“A little trivia that many of my KW101 students know is that I spent my entire freshman year undecided, but I eventually found what I think was my right path. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting/directing from the University of Arizona, a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and writing for the performing arts from the University of California, Riverside (emphasis in playwriting), and an Master of Arts in English and critical literacy from Georgia Southwestern State University. My education reflects how my love of theatre led to my love of writing for theatre, which led to my love of teaching all types of writing, and I will always have a passion for all three. It also shows I love being a student, I suppose – maybe that’s why I chose a career where I can be around students all the time! And since I was undecided for so long, I love helping students discover what their path might be, too.”
Responsibilities at Wesleyan:
“I teach one section of Writing Workshop each semester, but 75 percent of my role is devoted to the Student Success Center. In that role, I oversee and coordinate training for the peer tutors, supplemental instructors and peer writing fellows, lead the Student Success Series, and tutor in writing, reading and study skills. Students often drop in for help on a paper or application (which keeps me on my toes!), and for those who come regularly, it’s fun to see their progress over time. I am also currently a CETL Faculty Fellow, and facilitate the book-half of the “Talking about Teaching” series, where faculty members share helpful tips about teaching from a book they have read with their fellow colleagues (Christine Salmon facilitates the article-half).
“Wearing these different hats is incredibly rewarding, because I work with many different faculty and staff members and students on a daily basis, and I am always learning new things. It also means you might catch me walking briskly between the Student Success Center, the Faculty Office Building, Administration Building, the library, and back again, but I promise there’s no fire – I just like to keep busy and I walk too fast!”
Tell us about your career.
“Before coming here, Nate Gross (Director of Theatre at Wesleyan) and I taught for four years at Andrew College, a private, two-year Methodist college in rural southwest Georgia (which was even smaller than Kentucky Wesleyan). I taught freshman composition, speech and painted theatre sets, while learning about southern culture and rural living. Unfortunately, I still sound awkward when saying ‘y’all,’ but became a huge fan of barbecue and fried green tomatoes.
“Prior to living in Georgia, we lived in Southern California, where I substitute taught K-5 for about five years, and taught writing online while at home with our young kids (who are now 8 and 10). More trivia – I seriously considered being a second or third grade teacher at one time, but I am glad I steered toward higher education, which presents fun challenges to improve my own teaching and writing.
“Speaking of writing, I am excited to finally be working on a personal aspect of my career, now that I have completed my second master’s degree this past spring. I have a few creative irons in the fire now, and like all writers, I hope something becomes of them.
“I feel very lucky that our career choices and opportunities led us to Kentucky Wesleyan – I call Owensboro the ‘Goldilocks’ town, because unlike the sprawling, urban muddle of SoCal and the remote simplicity of southwest Georgia, this city – and this college – feels just right. The existing family-vibe among students and faculty and staff here makes it such an enjoyable place to work, and it definitely seems to be growing in all the right directions.”
What you find most challenging about your responsibilities?
“The most challenging aspect of my career is finding balance with other areas of my life. Though I am very passionate about teaching, tutoring and my own writing, these career-related roles are often overshadowed by my roles as a mother and wife, and it’s not an easy juggling act. Our kids are at such a fun age – we love to take them to parks, museums, hiking on nearby trails, and on road trips to see family in Illinois, Michigan and Montana. I am also grateful to be involved with Dream Riders of Kentucky in Philpot. I serve on the board as the upcoming vice president and volunteer during lessons. Between these adventures and the daily grind of homework and meals, I often wish I could stop time like Evie in the 90s show ‘Out of This World.’ Only some readers will know that reference, but I basically mean that it’s pretty busy sometimes, and I just try to take it one day at a time, take a lot of pictures and journal. I am so fortunate to have so many wonderful things going on, and I don’t want to miss a thing (cue Aerosmith).”
• Vacation spot: My mom’s cabin in western Montana, where a hot cup of coffee on the porch fixes everything.
• Books: (Too many to name, but…) “Dubliners,” “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” “The Things They Carried,” “The Great Gatsby” and “A Gift from the Sea.” I am also a huge Shakespeare fan.
• Movies: “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Love Actually” and “Airplane”
• Television Shows: “Twilight Zone,” “I Love Lucy,” “X-Files,” “Breaking Bad” and “Supernatural”
• Way to spend a Friday night: “Family Movie Night,” which is usually any movie our kids pick out, and a pizza.
Who would you love to invite for dinner and why?
“My Dad, for a chance to say good-bye – Maya Angelou, for wisdom, empowerment and writing advice – Melissa McCarthy, because that’d just be a good time.”