Adison Godfrey

Graduate Assistant

 


Adison Godfrey is a graduate assistant at WPSU-FM. She serves as the associate producer of WPSU’s radio series This I Believe and BookMark.

Adison graduated from Penn State in May 2016 with a B.A. in English and a B.A. in Spanish. After graduation, she taught English at a public university in Latacunga, Ecuador, through a Fulbright grant.

Adison is now back at Penn State pursuing her M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction. In addition to working at WPSU, she teaches College Preparatory English 11 and Creative Writing at State College Area High School.

 

I’ve been waiting anxiously to get my hands on a copy of the graphic memoir “Good Talk” by Mira Jacob. After reading a preview of the book, I was hooked—and when it finally arrived at my door, I read it in less than 24 hours.

The book centers around questions Jacob’s son, Z, asks about his biracial identity. Jacob is east Indian, and her husband is Jewish. “Good Talk” opens with conversations Jacob had with 6-year-old Z after he became obsessed with Michael Jackson.

“Was Michael Jackson brown or was he white?”

Shidan Majidi directed and co-produced the documentary “Me, the ‘Other,’” which has won numerous awards. The film addresses issues of hatred and prejudice, telling the stories of twelve individuals from diverse backgrounds attending colleges and universities in Michigan.

We talked with Majidi about his documentary, how to overcome prejudice and what it means to be the “other.”

 

In an interview, Ingrid Rojas Contreras said of her debut novel, “I hope to complicate our understanding of the inheritance of violence and how this affects women and girls living in it or surrounded by it.” If that was the goal, Rojas Contreras surpassed it.

Her book, “Fruit of the Drunken Tree,” begins with a photograph 15-year-old Chula Santiago receives in the mail that troubles her. The photo is of Petrona, a young woman who had been a maid in her family’s household before they were forced to flee Colombia.

Bryan Stevenson is a renowned lawyer and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit organization that “is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.” The Equal Justice Initiative represents prisoners who may have been wrongly convicted, unfairly sentenced or otherwise mistreated by our criminal justice system.

Powell Watts described her novel as "'The Great Gatsby' set in rural North Carolina, nine decades later, with desperate black people." Stephanie Powell Watts is a writer and associate professor of English at Lehigh University. Her debut novel, "No One Is Coming to Save Us," won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work and was the inaugural selection by Sarah Jessica Parker for the American Library Association's Book Club Central.

We talked with Powell Watts about representation in literature and how her debut novel draws on F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby."

Maria Hummel’s “Still Lives” is one of the smartest thrillers I’ve read in a long time.

In the book, Maggie Richter is an editor at the Roque, a museum in L.A. that is busy preparing for the opening night of artist Kim Lord’s exhibition, “Still Lives.” Each painting in “Still Lives” is a depiction of the artist as a famously murdered woman: Nicole Brown Simpson, “the Black Dahlia,” Kitty Genovese... The show is intended to serve as “an indictment of our culture’s obsession with sensationalized female murders.”

Erin Murphy.
Erin Murphy

Erin Murphy, an English professor at Penn State Altoona, won the Brick Road Poetry Prize for her most recent poetry collection, “Assisted Living.” The poems in this collection explore the aging and caretaking processes, as well as what “assisted living” looks like throughout the lifespan.

WPSU’s Adison Godfrey talked with Murphy about the book.

Wideline Seraphin and Ana Díaz.
Jim Carlson / Penn State College of Education

 

 

Since 2014, Wideline Seraphin and Ana Díaz have been collecting narratives from members of marginalized communities about their experiences living in State College and Centre County. A few of these stories will be featured in the mini-documentary “Schooling Narratives,” which focuses on the experiences of three families in the State College Area School District.

Seraphin said the student narratives have been used at the State College Area High School to rethink inclusion in a classroom space.

The Rowland Theatre in Philipsburg.
Adison Godfrey / WPSU

 

The first Veritas Film Festival continues through Thursday at the Rowland Theatre in Philipsburg and the Ritz Theater in Clearfield.

Hollywood filmmaker Spencer Folmar grew up in the Philipsburg area. He returned to his hometown this week to bring the Veritas Film Festival to the community. Over the course of the past week, Veritas has screened a variety of films that Folmar said all share a common thread.

 

 

I read “Beartown” by Fredrik Backman for the first time in the summer of 2017, and I re-read the book this past summer because the sequel was released in July. Both times, I was struck by the language, the characters and the story.

 

In a meeting room at the Unity Church in State College, a group of women gathered to rehearse the songs they’ll perform live on Friday night. These five women will use jazz, soul, R&B and hip-hop music to share their experiences as black women, sing through trauma, heal and have fun.

The idea behind Soul Space is to create a safe space for black women, by black women to tell their stories. Wideline Seraphin, one of the event organizers and performers, said in State College few of these spaces exist.

Abdalaziz “Aziz” Alhamza is the co-founder and spokesperson for Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, a group of civilian journalists who worked to expose the crimes of ISIS in Raqqa, Syria.

