Student Spotlight! Shainah Andrews!

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.

 

Zach Lundgren

Student Spotlight: Zachary Lundgren

Zach LundgrenHave you met English PhD candidate, Zachary Lundgren yet? Get to know him in the latest student spotlight!

My name is Zach Lundgren and I’m from all over. I was born in northern California, grew up in Virginia, and received my Bachelor’s in Colorado and my Master’s in Florida. This is my second year in the doctoral program at ECU. I also love hiking, hockey, fishing, and I am an active creative writer.

What brought you to ECU?
The great faculty and the support to both teach and focus on my research. I love a program where we are encouraged to grow as both instructors and as academics.

What is your area of study and how did you first become interested in it?
I’m focused on environmental rhetorics, rhetoric of science, and specifically climate change rhetoric. These interests grew from my passion for the outdoors and courses in science and technology studies (STS) I took as a Master’s student. I also believe that climate change is the most pressing issue of our modern day and it is in critical need of rhetorical study and focus.

What are your goals after graduation?
A tenure-track professor position at a research-focused university

What has been most exciting/rewarding about your time in the English department?
Simply interacting with the great faculty and fellow students and the ability to grow and share ideas. We have an excellent population of diverse and intelligent minds here.

What recognitions/achievements in your ECU career are you most proud of and why?
Being recommended for a position within the Chancellor’s office and being elected DESO president were both great honors. Oh yeah, and we also came in second in a sand volleyball tournament.

What would you say to someone considering coming to ECU to study English?
I’d say it’s a diverse, growing program with a lot of opportunities to really get involved and make a lasting impact. The people are great, the weather is fair, and the football can’t be beat.

Sophronia Knott

Student Spotlight: Sophronia Knott

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Sophronia Knott wins Three Minute Thesis!

Sophronia Knott won the Grand Champion Award at the Three Minute Thesis competition in Oct 2016! She will be going to Annapolis, MD to represent the Dept of English at the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools.

Below is a student spotlight on English MA student Sophronia Knott!

 

Hello! My name is Sophronia Knott 🙂 I’m originally from Guatemala, but I was raised in Smithfield, North Carolina. I have three dogs and we all love to go running!

What brought you to ECU?

Both of my brothers graduated from ECU and my father received his Principal’s Certificate here, so I wanted to carry on the tradition!

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

I am currently an English MA student, but I also received my BA in English and my TESOL certificate here at ECU. I wrote my first short story when I was seven, and I’ve been reading for what feels like forever. My father used to make me read for one hour for every 30 minutes of TV I wanted to watch, but I was never able to put down a book!

What are your goals after graduation?

After graduation, I would like to attend the University of Denver in Colorado to complete my PhD in English.

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

The most exciting thing has been writing my thesis, to be honest! As a graduate student, I was able to reach out to my favorite author and talk with her about my ideas. She has since become a friend and mentor, and I feel so lucky to be analyzing her work for my thesis!

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

I won the Most Outstanding Undergraduate award in 2015, and that was my proudest moment as a student and an English scholar. I spoke at graduation, and I felt as if I finally got the chance to thank my parents and all of the professor who truly changed my life. I was very grateful to be able to speak and thank everyone properly.

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

If you choose to study English, do it because you love writing or because you love reading. When all else fails, it’s your passion that will keep you going during the hard times. If you don’t love what you’re doing, you won’t be able to sustain your motivation. I can’t imagine doing anything else because English has always been my one true passion.

Smith

Student Spotlight: Darien Smith

Darien Smith.

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Darien Smith just graduated from the East Carolina University Department of English!

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What brought you to ECU?

My first trip to ECU was actually in 1998 when I came with my family to a football game, I guess you could say it was my destiny. I competed here in a public speaking competition in high school and fell in love with the campus. I originally had my heart set on College of Charleston, but ECU just struck me as having a much more diverse and welcoming atmosphere, I felt like the possibilities were endless as a Pirate. When I came back for orientation, I knew I was home.

