Bosse

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Solveig Bosse

 

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Dr. Solveig Bosse is an assistant professor of Linguistics and TESOL in the Department of English at East Carolina University.

MA English/Economics (Carl-von-Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Germany)

MA Linguistics (University of Delaware, USA)

Ph.D. Linguistics (University of Delaware, USA)

 

 

Where are you from?

I grew up in Verden (Aller), Germany.

What brought you to ECU?

There are very few jobs for graduates with doctorate degrees in Linguistics available, especially on the more permanent tenure-track. ECU offering me a tenure-track position was a great opportunity, so I accepted and came here.

What is your field and how did you first become interested in it?

Officially, I am a theoretical linguist. Most of my research is in theoretical syntax with an added interest in formal semantics. In simpler terms, I analyze the sentence structures of sentences in different languages and try to explain why the sentences have the structure they do and why the sentences mean what they mean.

Unofficially, I am also a psycholinguist – and that is how I first became interested in linguistics. Back in Germany, I took a graduate seminar on first language acquisition. The professor, Prof. Dr. Hamann, decided to offer me a position as a graduate research assistant. I learned a lot about research and academia from her, and when the time came, she encouraged me to apply to Ph.D. programs in linguistics in the USA. I was accepted to the University of Delaware, and there my emphasis slowly shifted from psycholinguistics to theoretical linguistics. While I volunteered in a psycholinguistic lab throughout graduate school, I began to work on my syntactic and semantic research. Eventually, I enjoyed the theoretical work a tad bit more and decided to write my dissertation on a theoretical topic. To this day, I enjoy both theoretical linguistics and psycholinguistics, resulting in me discussing collaborative psycholinguistic work with Dr. Curtindale, the Director of ECU’s Infant and Child Cognition Lab, this semester. (Hopefully, the actual collaboration will start next semester.)

What degrees do you hold and where did you earn them?

MA English/Economics (Carl-von-Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Germany)MA Linguistics (University of Delaware, USA)Ph.D. Linguistics (University of Delaware, USA)

What other life experience prepared you for your role here at ECU?

I have lived in four different US states, in Germany, and briefly in China. In these places, I met a variety of people with diverse life stories and saw how different people handle big and small issues differently. These experiences have probably had the biggest impact on my role here as they allow me to connect with the diverse people in Pirate Nation – the students, my colleagues and others in and around Greenville.

What recognitions/achievements are you most proud of and why?

I consider my Ph.D. degree my biggest achievement. My Ph.D. program at UD was very tough and demanding at times, and despite considering giving up many times, I never did.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I enjoy learning from and discussing linguistics (and some other topics) with others. So my most enjoyable moments are when I am challenged in class by questions from students about concepts and ideas of linguistics, or when I discuss my research or that of my colleagues. These moments allow me to rethink my assumptions, to strengthen my arguments and to think about a problem from a different point of view.

Describe one of the most rewarding courses you’ve taught in your time at ECU?

One of the most rewarding courses I taught has been LING3730/ENGL6526. This course was, and usually is, taught as a mixed graduate-undergraduate course. We investigate the sounds and word formation processes present in English. I have had terrific discussions with students about the different sounds that English employs, how the sounds are made, and how dialects of English differ in their sound inventories. I have seen students grow from being completely unaware of the sounds of their language to taking a huge interest in how they themselves speak, what features in their speech mark their background, region and identity, and how they can use the information I taught them to their own benefit.

McKeever

Student Spotlight: Sarah McKeever

McKeever.

Sarah McKeever is a senior English major from Walstonburg, N.C.  She also lived in Virginia Beach for almost ten years before moving back to Eastern North Carolina to be near family. Her favorite Shakespearean play is “Hamlet,” and “Air and Angels” is her favorite Donne poem.

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What brought you to ECU?

I was a transfer student when I first came to ECU. I was drawn to the idea of being a student here because my grandmother, grandfather and aunt all received teaching degrees from ECU.  I feel like I am somewhat following in their footsteps, which is inspiring to me.

