How did you choose your major?
My ninth grade English teacher once told me that we each leave a fingerprint on everyone we meet. They are supposed to gain or feel something from you being in their life. By becoming a secondary education teacher, I aspire to be a revolutionary and make a difference. Pursuing an English degree was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am using what I learned in the classroom to refine my skills as an academic while having the support from my peers and the institution. Literature can reveal who I am and how I fit into this world. I knew immediately that I wanted to pursue my passion so that I can share it with others and leave my fingerprint.
How would you explain your major to a new WVU student? What advice would you give them?
Within the English major you have three options in terms of area of emphasis: literary and cultural studies (my path), professional writing and editing, or creative writing. Each path has different requirements in terms of what classes you need to take. Since my area of emphasis is in literary and cultural studies, I study literature from different time periods and countries to understand what it reveals about a particular society and how it shifts in different contexts. By pursuing English, I have learned a lot about myself through literature. My advice for an incoming English major would be to always dive deeper into the text, always ask why an author does something and never stop reading!
How has your major prepared you for your future career?
In the future I plan on becoming a high school English teacher. Majoring in English has allowed me to develop a critical lens to analyze literature that has enabled me to bring my study of literature beyond the classroom. My English background will serve me well when I become a teacher due to my strong educational foundation and allow me to bring literature to life in my classroom!
How have you changed since your first year at WVU?
Like many who step foot on campus, the transition from high school to college can sometimes be difficult. As a timid freshman unsure of their footing in a college setting, something that brought me solace was making sure I stayed true to myself. By sticking to that mantra, I have been able to pursue paths and opportunities that have shaped my undergraduate experience. Now, I am more resilient in my ability to weather the unpredictable while staying true to myself.
What has been your most memorable moment at WVU so far?
For a long time, I have dreamed about what kind of teacher I would be and what my classroom would look like. Due to the nature of my major, I do not have conventional student teaching hours, but I have found a way to make my own classroom during my undergraduate career. To do that, I serve as a peer mentor for the Honors College’s 298O orientation course and as a teaching assistant for the Honors 402 class, Foundations in Peer Mentoring. When I walked into my first class this past fall, I had no idea of the connections and meaningful conversations I would have with my students. One interaction that stood out to me was when one of my students described how she found her home on campus because of what we covered in class. I will never forget the shine in her eyes and enthusiasm in her voice; she showed me that I can make my classroom anywhere. Though an unconventional way to gain teaching experience, this class taught me how I can cultivate my passion in any setting.
What was the hardest (Eberly College) class that you loved? Why?
Within the Department of English specifically, there is a class that is notorious for being difficult. In Professor Kirk Hazenʼs ENGL 221: The English Language course, students dissect the English language while also being introduced to linguistics. I took this in the fall of my sophomore year, but it is still one of the most rewarding classes I have taken at WVU thus far. Though the material was challenging, Dr. Hazen was enthusiastic and completely invested in helping us master the material. This class challenged me and made me resilient, which has made me a better student!
What makes you feel connected to WVU? What have been your keys to success?
The people at WVU are what make this place so special. Everywhere you look, you are surrounded by people who genuinely care about you and support your passions. Whenever I am faced with an obstacle, I know that there is always somewhere here to help me overcome it and find a solution. The Mountaineer spirit exists within everyone, and they carry that same energy wherever they go, even outside of Morgantown. When you look around during a rendition of "Country Roads,” the feeling of pure joy makes you feel connected to the WVU community. Reach out, connect and ask for help when you need it because you will always find a Mountaineer willing to lend a hand.
Why would you recommend WVU to a sibling or friend?
As a land-grant institution, WVU is committed to bettering the state and helping its people pursue their passions. WVU is, in itself, a land of opportunity. You can be whoever you want unapologetically. Though it is a large campus, you never feel lost because of the community you belong in here. It is so important to feel included and heard to succeed; WVU ensures that by making you feel at home in every sense of the word. WVU opens the door for you to travel the world, pursue groundbreaking research, meet your best friends and be a part of something truly special.
Do you have a favorite professor or instructor here? What makes them special?
Having Dr. Nancy Caronia not only as my academic adviser but also my Honors EXCEL research mentor has enabled me to reach new heights in my research because she pushes the boundaries of a conventional mentor and has inspired me to continue inquiry into the lost voices of the past by always asking, “Whatʼs missing from the narrative?” From the moment I was in her orientation course, Dr. Caronia has always encouraged me to pursue research. She enabled me to realize all of the different opportunities within literature research. When it came time to apply to the Honors EXCEL Program, she was my top choice to be my project mentor. While developing my project idea, she guided me to frame my project around my three areas of study: English, theatre and German. Though the project idea was unconventional, she did not hesitate to help me dive right into the work. I study early 20th century female German playwright Marieluise Fleißer’s work and what her work reveals about the world in which she lived. Her work was lost for several decades and my research works to bring her plays back into the spotlight. She understands what it means to be a student today and has been with me every step of the way during my WVU career. She celebrates with me and helps me overcome my obstacles. Dr. Caronia is more than I could have ever asked for in a mentor. She has redefined everything I thought I knew about research in our field and strives to help anyone she meets. I am truly thankful for Dr. Caronia and everything that she has done for me.
What does it mean to be a Mountaineer?
To me, being a Mountaineer means pushing through the conventional to shape the world as a better place. Mountaineers are resilient and pride themselves on their community and how we can serve those around us.
Describe the best thing that’s happened to you at WVU.
One of the best things to happen to me at WVU was studying abroad in Italy during my freshman year. It was my first time traveling to Europe, and it changed my life. It was a seven-day trip where we explored both Rome and Florence. I was awestruck by the incredible sights, drank too much espresso, made amazing friends and made memories that I will always treasure. I fell in love with traveling, and it inspired me to pursue a longer study abroad opportunity.
What was your reaction when you heard you were selected as an Eberly Scholar? How has this opportunity made a difference in your life?
As a first-generation college student, I chose to attend WVU not only because of the impressive academic standards but also because of the myriad of opportunities that are offered to the students. As an Eberly Scholar, I will further my education and live my dream of being a teacher. When I received my acceptance email for the award, I was so excited and honored to be selected. The modern teaching profession is about taking on broader roles to promote education along with becoming advocates for the ever-changing world for the lives of our students. Attaining the Eberly Scholar award allows me to help fund my college education and change the lives of my future students while completing research to further my love for literature. I am extremely thankful for this prestigious honor!