Your Place for News!
your intrepid Program Assistant, has conducted in-depth interviews full of
hard-hitting and informative questions to our department chair, Dean Rader and
graduating senior Taylor Pennewell. As always, I ask the stuff that you want to
Q. So you are a Senior standing English
major, Dual Degree student, Honors Program student, and President of Sigma Tau
Delta, how does it feel to have absolutely no life whatsoever?
A. It feels busy. Every day is a new lesson in maintaining
balance and learning how to organize myself. No matter how busy I get though, I
remind myself that I am doing exactly what I love to do, and that is usually enough
to keep me going. That, and a lot of
Q. Now that the impetus is strong to
change the name of the Washington Redskins, should STD get a new moniker?
A. You know, I think the moniker STD
reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously. It’s quite humbling to see “STD
meeting” on the list of school events on the Student Life and Engagement
website and think, “yup, that’s me, running the STD meeting.” I remember one of our members once walked
into a room of male students and asked them if the room they were in was the
location of the STD meeting, only to have the boys stare back at her in horror,
probably wondering what she had contracted.
If that isn’t a reminder to embrace the humor in life I don’t know what
Q. What has the English major meant to
A. The most important
lesson I am taking away from the major is the importance of clear, effective
communication. This lesson permeates
every aspect of my life, from the way I communicate with myself, my friends,
and with my future students. If I could sum up what the major has taught me, it
is that reading, writing, and bouncing ideas off of others is the best way to
gain insight into my own thoughts and communication skills.
Q. If you were going to be a Freshman next
year, what would you like to see the department offer as far as classes,
events, programs, etc.?
A. I would like to see
some more opportunities to study literary theory. I think that theory can give beginning
English students a gateway into material that might not be accessible
otherwise. It really challenges students to take on new critical lenses in a
way that can only benefit a student’s capacity to think deeply. I would also love the department to offer
more focused classes, meaning whole classes dedicated to a specific author or
theme. For me, the ideal class would be an entire class of David Foster Wallace
Q. Favorite holiday?
A. Thanksgiving. I love the food, the weather, the family
time, the chance to catch up on sleep before finals.
Q. Favorite Song the year you were born
A. “Under the Bridge” by the Red Hot Chili
Peppers….well actually, the whole Blood Sugar Sex Magik album….just because.
Q. Favorite author who you only learned about while in
college? Why do you love their work?
Heineman introduced me to Faulkner my freshman year and I have never been the
same person since. I love his existential female characters, his wickedly dark
humor, and his prose. I also love his ability to seamlessly weave in and out of
the metaphysical and physical.
Q. By becoming a
teacher, are you truly a glutton for punishment?
A. Probably, but there is literarily nothing else I would
choose for my career at this point in my life.
Teaching is what I am supposed to be doing, and I am going to give it
all I’ve got. There’s also something
intrinsically political about the act of teaching that attracts me.
Q. Any last
inspirational words for the generations of majors yet to come?
A. Utilize as many resources that
the Dept. has to offer as possible, especially your professors’ office
hours. It isn’t often that you have so
much knowledge and experience at your fingertips.
Q. Cute Quota Alert: Taylor as a baby.