What is your area of study and how did you first become interested in it?

My area of study is English with a concentration in British Renaissance Literature.  I am especially interested in Donne, Shakespeare and Milton.  I have always loved to read and write.  I’ve never really imagined studying anything else.

What are your goals after graduation?

After graduation I hope to continue what I am currently doing, working on the Donne Variorum and towards becoming a Donne Scholar.  I hope to attend graduate school here at East Carolina University.  I also hope to publish a creative non-fiction novel that I have been working on for the past year.

What has been most exciting/rewarding about your time in the English department?

It’s hard to pick one favorite moment in my English career as a student at ECU.  There have been so many wonderful events that I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in.  I think really the day to day moments are what make life here a bit magical. I’ve had Professors so brilliant (such as Dr. Corinee Guy and Dr. Marianne Montgomery) that I had epiphanies about literature (and life) while sitting in their classrooms.  I think also when I told Dr. Johnson my alchemical theory about “Air and Angels” (the Donne poem that I’ve been obsessed with for the past two years) was one of my happiest moments.   I’ve also enjoyed working with Dr. Tracy McLawhorn so very much!  She is incredibly inspiring every single day!

What recognitions/achievements in your ECU career are you most proud of and why?

Well, I’ve been inducted into Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Tau Delta.  I also am an officer on the Dean’s Student Leadership Council, which has been a great experience.  I supposed I am most proud of the fact that I was invited to tag along with Dr. Johnson and Dr. McLawhorn to the annual John Donne Society Conference this year.  I had so much fun, learned a lot and more than anything, left with a renewed zeal to resume work on my interpretive analysis of “Air and Angels.”

What would you say to someone considering coming to ECU to study English?

To any student considering studying English at ECU, I would say simply: “Get ready for your life to change in amazing ways!”  It really has been a life-altering experience for me for which I could attach no price.  The professors here honestly love and care about the subjects that they teach.  The class sizes are ideal, and the teachers all try to learn who there students are.  I have felt like ECU is my second home these past three years.

Vaughan

Student Spotlight: Paige Vaughan

Vaughan.

Paige Vaughan is a junior English major from Ashtabula, Ohio, though she has lived in Clayton, North Carolina for the majority of her life.

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What brought you to ECU?

I was accepted into both ECU and App State. I thought I had my heart set on App, but when I took a tour across ECU’s campus, I felt a strong sense of diversity and unity among the students. Something about ECU clicked with me and I am extremely proud that I chose to study here.

What is your area of study and how did you first become interested in it?

I major in both English and German.

I knew I wanted to study English when I first started at ECU. Up until my junior year of high school, I was convinced that I wanted to be a biology major, but within the first week of my AP Bio class, I realized I didn’t have the same passion for science as some of my peers. During this time, I was also experiencing a slump. I felt burnt out by the weight of school and began retreating to books to escape my depression. I had always been fond of reading, but this time I wanted to challenge myself by reading works from authors such as Fitzgerald, Faulkner, and Emily Brontë. I spent hours in cafés reading and taking notes on each work, oftentimes ignoring my actual homework. I had a sort of epiphany where I realized that by reading and understanding literature, I could broaden my knowledge of people and the world. My sadness at the time stemmed from the trapped feeling of living in a small town and literature was my newfound way out into the beyond. I rekindled my love for literature and that is when I knew I would go on to study English at university.

My decision to study German was not preplanned. I’ve been interested in the German language and culture since I was twelve years old. My childhood best friend, Ester, was from Germany and I was deeply fascinated by her life. Prior to meeting her, I didn’t know much about Germany or Europe in general. I loved hearing her communicate with her family members in German and trying the German food her dad would cook. I began keeping a notebook of every new German word I learned from her, determined to one day learn the language. I was disappointed when I found out that my high school did not offer German, so I studied Spanish instead, which I didn’t feel very passionate about. When I got to ECU and saw that I was required to take a foreign language, I was a little bummed to have to spend another four semesters in a Spanish classroom. To my surprise, ECU offered a good selection of language options and my spirits lifted when I noticed that German was on the list. I thought it would be nice to learn a little German and make a hobby of it. I ended up excelling in my classes and fell in love with the German language, which is why I decided to double major in it.