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

Funny story, I’ve actually had 5 majors in my time at ECU (and I’m still graduating early!). I could read before I started kindergarten, and I’ve never really stopped. I got my first tattoo on my 18th birthday of a quote from my favorite book, The Outsiders, so I should’ve known then that English was my calling. After lots of trial and error, I decided I was ready to settle down and graduate. After looking at all my credits, I realized that the recurring theme was English and that I’d always done markedly better in my English classes; all the pieces fell into place from there.

What are your goals after graduation?

I’m stoked to say that I will be continuing my work with the organization that I did my English internship with, Eastern NC Stop Human Trafficking Now, as a paid employee! I plan to eventually go to law school for nonprofit and civil equality law. Long term, I’d like to start a nonprofit to benefit special needs kids in foreign countries that don’t get the help and acceptance they deserve.

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

The best part for me is realizing my own intelligence/power. I’d always doubted myself and thought I wasn’t an academic, that I wasn’t smart enough, but being in the English department has helped me find my own voice and stand my ground (supported with textual analysis). Besides, who else can say that they got to watch Star Wars (Science Fiction), create their own company (Professional Writing), and imitate Sir Ian McKellan (Shakespeare: The Histories) during their senior year?

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

It’s going to sound really cheesy and I’ll probably regret this later, but finding myself. College has been a long, hard journey, but one I’d do anything to relive. I’ve grown so much as a person, and I have ECU to thank for that.

Also I have a killer GPA and I still go to bed at 9:30 every night.

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

“We’re all mad here.”
But seriously, do it. There’s no right or wrong in the English department (except your/you’re and they’re/their/there and even that’s debatable in poetry). You don’t have to be a certain way or like a certain thing or have read a lot of classic works (because I’m graduating and I didn’t do half of my reading assignments, sorry Dr. Feder). English is so much more than reading books by dead white guys. English is the written expression of the history of the human race, there’s something here for everyone.

Shelor

Student Spotlight: Rose Shelor

Shelor.

Rose Shelor, the recent winner of the Debbie O’Neal Award, is a Hispanic Studies major from Cary, NC. Read on to learn more about her academic journey at ECU!

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My interest in Spanish and linguistics began in high school, but I originally came to ECU for their nursing program. However, I quickly realized that I missed my language courses and wanted to return to what I really loved. After graduation, I hope to work as a school teacher, teaching either (or both) Spanish and ESL. I hope to eventually train other classroom teachers on how to effectively scaffold the English language learners they have in their classrooms.

My most rewarding moment in the Department of English was probably when I discovered how tightly world history and language development are intertwined. The fact that English speakers can trace vocabulary and grammar through who conquered who is fascinating to me. I am most proud of my research about ELL parent involvement and student success because it covers issues that I encounter regularly in the classroom. Many parents want to be able to help their children, but when English is not their native language either, they may struggle to know how to help. My research covers how schools can provide better support to these parents.

To someone considering studying English at ECU, it is a rewarding field with many opportunities. The professors are amazing and care about the lives of their students. Small class sizes and opportunities for faculty-mentoring have greatly helped me through my time here, so for anyone looking for a close-knit community at a large school, the English department is amazing.

McKeever

Student Spotlight: Sarah McKeever

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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

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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).

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.

Will Franklin

Student Spotlight: Will Franklin

Will Franklin

Our first, of many more to come, ‪#‎ecuengl‬ ‪#‎StudentSpotlight‬ is President of the ECU English Club, Will Franklin. As a senior English major, Will’s favorite classes have been Shakespeare’s Tragedies with Dr. Wilson-Okamura and Lit Theory with Dr. Steen. During his time spent at ECU, he has served as the student representative to both the English Executive Committee and the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. When he is not involved with university affairs, he enjoys playing golf and starting his mornings with a 3 mile run.

After graduation, he plans to complete an internship with Disney, and gain work experience to help start his career in publishing. His dream job would be working with for The New Yorker as a part of the creative/editorial team.

“The real benefit of being an English major is that you learn how to think critically through reading and writing, communicate well, and express ideas clearly. I don’t know another major that accomplishes all three.”