We talked with Aziz about how life in Raqqa changed when ISIS came to power, why he continued this work despite increasing danger and what life is like in Raqqa today.

 

Best-selling author Mohsin Hamid spoke at Penn State Altoona on Tuesday as part of their Distinguished Speaker Series. His most recent novel, “Exit West,” was selected as Penn State Altoona’s Common Read for this year.

“Exit West” tells the story of two refugees, Nadia and Saeed, who flee a nameless country on the brink of civil war. During his keynote address, Hamid talked about the connection he sees between migrating and growing old. He tried to focus on this commonality in the novel, rather than on the ways refugees are different.

Monday about 30 men and women gathered outside Penn State’s Allen Street Gates in State College to show solidarity with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Rally participants chanted and took turns brandishing a megaphone to share their own stories.

Justine Andronici, a lawyer who works with victims of sexual assault, spoke about being drugged and raped when she was in college. Like Ford, she chose not to report. She believes Ford’s allegations against Brett Kavanaugh.

The cast of "Results Will Vary*" during a summer preview performance in Eisenhower Auditorium.
Patrick Mansell / Penn State

Penn State students are back at the University Park campus. Last week, nearly 300 freshmen attended “Results Will Vary*,” a theatre performance that put a new spin on student orientation. The show explored issues students might face and resources the university has to support them.

When I first saw PBS’s list of 100 books vying for the title “Great American Read,” I wasn’t sure which one I would vote for. There were so many books I loved on that list; I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pick just one. Little did I know I’d end up voting for a book I hadn’t read yet.

Tomi Adeyemi has been hailed the next J.K. Rowling. She’s the author of the best-selling young adult fantasy “Children of Blood and Bone.” I’m all for the comparison if it encourages people to read the 24-year-old’s gripping debut novel, but I actually think it deserves to stand on its own. I devoured this book.

As Alyce Ritti sat in the recliner in her bedroom, Camille-Yvette Welsch shared a poem she wrote inspired by Ritti’s life (see poem below).

Welsch met Ritti 15 years earlier, when she was writing an article about Ritti’s art. Poems from Life brought them back together.

“Oh, I have tears of joy,” Ritti cried after hearing Welsch’s poem.

Welsch laughed. “I’m glad. I’m glad.”

 

There are some books I read and don’t think about much afterwards. They just don’t leave a lasting impact.

But “Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid stayed with me.

Lisa Ko, author of "The Leavers."
Lisa Ko

Author Lisa Ko's debut novel, "The Leavers," won the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction and was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award. The novel explores issues relating to immigration and identity after Polly Guo, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, goes to work one morning and never returns home. Her 11-year-old son, Deming, is placed in foster care and eventually adopted by a white family that changes his name to Daniel.

Twenty years ago, Penn State professor Michael Bérubé wrote a book about raising his young son Jamie, who has Down syndrome. Jamie is now 26 years old. Michael has written a follow-up book, “Life as Jamie Knows It: An Exceptional Child Grows Up,” which explores Jamie’s growing independence, his difficulty finding a fulfilling job, and more. WPSU’s Adison Godfrey talked with Michael and Jamie about the book.

I tend to gravitate toward books by authors I’ve read before. But after seeing Emily St. John Mandel’s “Station Eleven” hailed a must-read multiple times, I decided to go out on a limb.

I’m so glad I did.

Cheryl Bazzoui is a writer from Bradford and a frequent reviewer for WPSU’s BookMark. She recently released the novel “Pressure Cooker Christmas” under her pen name, Ann McCauley. WPSU’s Adison Godfrey talked with Bazzoui about her writing.

A portrait of a refugee child, Hanna, is on display in the window of the Corner Room in downtown State College.
Min Xian / WPSU

 

State College resident Penny Eifrig spends part of each year living in Berlin, Germany. As Berlin accepted refugees in 2015, Eifrig got involved in the cause. Her involvement led to the photo series “They Have Names,” which has been on display in downtown State College since Nov. 3. WPSU graduate assistant Adison Godfrey talked with Eifrig about the photo exhibit and her work with refugees.

Adison Godfrey: Thanks for talking with me.

Celeste Ng’s latest novel, “Little Fires Everywhere,” revolves around a central question: what makes a person a mother?

Russell Frank is a professor of journalism at Penn State, a contributor to StateCollege.com and a former columnist for the “Centre Daily Times.” He has compiled a selection of his columns from the past 20 years into a book, “Among the Woo People,” which comes out on Sunday. WPSU’s Adison Godfrey talked with Russell Frank about his book.

AG: Thanks for joining me.

RF: My pleasure.

Dr. Jill Biden speaks at podium.
Stuart Ramson / AP Images for UN Foundation

 

Many know Dr. Jill Biden as the former Second Lady of the United States. But during Biden’s talk last night at Penn State, she gave the audience a glimpse into her personal life.

Biden shared struggles like losing her son to brain cancer and a friend to breast cancer.

Nancy Chiswick says she was inspired by Biden’s stories.