What are your goals after graduation?

Right now I am planning on applying for a Fulbright scholarship during my senior year. I want to teach abroad in Germany for a year to gain experience and expand my language skills. I then plan on applying for graduate school in Germany.

What has been most exciting/rewarding about your time in the English department?

The most rewarding activities that I have invested time into in the Department of English are the ECU English Club and the Donne Variorum Project.

Through the English Club, I have connected with students and professors who share the same interests as me. As members, we share our thoughts and ideas pertaining to English topics during our bi-weekly discussions. I am this year’s English Club president. Being president has helped me to develop my leadership and time management skills. My goal as president is to focus on what the members want out of English Club and to make that happen for them.

I have worked with the Donne Variorum project since Spring 2015. Dr. Johnson and Tracy McLawhorn, as well as my other colleagues are all extremely pleasant and fun to work with. I’ve learned plenty about the poet John Donne and am inspired by Dr. Johnson’s and Tracy’s dedication to his life and works.

What recognitions/achievements in your ECU career are you most proud of and why?

This year I received a Russell Christman scholarship for my outgoing and caring personality and diverse involvement in ECU programs. I am so honored to have even been nominated for the scholarship, because I struggle with self-doubt and I tend to sell myself short. I forget that my professors and peers see potential in me and acknowledge my accomplishments. The scholarship is a reminder for me to continue being involved and helping others.

What would you say to someone considering coming to ECU to study English?

Studying English isn’t about reading books and writing poetry. Being an English major is about humans—who we are, what we do or say or think, how we live. Every book in a new perspective on a life you may never get to live. Reading literature, discussing it with others, as well as thinking critically and writing about it will increase your empathy for and understanding of the complexity of humans now and throughout history. I am an extremely sappy and sentimental person when it comes to talking about what studying English means to me, but I can guarantee that with each finished class, you will leave with meaningful knowledge that will carry on with you. Also, if you have free time between all the reading and writing, read a book or two by Kurt Vonnegut.

Calow

Student Spotlight: Emma Calow

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Emma Calow is an English graduate student from Belfast, Ireland.

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What brought you to ECU?

Good question! I was in my second year of studying English with American Studies at my home university in Coleraine, Northern Ireland when one of my American Studies professors approached me about applying for the opportunity to study in the States for one academic year through the International Student Exchange Programme. Long story short, following several months of application processing, deliberating, and decision making, ECU chose me and I was admitted into the English undergraduate programme in the Fall of 2012. Turns out I wasn’t quite ready to leave ECU, so I took the leap of opportunity and decided to continue pursuing my education here and the following year was officially omitted as an international pirate. As a result, I managed to earn my BA in English with a minor in Sports Studies last May and am now onto the next stage of my academic journey – mastery in English and graduate certification in Sport Management.

What is your area of study and how did you first become interested in it?

Being in the English graduate programme, I have had the exposure to, learned in more depth of, and become highly engaged with some very interesting areas within the English studies spectrum. More specifically though, it has given me the chance to explore further into my specific areas of study and reach interests – the African American experience and the rhetorics of sport with a focus on cultural, social, and racial discourses. Given my own sporting past, involvement, and experiences on an international level, my attention to this particular domain has augmented and thus developed over time, especially since moving to America. If anything, sports fuel my fire and I think there are some very interesting conversations surrounding such a spectacle in society.

What are your goals after graduation?

Another good question! Given my student visa limitations, I am just keen to try to keep as many options on the table as possible. Part of me is hopeful in continuing my education through pursuing a PhD programme, whereas the other half of me is eager to get started into the professional world. That being said, an overriding goal is to build a career here in the States (and stay as long as I can!)

