After receiving my BA in English and gender studies at New York University, I found myself in Providence, underemployed and directionless. I enrolled in the MA in English program at RIC half out of boredom and half out of desperation to once again talk to smart people about good books. Fortunately and quite unexpectedly, before the end of my first full semester there I had found my direction. The theory-intensive Introduction to Graduate Studies introduced me to the concept of cultural studies, and I knew that was what I wanted to do. The professors I met were brilliant and passionate. My fellow students brought a wide variety of backgrounds but a uniform level of commitment into the classroom. Craig-Lee Hall was almost immediately my favorite place to be. Even more amazingly, the English department generously granted me an assistantship that did several important things: It allowed me to attend school full time. It allowed me to work with a variety of professors on their research, seeing what they do and how they do it. And it allowed me to teach – which finally confirmed for me that the university is the place for me.
Throughout my time at RIC, the professors I worked with consistently amazed me, inside and outside the classroom. I cannot recommend highly enough Maureen Reddy, who taught one of my favorite classes during my time at RIC and then hired me as a composition teacher after I graduated; Stephen Brown, who taught my pivotal Intro to Grad Studies class and acted as an invaluable advisor throughout my PhD application process; Barbara Schapiro, who directed my thesis and whose teaching style and energy I aspire to daily; and Jenn Cook, who mentored me through my first semester of teaching with patience and kindness. This was the key to my success at RIC, and the heart of the English department: the extraordinary faculty teaching there, and their unflagging dedication to their students. I am now pursuing my PhD in English at the University of Iowa, where I am specializing in twentieth and twenty-first century American literature, affect theory, and science fiction. I am working toward a career that challenges me and fulfills me. And I know I would not be on this path if it hadn't been for the professors I worked with at Rhode Island College.