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Dr. Sandra Hiortdahl

Class of 1985
Major/Minor: English

The 1985 Sophie Kerr Prize Winner


I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember because it helps me to figure out how the world works and also allows me to reorder the world when I don’t appreciate how it works. Great writers from the past have changed my life with their images and characters and worlds-come-to-life, particularly the late John Gardner. I’ve won several awards for my writing, including Washington College’s Sophie Kerr Prize and the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the novel (Maryland). For the foreseeable future, I’m teaching English at Northeast State Community College in East Tennessee.


2008    Ph.D. in English
            The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
            Dissertation: “John Gardner’s Grendel: Reinventing Beowulf” passed with distinction 

2000    MA in English
            University of Maryland, College Park, MD.
            Thesis: “James Joyce’s Exiles, The Influence of Ibsen”

1991    MFA in Creative Writing
            George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.
            Thesis: In Certain Seasons, a novel

1985    BA in English, with honors
            Washington College, Chestertown, MD.


Teaching Awards

2008 Digital Innovator Award, for Support of Digital Media Literacy, Washington College

2006 Teacher of the Month, Alpha Kappa Gamma, The Catholic University of America

2002 Evaluative Ranking, Distinguished Member of the Faculty, West Chester University

2000 Distinguished Adjunct Faculty Member of the Year, University of Delaware

Curriculum Vitae



Cultural Dissonance and Norfolk - The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review

Enraptured in East Tennessee - Punchnel’s