Class of 2002
- Bachelor of Arts in English from Penn State Altoona
- Master of Arts in English from Southern New Hampshire University
What do you currently do professionally?
I teach 10th grade English at a collegiate high school at the State College of Florida, where I also work as an adjunct, teaching developmental writing and composition.
Your Experience as an English Major
How has majoring in English helped you on your career pathway(s)?
Majoring in English set me directly on my life path. I have spent most of my life discussing literature and helping others improve their writing.
What knowledge and skills help you succeed in your job on a daily basis (and, possibly, in unanticipated ways)?
One specific class that I'm always grateful I took is ENGL 417 (Editorial Process). It made me confident in my ability to edit my own writing and that of others, and it gave me the ability to explain to my students why a particular comma does or does not belong in a particular place.
In what (unanticipated) ways has the English major impacted your life beyond your profession?
My favorite unanticipated benefit of majoring in English at Penn State Altoona is that I met my husband of twenty years there. We were married in the Edith Davis Eve chapel, and we have spent the past two decades having the same kind of engaging discussions we did as undergraduates hanging out in Slep.
What is your favorite experience from your time in the English program?
It's difficult to point to just one experience, but my favorite thing about my time at PSU Altoona is that my professors were all so welcoming to undergraduate students and gave us glimpses of life in academia. I came from a working-class background, and professors like Dr. Lovely, who gave us honest insights into the struggles of an academic life, and Dr. Liszka, who brought a group of undergrads to an academic conference, made graduate school seem like an achievable goal to someone whose parents weren't (yet) college graduates.
What advice do you have for current English majors or students considering entry into the field in which you’re currently working?
Teaching in the humanities in the state of Florida, where I'm currently living, means facing adversity. Even at the college level, academic freedoms are being challenged. That said, teaching English continues to bring me joy and the satisfaction of helping young people learn more about themselves, the world, and how they can improve both.
Is there anything else you would like current Penn State Altoona students (of all majors) to know?
I hope your time at Penn State Altoona is as meaningful and joyful as mine was. They may feel like the best years of your life, but if you continue on a path of lifelong learning and growth, the best years are yet to come!