Faculty Shout-out by Dr. Bill Johnsen: “Abigail Scott has been a great student at MSU, inside and outside the classroom, but everyone knows that. I can tell you that she is a great Irish woman, for I saw Irish writers and countless hosts for our summer program respond to her buoyant and engaged interest in Ireland, happy to claim her back as one of theirs.”
Faculty Shout-out by Dr. Tamar Boyadjian: “I am so pleased and honored to say how much I have enjoyed having Abigail as a student in several of my classes. Abigail is a passionate and dedicated learner. From my wonderful experiences with her, I will always remember that she brings to the classroom insightful thought, compassion, and a perspective that requires students to look beyond themselves to the viewpoint of others around them. One noteworthy memory I have is when Abigail was a student in my introductory to poetry course. She excelled at some of the hardest assignments in this class -one of which, was composing a beautiful poem in iambic tetrameter. I wish Abigail the best of luck, and am certain that her future endeavors will be nothing but a success. We will be proud to say that Abigail was a graduate of our English department at MSU.”
How would you describe your time as an English or Film Studies major at MSU?
My experience has been enriching and life changing. Not only have my writing and communicating skills developed over these past four years, but my studies and experiences have helped transform me from who I was my freshman year. The relationships that I formed with the English Department professors and faculty have helped me achieve goals that I set for myself, which has enabled me to grow professionally, but also personally, which can sometimes be neglected in our busy lives.
Which classes, instructors, or experiences particularly stand out for you and why? How did they prepare you for the next phase of your life?
Dr. William Johnsen has been an important figure to my education for the past two years.
I had the pleasure of being challenged in his class focusing on Virginia Woolf, and it was in this class that I learned he was going to be the faculty leader for the summer 2019 Literary Studies in Dublin program. This was a program I had dreamed of going on since 8th grade, and part of the reason why I chose to study at MSU, so I knew that our relationship would only become more fundamental to my education. Studying Irish Literature in the country that nurtured writers such as William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, and Anne Enright was an experience that I have never been able to describe as well as I wish I could. I do know though that it will be one that I am forever grateful for, as I was able to learn more about Irish Literature and the impacts it has on literature as a whole. Dr. Johnsen is also now serving as my English Senior Thesis adviser and I couldn’t be more thankful for his guidance and knowledge.
My classes with Dr. Tamar Boyadjian, Dr. Robin Silbergleid, and Dr. Margot Valles are also ones that stand out fondly when I reflect on my time at MSU. They taught courses that focused on various topics, such as the Crusades, motherhood, and Arthurian Legend, and expanded my understanding of literature and different perspectives.
What advice would you give future English or Film Studies majors, based on your experiences in the department?
The importance of establishing relationships with your professors can’t be stressed enough. Networking with professionals in college, especially faculty members, is essential as they will become priceless resources. Not only can they offer you class advice, but they can provide you with valuable information about life and what it looks like after graduation, such as career paths to pursue. I promise they want to see you succeed both in and outside of the classroom.
Don’t limit yourself. Being an English teacher is a valuable and necessary profession, but studying English is wonderful because the skills are applicable to so many other career fields. Follow your interests and know that studying the humanities is still incredibly valuable. Eventually you will discover how the talents that you acquired through attaining an English degree can be applied to various career opportunities.
What coursework-related projects were/are you working on this year, and what interests or excites you about them?
After studying abroad in Ireland, I was able to use what I learned while on the program to help me write my English Senior Thesis, which is focusing on the Irish Literary Revival and Irish myth. Over the past four years, many of my class projects have focused on Irish Literature or culture, so being able to write this thesis that allows me to combine both facets is incredibly rewarding.
What are your hopes and aspirations, post-graduation?
While I wish I had a definite answer, my current plans are to pursue a job in the
communications field upon graduation. My time at MSU has instilled in me a passion to make change, so I hope I’m able to use the skills and knowledge that I acquired to continue doing this for a company and the community that I move to.
I also hope to continue feeding my passion for Irish Literature, whether that be through finally finishing Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce or reading more contemporary works.
Please reflect a bit on the strange experience of being a graduating senior during this moment of local and global crisis. What resources have been most useful to you in navigating this unprecedented situation?
I would be dishonest if I said that I wasn’t saddened that my time at MSU has ended in this way. I thought that I had at least a month and a half to prepare myself for the goodbyes that I had to say and for life after graduation. Graduating seniors are entering a job market that is incredibly uncertain, and I still don’t think I have prepared myself for the reality of this yet. However, I have found that my weekly Zoom calls with classmates and colleagues at my internship with the College of Arts & Letters Excel Network have helped me still feel connected to MSU despite not being on campus. They’ve reminded me that we are all in this together, and it is together that we will come out of this.