Assistant Professor of Writing
Writing Program Director
Last year I experienced extreme bouts of low energy, but I wasn’t sure what was wrong with me. Most people feel tired these days so I assumed it was nothing out of the ordinary, but after many months of sleeping 12 hours or more a day deep down I knew something was off. On a hunch, my doctor ordered a test of my calcium levels as an indicator of my parathyroid function, and sure enough, my levels were abnormal. After numerous appointments and even more tests, I found out that there was a benign tumor on my parathyroid, which is in the throat, that was negatively affecting my calcium levels, thus sapping my energy. I underwent surgery to remove the tumor, and everything went well.
Not long after the surgery, I felt an immediate flood of energy that has yet to subside. Now I’m back to my old, determined self. I’m teaching five classes this semester, working with five undergraduates on directed studies, supervising three graduate students with their research, and overseeing one student practicum. On top of that I’m managing the Effective Communication Center, serving on 4 committees, representing the newly formed Debate Club as the faculty advisor, and planning the January 2017 travel course to Iceland. Not to mention the paper grading! But here’s the thing, I’m secretly loving every single minute of it because my voice is strong and loud once again, and there’s nothing I like to do more than advocate for my students.
I am a naturally outspoken, difficult, articulate, intelligent, persistent human being, but all my life, I was told to be something different. My parents (oh, how I feel sorry for them) wanted me to be a “nice,” Midwestern girl with blonde hair and big blue eyes, who didn’t ask questions and always did what she was told, but they were in for a big surprise. I was always bugging them about things, and often, despite their tremendous intelligence, my parents did not have the answers. I can’t tell you how many times they would throw up their arms in exasperation at having a curious child who wouldn’t give up until she found a satisfactory answer. I imagine some of my colleagues feel the same way they did.
But, the world needs to hear my voice, whether they like it or not, because it is my voice and there is no other one like it. My greatest hope is that every one of my students and colleagues finds their own voice too and recognizes, if they haven’t already, that their voice is just as valuable as mine. Speak your truth. Take a chance. Inspire others. What’s your next Move?