ethan Frome and vowed never to read another work by Wharton.”), she later was assigned The House of Mirth and found herself in awe. Much of her graduate work focused on one of Wharton’s lesser-known works, Hudson River Bracketed, that is now getting attention; she wanted to be part of that scholarly discussion.

She says one of the greatest thrills of her research was reviewing primary source materials from Edith Wharton’s work. “The thesis afforded me an opportunity I will never forget: the chance to do archival research at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, which houses the Edith Wharton Collection. To see in person Wharton’s handwritten notes and her manuscripts for Bracketed and its unpublished predecessor, ‘Literature,’ was to truly realize the importance of doing such original research.”

Mindy graduated from Emory & Henry with a degree in Mass Communications, and her first job was working for Emory & Henry as the coordinator of summer programs. An E&H legacy student (her grandfather was Richard “Shrimp” Buchanan, class of 1960, and her dad is Rick Buchanan class of 1977), Mindy says Emory & Henry taught her the value of a liberal arts focus in all arenas. “My experience at the college as both a student and an employee taught me how to think critically and how to use one’s voice academically. Thanks to this background, I see the necessity of integrating liberal arts studies into STEM-oriented focus areas as a more productive way of considering and analyzing social issues and hope to promote such integration in my own future endeavors.”

Mindy is part of the team at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, where she provides technical editing and writing support on projects ranging from large-scale proposals to reports and journal articles. She has also co-authored journal articles related to distracted driving on both cognitive and visual-manual levels and she is currently working on an article about the possibilities of vehicle automation relative to disabled persons. 

She says she doesn’t like to speculate too much about long-term plans, but she is applying to Ph.D. programs in English and may consider teaching and university research in the future.

  • Mindy Buchanan-King (E&H '01) and husband John King.
“To see in person Wharton’s handwritten notes and her manuscripts for Bracketed and its unpublished predecessor, ‘Literature,’ was to truly realize the importance of doing such original research.”
Mindy Buchanan-King
E&H Class of 2001

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