What has been most exciting/rewarding about your time in the English department?

I think ECU’s Department of English encompasses a uniquely diverse and supportive sense of community with a lot of incredibly creative and knowledgeable minds. Looking back, perhaps the most exciting time was finally walking across that stage and earning that Bachelors degree then subsequently getting accepted into the Masters programme. More importantly though, I think the most rewarding has been the many different things I have learned, not just academically but also personally. Also, being a member of the Department of English community has afforded me the opportunity to meet and get to know some pretty cool people.

What recognitions/achievements in your ECU career are you most proud of and why?

Probably earning my Bachelors degree is one of, if not the, proudest achievement thus far (and come next year, accomplishing that Masters will probably take the lead!), as it’s been a long journey – academically, personally, and geographically! In saying this I think my achievements are maybe a wee bit more subjective from a personal standpoint than educational. Nonetheless, I’m proud of having the ability to maintain the institutional expectations and standards that come with being a student (undergraduate and graduate), such as GPA, never missing class, meeting assignments deadlines, English Honors Society etc.

What would you say to someone considering coming to ECU to study English?

I would say to be open-minded, hard-working, and above all, to keep those positive vibes flowing, even on the bad days because it’s all part of the journey. I think English is perhaps the most fundamental disciplines one can pursue seeing as a degree in English can open doors to a number of professional avenues and careers such as teaching, journalism, editing, writing, among others. Also, in the academic study of English there is, evidently, a substantial amount of reading and writing so be sure to know that you enjoy, to a certain extent, doing these. The cool thing about ECU is that there are various resources that offer help when needed (writing center, English workshops, library databases, friendly professors and fellow students).

Picture of Dr. William Banks

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Will Banks

Banks

Dr. Will Banks is an associate professor of rhetoric and composition in the Department of English at East Carolina University. He holds a B.A. in Literary Studies from Georgia Southern University, an M.A. Literary Studies from Georgia Southern University, and a Ph.D. in English Studies from Illinois State University.

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Where are you from?

I am from Louisville, GA.

What brought you to ECU?

I chose ECU because of the type of students we have here. ECU students are often the first generation in their families to attend college, as well as coming from a working class background. Those are students that I prefer to work with because the academy has worked so hard to keep them out.

What is your field and how did you first become interested in it?

My field of research is in Rhetoric and Composition, specifically queer rhetorics. I was interested in Rhet-Comp because of my previous experience teaching for several years. I’ve had the chance to work with many students – teaching literature, language, and writing — but I realized that I enjoy working with struggling student writers more than struggling student readers. I enjoy helping students to see why writing is important and all the options that careful, rhetorically sophisticated prose provides to the writer. While I was teaching at Georgia Southern University, I had the chance to participate in an Invitational Summer Institute of the National Writing Project, which also influenced my research interests and further solidified my commitment to working with writers and helping them develop voice and agency.

What life experience prepared you for your role at ECU?

I am one of those students from a working class and rural background that research suggests tend not to go on to higher education, or to be successful once there. Higher education is filled with invisible rules and tacit values that work very hard to exclude working class students and students of color. I am the type of person that wants to help students with access because many students of a working class background (like myself) may miss out on great opportunities, so I want to pull back the curtain and make some of those invisible blockades visible. When they’re visible, we can work together to tear them down.

What recognitions and achievements are you most proud of and why?

One of my biggest accomplishments here at ECU has been raising combined internal/external funding of over 2.5 million dollars to support ECU students and eastern NC teachers. That level of grant funding is nearly unheard of in an English department and the humanities generally. While that took away from my book-writing time, it has meant that ECU finally has a real writing center, which helps over 3,000 students per year with their writing, and it means that area K-12 teachers have had free or low-cost access to graduate education focused on writing, which is usually absent or under-developed in their undergraduate education. Over 1 million of those dollars has gone to professionalize K-12 teachers in our area and help them become teacher-researchers in their own classrooms who present their research at national conferences.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Working with students. Period.

