Student Spotlight: Emma Calow



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).

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