Major: English (AoE Creative Writing)
Minors: Appalachian Music and Appalachian Studies
Hometown: Morgantown, WV
How did you choose your major?
I chose my English major because it allows me to pursue my many passions through reading, writing, and creativity while also giving me a strong disciplinary foundation to build on.
How would you explain your major to a new WVU student? What advice would you give them?
My English major is very personalized. While there are a number of required classes you have to take for the major, you often have options on what those are and you can take whichever ones sound most interesting to you. And then there are plenty of exciting electives, English or otherwise. My advice to new students would be to take plenty of elective classes—some of my favorite classes have been elective classes on interesting and unexpected subjects. Also, don’t be afraid to speak up in classes, even if you don’t have anything profound to say! Classes often thrive off class discussion and everybody gets so much out of them.
How has your major prepared you for your future career?
Although I’m aware there are grad programs and careers in the fields I am interested in, such as English, Appalachian Studies, and music, I want to do some hands-on work and see the world after I finish my bachelor’s degree. I plan to seek out culture-bearers of Appalachian traditions such as music, folk medicine, and storytelling and learn from them, using my education in English and Appalachian Studies to help me innovate, share, and carry on these traditions.
How have you changed since your first year at WVU?
I feel like I’ve found a way to synthesize all of my interests and passions into meaningful work. I grew up thinking that I would have to give up a lot of my passions in order to focus on just one in college. Instead, I’ve found the ways all of my passions are connected and how they deepen the more I continue to pursue them. I’m grateful for the wonderful community of mentors and peers who encourage me in all my nerdiness.
What was your most memorable moment at WVU?
One of the most memorable moments I’ve had at WVU was when me and a few classmates got to present at the Appalachian Studies Association conference in March 2022. The previous spring, we were all in an Appalachian Literature class taught by Dr. Ann Pancake where we explored the connection Appalachians’ have to their environment. At the conference, we presented our final projects from that class, expressing our own grief, love, and hope for Appalachia. Some of us read original poetry and prose, and I performed original songs I wrote inspired by some of the readings we did in class.