Describe one of the most rewarding courses you’ve taught in your time at ECU.

Summer Study Abroad in London! Taking ECU students, many of whom have never flown on a plane, to experience a new culture where they see themselves and their culture differently has been amazing. Students are able to study writing, literature, theatre, and culture in a new context, and also explore new places, where people of many cultures think differently from the ways we do in the United States. Also, being able to collaborate with Dr. Rick Taylor is always exciting! He has been the single most important professional mentor in my career, and his commitment to this program – and to keeping it affordable so that study abroad isn’t just for the rich kids – is so important.

Mccabe

Alumna Spotlight: Catherine McCabe

McCabe

Catherine McCabe is the author of A Rose Out of Ashes.

 

Where are you from and what brought you to ECU?

I am originally from Hyde County so I definitely consider myself ‘a country girl.’ Being a homebody, ECU was a good choice for me because it was close to home and I felt I would get a quality education as well.

 

What did you study while you were here, and how did your interest in this area begin? ?

My areas of study were English (Writing) and Communications. My interest in these areas grew from a natural love of writing and wanting to make a career out of it. I have been writing since I was twelve, and the high from writing a piece and having your peers enjoy it, there is nothing quite like it!

 

What have you been up to since your graduation?

I actually had the opportunity to work with a couple of local newspapers, one before I actually graduated from ECU in 1993. The experience was wonderful; I got to travel, meet new people and do what I love; write. Sometimes we don’t make the best choices and life takes you in a different direction then the one you thought you would be on. My current career, and the one that I have been pursuing for several years now, is in the helping field, particularly working with the elderly. I am currently the Program Director with the Creative Living Center, a very rewarding position. Although writing isn’t my career per se, I still enjoy writing my poetry and sharing it as I am able to.

 

What recognitions/achievements are you most proud of and why? ?

I would have to say becoming a mom was a great achievement for me. My daughter is now 17. My second greatest accomplishment would have to be self publishing my book of poetry, ‘A Rose out of Ashes’ through Bookstand Publishing in 2008. I did a lot of the editing work, etc on my own so it was definitely a rewarding experience.

 

What elements of your education in the Department of English have been most instrumental to your success?

I think just being able to hone my English writing skills in an atmosphere that allowed and encouraged creativity such as ECU’s English Department would have to be what stands out the most for me. And having instructors who are receptive of your talent in whatever form, and encouraged rather then discouraged you from that talent meant a lot as well.

 

What was most rewarding/exciting about your time in the Department of English, and what would you say to someone considering coming to ECU to study English?

I think I would have to say my most rewarding experience, not necessarily in the department, but as a student was writing for Expressions, the minority magazine. Getting to work alongside other students, feed off their writing energy and having my work recognized was very rewarding.

I would have to say if English is your passion, ECU is a good place to pursue it. The department was great when I was there and I am sure it has only gotten better in the years since I graduated so I can only imagine the wealth of information waiting for someone there.

Dr. Marianne Montgomery

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Marianne Montgomery

Dr. Marianne Montgomery

Dr. Marianne Montgomery is an associate professor of literature (specializing in Shakespeare and Renaissance drama) in the Department of English at East Carolina University.

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Where are you from?

I grew up in Cheverly, Maryland, in the suburbs of Washington, DC. I also lived for four years near Boston and eight years in Charlottesville, Virginia, so I also consider those places home.

What brought you to ECU?

When I was close to finishing my PhD, I “went on the job market,” which meant that I applied for about 70 jobs, all over the country, in my field of Shakespeare and Renaissance literature. It’s incredibly hard to find a tenure-track job with a literature PhD, and I feel incredibly lucky that I was hired at ECU! In addition to a good location relatively close to my family in Maryland and my husband’s family in Florida, I like teaching at a regional state university and working with a diverse body of students. I was also attracted to ECU by its balance of teaching and research; I really like both and wouldn’t want to put all my energy towards one or the other.

