ECU English major Shainah Andrews spoke at the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences scholarship luncheon where she told her story about traveling to London and being inspired to study Linguistics and TESOL. She told fellow students, faculty and donors about her hopes to teach English in South America after graduation. Eloquent, and inspiring, she is being featured as an ECU Student Spotlight! Below is her interview:
Where are you from?
I am originally from Connecticut but have been living in Windsor, North Carolina for almost four years.
What brought you to ECU?
East Carolina University interested me because it is known to be an institute best for science and English/education, two fields which I juggled wanting to be in for several years until very recently.
What is your area of study? How did your interest in this area begin?
I am an English major with a minor in linguistics. My passion for reading and writing, from my earliest recollection, began when I was in second grade and my love for both have only strengthened over-time; it stems from my parents and grandma reading to me from the womb. Linguistics was intriguing to me well before I even knew what that word meant, as early as elementary or middle school, but my love for it heightened this summer when I studied abroad in London.
What are your goals after graduation?
Post-graduation, I aspire to teach English as a second language in a South American country for at least one year. In addition, I am also considering doing traveling journalism work in various countries, continuing to volunteer to combat homelessness and poverty, and break stereotypes on several platforms regarding dialect prejudice.
What has been most rewarding/exciting about your time in the Department of English?
If I had to narrow my most rewarding/exciting moment in the Department of English down to one, it’d have to be the following: being an English major opened a study-abroad-opportunity door for me which I walked through this past July; I went to London! It has been a dream of mine since elementary school and became reality this summer thanks to my THCAS scholarship donors and parents. While the program was available to non-English majors, I appreciated the experience even more as an English major as I physically saw many things that I’d often only read about and saw in pictures. The study abroad experience also allowed self-expansion for myself and aided me in helping others to flourish.
What recognitions/achievements in your ECU career are you most proud of and why?
Just recently on September 22nd, I delivered my speech at a scholarship recipient luncheon, being the only English major and even woman of the three student speakers, to go before the podium; my particular scholarship made it feasible for me to study English in London summer ‘17, another accomplishment of mine that still feels dream-like. When other students and even faculty/staff members told me how much my speech resonated with them and impacted them, I knew that I represented ECU English in an incredible way.
For the last spring break, I was a student lead in Baltimore, Maryland where poverty and homelessness is prominent; my alternative break experience gave me another lens to see life through and empowered me to want to do more sooner since my want to help those specifically poverty-stricken and homeless began at an early age.
I am also proud to say that I’ve been the English Club’s consumer coordinator since fall semester of my freshman year and I am also the treasurer now! This semester, I became the worship leader for Delight Ministries, a nationwide women’s Christian organization which six lovely ladies and I brought to ECU this semester.
What would you say to someone considering coming to ECU to study English?
Do it! Being an English major extends far beyond the desires to become a teacher, professor, or author. All of those options are great, but often, people do not know of any other avenues and limit themselves. I encourage all considering coming to ECU to study English to do research of their OWN; an English degree is so versatile! It’s alright if you don’t have it all figured out, too. I am a junior and am still finding my way in this world. The best piece of advice in this sense is that doing something productive is better than doing nothing at all.