Program of the Month Q&A: English Alum Sarah Kinne ’14
English program alumna Sarah Kinne ’14 currently works as a teaching assistant at the Northeastern University School of Law, in addition to being a staff assistant specialist for the Office for Scholarly Communication at Harvard University Libraries. After completing her B.A. in English at Medaille College, she furthered her concentration by earning an M.A. in English composition and rhetoric from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2016. Here, Kinne reflects on her time at Medaille and discusses how her undergraduate courses and English degrees prepared her for her current positions.
What led to your decision to earn a B.A. in English?
After trying out some courses in the biology and veterinary technology programs, I realized that the classes I enjoyed the most were those that challenged me to think outside of the box. I longed to explore new fields of study I hadn't been exposed to, and to delve both broadly and deeply. The English B.A. program gave me just that opportunity – to earn credits in humanities, social sciences and yes, even hard sciences! Some of my favorite courses were the electives that perfectly complemented my major courses: Intercultural Communication with Dr. Patrick Fazioli and the famous “City Class” with Dr. Gerald Erion.
Briefly describe your experience in your courses and in the English program at Medaille.
If I had to sum up my experience at Medaille in a few words, I would say “expect the unexpected.” Even courses that I expected not to enjoy ended up thoroughly engaging me, often in ways I hadn't anticipated. I never thought that studying urban water management through the lens of human rights, with Dr. Robert Johnson, would eventually have a profound effect on the topic of my M.A. thesis; yet, in reviewing my work on teaching first-year composition with science journalism, the influence is undeniable. Medaille's faculty, English and otherwise, encouraged me to push myself to new limits, discover and develop new interests, and above all, persevere.
What is your favorite memory from the time you spent in the program?
One of my fondest memories from my time at Medaille is working with Starcherone Books under the expert mentorship of Dr. Ted Pelton. I began working at Starcherone as an intern and continued as an editor. Working with a small press allowed me to gain a unique glimpse of the publishing industry. I worked on copyediting, sales, inventory, nonprofit management and more. I had the great privilege of attending the Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference twice with Starcherone, which proved to be equal parts fun and relentless work.
Describe your experience in managing, editing and being published in Prelude, Medaille’s annual literary magazine.
I'm incredibly happy to see Prelude – both the literary magazine itself as well as the club – thriving and flourishing since I graduated from Medaille, thanks to the guidance of Dr. Terri Borchers and Dr. Mary Louise Hill. Managing Prelude was both rewarding and humbling. It's incredibly gratifying to see the fruits of your labors manifested into a tangible book, and it was an honor and privilege to help amplify the voices of Medaille's student and staff writers.
How do you use the knowledge and skills you learned in the English program at Medaille in your current work?
My undergraduate education gave me an unparalleled foundation in interdisciplinary thinking and problem solving, which has proven instrumental to both my graduate studies in composition pedagogy and my current work in scholarly communications. I firmly believe that the world's most pressing problems won't be solved by scientists, lawyers, teachers or anyone else alone, but by those people who can understand and solve problems across the boundaries of disciplines and cultures. Every day I utilize close reading, writing, project management and interpersonal communication skills, all of which were developed at Medaille.
Jennifer Graesser ’14, ’15 uses the skills she learned at Medaille on a daily basis in her role as director of finance for WKBW-TV.
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