What is your field and how did you first become interested in it?

My field is Shakespeare studies, which really means that I study Shakespeare and the early modern dramatists who wrote at roughly the same time that he did, like Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Middleton, Thomas Dekker, and many others. Shakespeare was part of a vibrant commercial theater scene, and only was elevated above his contemporaries by critics in subsequent centuries. While I was initially attracted to the field by my love of Shakespeare, I now am fascinated by how he fits into this bigger picture and how his plays belong to their time both formally and thematically. My research focuses especially on early modern drama, trade, travel, and cultural exchange.

What degrees do you hold and where did you earn them?

I have a BA from Wellesley College, a women’s college in Massachusetts. After Wellesley, I went to the University of Virginia, where I earned an MA and a PhD.

What life experience prepared you for your role at ECU?

I have very little work experience outside academia, something I wish I could go back and change. I think working for a few years before pursuing a PhD is invaluable in exposing one to other options and other perspectives. That said, I gained considerable teaching experience in my graduate program that prepared me for teaching at ECU. I had very good pedagogical mentors, especially for teaching writing.

What recognitions and achievements are you most proud of and why?

I am really proud that I wrote a book! It’s called Europe’s Languages on England’s Stages and was published in 2013. A book feels like a significant scholarly accomplishment, and it makes writing a second book less daunting. I’m also proud that I was awarded ECU’s Centennial Award for Service in 2015. It was nice to have my efforts on various university committees and in departmental service recognized.

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of the job is seeing students improve and succeed. It’s incredibly rewarding to work with a student over the course of a semester and see major progress in his or her reading and writing.

Describe one of the most rewarding courses you’ve taught in your time at ECU.

My favorite courses to teach are the three Shakespeare genre courses: Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Shakespeare’s play reward rereading, and I find new things in them every time I teach them. I feel extremely lucky to be able to teach regularly in my area of specialization. I received a teaching grant last summer to develop materials for using film in these classes, so I’ve been using more film clips in class. Shakespeare is meant to be performed, not read, so film helps bring performance into the ECU classroom. My students also memorize and recite speeches from the plays or perform scenes in groups.

Student Spotlight: Brianna Horton

Brianna Horton is a senior English major at ECU, set to graduate in May.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey and I currently reside in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

What brought you to ECU?

I actually came to ECU because I got wait listed for UNC Chapel Hill. My dad chose East Carolina University and I have to say it was one of the best decisions he has ever made. After orientation I fell in love with the campus, the people that I met at orientation and I loved how the campus felt like my home before I even moved in.

What is your area of study and how did you first become interested in it?

I am an English major with a minor in Political Science. I actually came into ECU as a biology major, after my freshman year I realized that I was getting better grades in my English and Political Science classes than in my science classes so I went with English as my major and Political Science as my minor. One thing that did aid in the switching of my major was the course Appreciating Literature with Ronald Hoag and Southern Literature with Dr. Margaret Bauer. Once I was enrolled in those two courses and we started learning I realized I had picked the right major for me.

When do you graduate and what are your goals after graduation?

 I graduate in May of 2016 and I plan on attending Graduate School for Student Affairs. I’d like to one day work at a large University as the Dean of Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

What has been most exciting/rewarding about your time in the English department?

I took a course with Professor Herron and we studied Chaucer and he actually had us write riddles as a class assignment. I have to admit that was the funnest assignment I’ve ever done in college. We read our riddles in class and everyone had to guess what the answer to the riddle was and I was very surprised that I got some of the hardest riddles. This was another moment where I realized that I had most certainly picked the right major for me. I enjoyed going to my English classes and I believe that’s how the college experience is supposed to be.

What recognitions/achievements in your ECU career are you most proud of and why?

