Employer: Saint Michael’s College
Title: Associate Professor of English; Program Director for Gender Studies and American Studies
Can you start by telling us a little about yourself? (For e.g. where do you live? What do you do for a living? What are your favorite hobbies/activities outside of work?)
I live in Shelburne with my husband, Jonathan, and our two sweet boys, Frank and Rufus. I love gardening, sewing, making crafty messes, rearranging furniture whenever I feel stuck, and building with blocks and reading children’s books with my kids
Can you describe your Saint Michael’s College experience?
My time in the classroom each day makes me so happy. It’s a really wonderful experience to sit in a room with students to discuss a text together, to model what it might look like to fall deeply in love with words and ideas and people, and to help and encourage students as they dive into narrative worlds. On the best days, the conversation goes places I never would have anticipated as I made my lesson plan, and students say things that open and shake up my own readings. We ask hard, fascinating questions and, as a community of readers, we move towards complex answers. AND we have a lot of fun in the process.
What advice would you give to current female students?
Never doubt your intelligence, and cultivate the sort of curiosity that leads to attention and love. Try to speak regularly in class discussions; the older I get, the more I want students to understand how much thinking happens in the writing process, or in the course of working to articulate ideas. It’s not like you have to have it all figured out before you open your mouth or type a sentence. Your insights and voices make the classroom a better place, and a college like ours is a lovely, safe space to feel out your thoughts and beliefs. A liberal arts college is a place to fledge! And in my experience, my female students are usually smarter than they give themselves credit for. When they begin to recognize their own intelligence and follow the paths that bring them pleasure, it’s a joy to witness their unfurling.
What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?
I wouldn’t worry too much about that, honestly. I think if you spend four years at a liberal arts college reading widely and deeply, thinking courageously, listening carefully and generously, and voicing your ideas and questions and pleasures, you’ll be in fantastic shape to meet the world when you graduate. I really believe that. Trust yourself and surround yourself with smart, interesting, creative people. And choose your classes based on what you are curious about, what brings you joy.
What keeps you motivated and driven every day?
I really like books, and I really love discussing them with other people. I’m exhausted most days, but I love what I do, and that goes a long way. My work – the teaching, the reading, and the writing – makes my heart happy.