in this issue

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9

News & Events

English Expo a Success

Eclectic Release Party

Undergrad Conference

Bridging Distances, One Classroom at a Time

Toto Pulls Curtain on Hipchen

People News

Prof. Reinhard Retiring

In Memoriam: Dr. James W. Mathews

Paul Guest Wins Whiting

English Graduate Chooses a Masters Program

National Magazine Publishes Larrew

Kendra Parker Accepted for Ph.D. Program

Student Poets Garner National Acclaim

Students Share Their Conference Experiences

Student Work Accepted at National Conference

Hultquist Joins Faculty

In Every Issue

Job Spotlight on Amy Lavender

Cheers

Course Descriptions

Summer 2008

Fall 2008

 

 

Job Spotlight on Amy Lavendar

   
When I was an undergrad English major, I had a hard time justifying my department choice. People would ask if I planned on teaching. When I told them no, they would ask, “So, what are you going to do?”

Unfortunately, for a long time I didn't have an answer. Then, after my first stint as an assistant editor for Eclectic, I thought I had found my calling: editing. Of course, I didn't know what I was going to be an editor of at the time, but when people asked me that age-old question, at least I had an answer that would satisfy their curiosity.

Even though I had decided to be an editor, I had no idea how to go about becoming one. But I did what I could to move in that direction by working for the school newspaper and enrolling in a technical writing class and two editing classes.

After I graduated, I started applying for jobs—anything that was even remotely related to my field, whether or not experience was required. Bracing for a potentially lengthy job search, I became certified to substitute teach—grudgingly, as I was extremely reluctant to prove all those people right who thought teaching was all you could do with an English degree. You can imagine my relief when my first phone call was from a potential employer rather than the county school system.

Thankfully, within a couple of months, I became a copy editor/page designer for the Brunswick News all
  the way down on the Georgia Coast. The advertisement: “a copy editor/page designer (who wants to live by the beach)” was enough to lure me away from home for a while.

I quickly found out that there is no longer such a thing as a copy desk where a team of nit-picking language gurus sit and comb through stories. Instead, today's copy editor edits stories then places them on the page—preferably in an attractive fashion—using a program like Quark or InDesign. In Brunswick, I decided which stories the paper would feature on their nation and world pages and then designed those pages. Luckily, I already knew AP style, so it wasn't a complete crash course, but it was close. I learned a great deal in a short amount of time and after eight months at my entry-level position, I was tired of going to the beach every weekend and decided I would rather work closer to home.

So, my search began once again and, by chance, landed me right next door to my alma mater. Now, I attend grad school while holding down my 9 to 5 as a Weeklies Editor for the Times-Georgian, where I edit about 16 stories a week, design three weekly papers from cover to cover, handle contributed material, and even blow off a little steam by writing an opinion column. I also get the chance to be actively involved in the community, travel a bit, meet a lot of people, and learn about a range of topics from government resolutions to criminal trials.

For someone who's not cut out for teaching—and I have no problem admitting that I'm one of these someones—I'd say this is a pretty fair trade.

—Amy Lavender

Decisions, Decisions: English Graduate Chooses a Masters Program
.
Since graduation in 2006, I have been working at Mill Creek High School, the largest high school in Georgia with more than 4000 students. I am one of thirty-five language-arts teachers, and am currently teaching Junior Honors Language Arts and Senior College Prep Language Arts.

Although my time at Mill Creek has been nothing short of ideal, I wished for more. During my time at West Georgia, I had discovered a strong passion for research. But I also enjoyed teaching; so, what could I do that incorporated the best of both worlds? Going back to school to become a college professor.

I mulled over the options, weighing the pros and cons of continuing to teach high school or pursuing my ultimate career goal. After much thought, I decided to apply while I am still in the research-loving mindset and relatively free from responsibilities. With the encouragement from my mother, friends, and family, I accumulated as much information as I could over the summer and whittled my list down to a handful of schools—some with a terminal masters degree, others with doctoral programs, some with huge enrollments, others with a more intimate setting, some nationally ranked programs . . . you get the picture. I found that one of the most valuable tools of the information age is a school website. When looking over a school’s or department’s website, I tried to take note of: faculty (size, publishing, age,
  areas of expertise), admission criteria, course offerings, and funding. I decided on my short-list of schools (Mississippi State University, Miami University of Ohio, the University of Nebraska, Clemson, the University of Tennessee, and Texas A&M) and started the application process— investigating deadlines, ordering transcripts, taking the GRE (maybe even a few times), lining up professors to write letters of recommendation, writing the personal statement, polishing and perfecting a writing sample—nearly a full-time job in itself. Then I waited, checking the mail daily for an envelope on university letterhead. And finally, all the hours of searching, writing, rewriting, editing, checking, and hoping paid off: I received not one but two letters that started with “Congratulations!” What a pleasant predicament to face. I had to select either Texas A&M or Miami University of Ohio.

On one hand, I could choose a gorgeous liberal-arts college in rural Ohio, nationally ranked and similar to UWG in many respects; on the other, I had the option of going to one of the largest schools in the country, steeped in resources with a slightly better funding package and ranking. Considering all of the above criteria and qualities such as cost of living, weather, and access to cultural events, I decided that Texas A&M seemed to offer what I needed. I look forward to my graduate studies at A&M, and I thank the West Georgia English department for its exceptional instruction and continual encouragement.

—Chris Alexander