 I interned for Dr. Bauer with the North Carolina Literary Review and I also wrote for The East Carolinian while in undergrad. I wrote an article about the current poet laureate, Shelby Stephenson, coming to Greenville to read some of his writings and I also got to attend the event and actually meet Shelby, have my photo taken with him and he also told me that he enjoyed my article. On top of that Professor Douglass asked permission to place my article online and he introduced me to Linda Fox who works for the state archives. So the English Department here is very well connected to people in the outside world, anyone can take full advantage of that if they get out of their rooms and go to the events that the department puts on or just attends.

What would you say to someone considering coming to ECU to study English?

I would tell them get ready to learn not only a lot about English, but a lot about yourself. I feel like this major is one that really helps students grow in all aspects in terms or writing, speaking, attention to detail, analytical skills. I would also tell them to not leave until they have taken Dr. Marianne Montgomery and Dr. Margaret Bauer in a few English courses. These two professors have helped me grow the most as a student and their courses were my most enjoyable here in my undergraduate career.

Matt Cox

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Matthew Cox

Matt Cox

Dr. Matt Cox is an assisstant professor of technical and professional communication in the Department of English at East Carolina University. He holds a BA from Indiana University, an MA from Utah State University, and a PhD from Michigan State University.

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Where are you from?

A small town called New Haven, Indiana. It’s just outside of Fort Wayne, Indiana (the second biggest city in Indiana) in Northeast Indiana (about midway between Chicago and Detroit). Lots of flat farmland and Amish communities around. The local Meijer (like a super Wal-Mart) in my town even has its own covered hitching post for Amish shoppers!

What brought you to ECU?

While I was on the job market, I was very sensitive to whether my research in queer/LGBT rhetorics and professional identity was received well and would be supported. Especially in TPC, often folks will see that kind of work as “too cultural” or somehow “not related to tech comm” (though I disagree vigorously, obviously). The English Department at ECU supported me from the start and I have always felt I could do the research here that I am good at and know the most about. I was also drawn to the PhD and Masters programs that are growing and beginning to receive notoriety in our field. I am very proud to be a part of all of this!

What is your field and how did you first become interested in it?

My fields are technical and professional communication/writing and queer/LGBT rhetorics. I see these both as existing firmly in rhetoric and writing studies (though some see TPC as more adjacent than within rhetoric and writing studies). Rhetoric and writing studies are, in turn, a part of the larger family of English studies.

What degrees do you hold and where did you earn them?

I received my BA in English (specializing in British literature – specifically the Victorian and Romantic periods) from Indiana University, Bloomington in 1996. I then received an MS in English in Technical and professional communication from Utah State University in 2006. I earned my PhD in rhetoric and writing in 2012 from Michigan State University where I concentrated in cultural rhetorics.

What life experience prepared you for your role at ECU?

I worked from 1996 through 2007 full time as a production editor in the book publishing industry and as a technical editor and writer in the computer software industry. These were absolutely essential experiences for me in terms of learning how to be an effective and thorough collaborator and communicator.

What recognitions and achievements are you most proud of and why?

Experiences come with age I suppose, and at this point in my life, I’m very proud as a first generation college student to have gone all the way through to my PhD. I’m from a blue collar background (the son of a police officer and a baker and tailor) and no one in my family or extended family has ever had a PhD. It’s been an exciting journey. But, now that I’m here, I’m really the most proud of being able to help the students I work with achieve those same goals. It’s so cool to be able to do that.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love networking. Helping make connections (to both people and ideas) for colleagues and students (and myself). I’m a natural extrovert and networker. To me the world is a huge playground and I think it’s important for us to impart on our students that same curiosity and excitement about the world and their education about that world.

Describe one of the most rewarding courses you’ve taught in your time at ECU.

