M.A. English Graduates
Amanda Carruth, ‘23 (Currently temporary lecturer of English at the University of Idaho)
Earning my master’s in literature at the University of Idaho was a transformative experience that exceeded my expectations. The program provided a deep dive into many theoretical fields, and this wide range of study gave me the experience I needed to figure out which area of theory I wanted to focus on for my future career. From being in this program, I found my love for teaching, and during my time as a student, I learned how to implement multimodal lesson plans in my classroom. This knowledge has given me a more comprehensive range of accessibility for all types of students, and has prepared me for my position as a temporary lecturer at the University of Idaho. However, while I was able to achieve my goals that I made before I graduated, I would have not been able to do it without the diverse and talented cohort of students who were with me during my program. Collaborating with individuals from various backgrounds and perspectives enriched my learning experience and broadened my horizons. Because I was surrounded by amazing peers who set the bar high, I found that this program demanded more from me than I ever thought possible, and at times, I felt overwhelmed. But in those moments, I discovered reservoirs of resilience and determination I didn't know I had. It was an emotional rollercoaster of triumphs and setbacks, but it all contributed to personal growth. Reflecting on my time at U of I, I can confidently say that it has opened doors to countless opportunities in my career as an educator. I owe my success to the exceptional education and support I received during my studies. This experience has been an investment in my future that I'll forever be grateful for.
Dylan Couch, ‘23 (Currently Ph.D. candidate, University of Wisconsin, Madison)
The opportunities afforded me during my time in the English Master’s program at U of I was indispensable for preparing me as a Ph.D. student, scholar, and a professional today. While there my interests in the environmental humanities developed through taking courses like “Climate Fiction” and “Narrative in the Anthropocene” and through working closely with Drs Erin James, Jennifer Ladino, and Scott Slovic. The time these professors gave to helping me think through and shape my seminar papers was one of the most valuable experiences I took away from U of I, and thanks to their mentorship some of those papers are now finding their ways into conferences and academic journals. The English program at Idaho is unique in its tight-knit community; the staff are close with one another, I made lifelong friends and colleagues, and I always felt at home visiting any professor’s office. A steady stream of public reading events and the like solidified that community feel. Now as a Ph.D. student I’m able to draw on an archive of readings and scholars introduced to me at U of I when doing research and engaging in class discussions. I’m more confident in my abilities to present papers for conferences and develop those papers for publication. Thanks to the faculty and friends in English at U of I I feel inspired to mentor my own students in the way I was mentored, and I feel equipped to pursue work that’s meaningful and strives to make an impact beyond the classroom.
Christine Meyer, '22 (Currently Leadership Committee, Women in Religion WikiProject)
I tend to have the most growth and excel when I’m in a positive atmosphere. As a student in the English M.A. program at the University of Idaho, that’s why, in two short years, and even though the first year was conducted mostly through Zoom due to the pandemic, I was able to grow and develop as both a scholar and an artist. I’m more motivated and excel around supportive and encouraging communities and because that’s the environment and community that the English department at the U of I values and practices, I grew and developed a great deal, often in surprising and unexpected ways. It didn’t matter to my fellow students and professors that I was an older student and was not an English major when I started. Mostly, I was accepted, anyway, despite my differences.
When your main professor looks at your thesis draft and says, “This is really good writing,” or when your poetry professor tells you your “secret sauce” is writing about the mundane and every day in powerful ways, or when one of your hugely talented classmates rushes over to you and says, “Your presentation was so f****** good!”, it makes you want to do better and perform at a high level. I learned that I could write poetry! In other words, I learned that I could be both an artist and a scholar and was effectively trained to be both. My only regret is: why didn’t I do it earlier?”
Riley Ballard ‘21 (Currently an Assistant Director of Admissions for The University of Idaho, based in Seattle, Washington)
The University of Idaho’s English M.A. program has been incredibly meaningful to me and my work, not just in the sense of utility, but in the personal and industry connections I have made through my time in Moscow. While I look back fondly on all my classes and other work at U of I, I find my coursework and collaboration with Professors Erin James, Zachery Turpin, Barb Kirchmeier, Karen Thompson, and Tara MacDonald to have been especially useful in understanding the fields of literature, professional writing, and tertiary English instruction. Courses in 19th-century literature, ecocriticism, postcolonial studies, and composition instruction figure among the highlights, looking back. As I now work in admissions, I find myself using professional writing skills, classroom management, and messaging practices daily while working with a broad spectrum of stakeholders and external audiences. I also use the network I developed with my former cohort and colleagues to gain insight on the University of Idaho’s programs and offerings, as well as to new developments in the Higher Education industry at large. In short, the MA-English program at U of I not only prepared me to research, write, publish, teach, and collaborate, but it also set me up with a very flexible set of transferable skills and connections which are useful across contexts.
Michael Decker, ‘21 (Currently the Director of Graduate Student Support Programming at the University of Idaho)
The University of Idaho English M.A. program has been hugely beneficial to me in my personal and professional development. As a fully funded teaching assistant, I learned critical professional skills that have carried over into a career in academic administration as a director in U of I’s College of Graduate Studies. I now not only direct student support services at the graduate level, but I also teach grant writing and prestigious fellowship application support courses to undergraduate seniors and early-career graduate students. The writing skills and experience I gained working on NSF funded projects were critical to forming the foundation of my current career. I also took part in projects that shaped my worldview, like documenting the absence of mountain caribou in Northern Idaho and historicizing fire lookout towers to better understand changing environmental attitudes and policy in the American West. It is the U of I English department's willingness to reimagine what an English MA can be that I feel is most valuable. I cannot recommend program enough and encourage anyone with relevant interests to apply.