Photo Credit: Madison Sides
by CAS Wed, 03/03/2021 - 12:47

Major: English
Minors: French, Political Science
Year in school: Sophomore
Hometown: Papillion, Nebraska

Why did you select your major(s) and minor(s)? Were there any experiences that convinced you to declare?
I chose my major after starting Introduction to English Studies (ENGL 200) and Introduction to Poetry Writing (ENGL 253). My professors in those classes, Dr. Pascha Stevenson and Dr. Katie Henson, were the first people to make me feel like I could truly be successful pursuing what I'm passionate about. I realized how many different opportunities and careers I could choose from with an English degree!

I chose my minor after dropping my double major—I have loved all of my French classes, and decided I wanted to continue with it past the minimum of four semesters! 

For political science, I decided to declare a minor after getting involved with Young Democrats on campus and in my hometown, as well as volunteering with the Nebraska Democratic Party.

What is your favorite course you have taken from your program(s) and why?
My favorite course I've taken in the English department is my introduction to poetry writing course with Dr. Katie Schmid Henson! I've always loved poetry, but within this classroom, I felt safe and supported writing about my own experiences. I was exposed to many different forms and contemporary poets, which is something often excluded from traditional English classes!

Who have been some of your strongest mentors or role models here?
My two biggest mentors are both named Katie!

Dr. Katie Henson was my first poetry professor here. Once I got the courage, I started regularly going to her office hours to work on my writing outside of the class exercises. I even cried in her office the day UNL announced it was shutting down because of COVID! Katie encouraged me to submit my poems to the English department's literary contest, and I actually won the First Place Gaffney Prize for poetry last year as a freshman! 

My other Katie mentor is a graduate student, Katie Marya. Katie is my mentor in the Writing Center, and I regularly schedule appointments with her to talk about consulting, but also to talk about my poetry! Katie is a poet as well, so it's been fantastic to have her support as a writing consultant and a poetry student! She encouraged me to submit poems to literary journals, which I did over winter break!

Have you had an internship/job?
I'm currently an intern with the Nebraska Writers Collective! My English major, especially my classes centering on poetry and diversity, has really helped me prepare for this. As an intern, I'm helping coordinate the Louder Than a Bomb slam poetry competition, and I visit different middle and high schools' practices throughout the week/semester. I work closely with Gina Tranisi, who is the NWC's program coordinator. I'm really looking forward to helping write and improve programs to expand the prominence of poetry in Nebraska secondary schools!

Did you/are you going to study abroad?
I plan on studying abroad in France for my French minor! I'm hoping to go to Montpellier and study entirely in French. I've only been to Paris, so I think living abroad in a different city will provide me with great perspective and exposure to the French language and culture!

What are you involved in on campus?
I'm heavily involved with the university's band programs—I'm a member of the Cornhusker Marching Band's flagline, and parliamentarian of our band fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi. I'm also the Vice President of UNL Young Democrats. I represent the Courtyards in the RHA Senate, and am a member of the Courtyards Residence Hall team. As I mentioned before, I'm a writing consultant at UNL's writing center, and am on the Writing Center's RSO executive team. I also attend group fitness classes regularly!

What are your plans after graduation?
After I graduate, I plan to participate in the TAPIF program, which would allow me to teach English in a French elementary or secondary school for 1-2 years. After that, I will pursue graduate school for my MFA in poetry, and look for jobs with literary journals or French teaching positions!