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English program chair receives Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities award

English program chair

June Saraceno, English program chair, honored for dedication

June Saraceno has been given many high honors for her accomplishments at Sierra Nevada College, including awards and being accepted into a residency program for the summer. She is known for organizing the Writers in the Woods series, a program that opened SNC to visiting writers like Chris Ware and Brenda Hillman.

With the support of staff and alumni, Saraceno received the Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Awards on March 28 from the Nevada Humanities, an association that recognizes individuals who engage Nevadans in the humanities.
“I am thrilled, absolutely thrilled to be the recipient of that award. I can’t emphasize this enough. The people who wrote letters in support of this, their letters made me cry like a baby,” said Saraceno.

She had supportive letters sent to Nevada Humanities from SNC alumni Kai Bekkeli, English Professor Jared Stanley, Library Director Betts Markle and Graduate Admissions Counselor Laura Wetherington, who all praised her approach to education and the Writers in the Woods series.

Accomplishments and Accolades

“Then as now, Saraceno functions in a role that far exceeds the job title “English program chair,” her expertise and responsibilities covering the whole spectrum of teaching, community outreach, program development and mentorship activities,” said Bekkeli in his letter.

Backed by letters from poets Patricia Smith and Brian Turner, Saraceno received a letter of acceptance on Feb. 14 to join a month long Camac residency program in France during this upcoming summer. The Camac program allows artists from all over the world to come together and create art. When she was accepted to Camac, she ceased working on applications to residencies in Vermont and Virginia.

During the stay, Saraceno will be working on manuscripts of poetry and short fiction that may turn into a novel. Saraceno’s first experience with France was as a college student, working as an au pair. With excitement, she said she tries to visit France any chance she gets.

Though Saraceno has received many accolades, she believes that she hasn’t yet filled her full potential of being a writer. With only one book in publication, she believes the residency will help add to her work. Students like Senior Courtney Berti appreciate Saraceno’s work ethic.

“Someone told me to contact June during her sabbatical, and even though she was (busy) she got back to me,” said Berti. “She landed me an internship in my hometown, and just helped me figure out that everything I’m doing is worth something in the long run.”

Saraceno also won first place in the Creative Brew Writing Competition winning $300 in prizes, with the poems being published in the recent issue of Moonshine Ink newspaper. She attributes her overall success to SNC, saying they opened the doors to allow her to be creative, giving her the time and support to accomplish many things.

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