I have enjoyed each of them so far in their own way because they allow me to draw on the experiences I’ve had and to pass those on to students. But I also learn so much from my students. They are so diverse and bring with them their own stories and aspirations. I have particularly enjoyed the graduate Cultural Rhetorics course I taught in the spring of 2015. Thanks to technology, we were able to have so many wonderful scholars (both established and up-and-coming) in our field stop by via Skype to talk with our class. Being with our energetic and smart grad students is so energizing for me.

Photo of Dr. Amanda Klein

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Amanda Klein

Klein

Dr. Amanda Klein is an associate professor of film studies in the Department of English at East Carolina University. She holds a BA from Cornell University, and a Master’s and PhD from the University of Pittsburgh.

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Where are you from?

I am from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania originally but I moved to Greenville from Pittsburgh in 2007, where I had been living with my husband and daughter as I finished my PhD at the University of Pittsburgh.

What brought you to ECU?

The simplest answer is: they offered me a job! As you probably know, there are far more PhD students than there are tenure track jobs. Most graduate students apply to 50 or more positions in the hopes of snagging one. I was lucky enough to get an offer my first year on the market and now, here we are, 9 years later.

What is your field and how did you first become interested in it?

 My intention when I first entered grad school was to pursue a PhD in English literature. But all MA students were required to take an introductory film course and I fell in love with the discipline and switched my course of study. So while I received my PhD from an English department, I specialized in film studies.

What life experience prepared you for your role at ECU?

As a Northerner, coming to Greenville was definitely a cultural adjustment. I had previously lived in Charleston, SC for a year so that gave me a taste of life in the South. But overall, I feel like I am still learning new things about Eastern North Carolina. I’ve really come to love this are and its culture. I feel lucky to be able to experience a region that is so different than the one I grew up in.

What recognitions and achievements are you most proud of and why?

Just landing a tenure track job and then getting tenure are probably the biggest achievements for me, because tenured positions are increasingly rare these days. I see so many brilliant qualified scholars going on the market year after year and coming back empty-handed as the market shrinks. I know I’m one of the few lucky ones.

But I think my biggest achievement has been raising two children while also getting tenure. It’s so hard for mothers in academia and I hope that, much as I was inspired by my professors in grad school who had children and still maintained their research profiles and teaching excellence, I might be inspiring to younger scholars who are considering starting families of their own. We shouldn’t have to choose between being professors and being mothers.

What is your favorite part of your job?

As much as I enjoy research and writing, I would have to say that teaching is definitely my favorite part of my job. Sometimes academics get too deep into their own scholarship and forget about the whole point of going into this profession, which is sharing knowledge with students. I love seeing students get excited about media studies and I love seeing them apply what they’ve learned to the world around them. Media literacy is one of the most important skills students need, and I am so grateful to be able to teach those skills every semester.

Describe one of the most rewarding courses you’ve taught in your time at ECU.

I like all of my classes but I had a particularly rewarding experience teaching Women, Identity and Difference 2 years ago. Here is the description:

“This seminar explores the different ways that American cinema has attempted to represent women. Beginning with the documentary Miss Representation, this course explores how American cinema represents women from different races, economic classes, sexual orientations, ethnicities and body types. The course will explore different facets of a particular American identity from the perspective of mainstream films to independent and experimental features. In addition to looking at isolated identities and what it means to be an African American, white, working class, or disabled woman in America, this course will also focus on intersectionality, or the ways that multiple systems of oppression are felt on individual bodies and how they intersect.”

I loved this class because the material was very challenging and potentially uncomfortable for students; race, gender, ethnicity, sexual identity, etc. are often tough for students to grapple with in a serious way. Students are afraid of saying the wrong thing or offending others with such topics. But those students really rose to the challenge and it was inspiring to witness. They were careful and nuanced and really just listened to each other. At the end of the semester one of my students gave me greatest compliment I have ever received in my SPOTS evaluations. S/he wrote: “I feel like I am a better person for having taken this course.” I mean, how can you top that? That’s the goal for me as a teacher—to help shape responsible, thoughtful, ethical citizens.

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