Faculty Shout-out by Dr. Kate Birdsall: “Katlyn is hardworking and committed to bringing her characters to life on the page. She understands how powerful the written word is and strives to communicate difficult emotions and experiences in her writing. Working with her on her senior capstone project was an absolute pleasure.”
How would you describe your time as an English or Film Studies major at MSU?
My time at MSU as an English major was an amazing experience. I met many students and professors that not only helped me pursue my writing degree but inspired me to push my writing further and expand my writing capabilities. I felt as if the English degree’s atmosphere was extremely inviting and so diverse. People are open to new ideas and critiques, it was as if we were a family comfortable enough to tell each other anything.
Which classes, instructors, or experiences particularly stand out for you and why? How did they prepare you for the next phase of your life?
Kate Birdsall and Robin Silbergleid are the two professors that I can easily say have helped me the most with my degree. In their classes it was a no judgement zone. I could tell that they love their job and are eager to push their students to the limits which overall made me a better writer. Kate helped me with starting my first novel and it was an experience I will never forget. Robin’s particular field of non-fiction opened my mind up to new possibilities. Both of these wonderful women have seen me go through rough times during my years in this degree. They have helped me get through it by allowing me to write my troubles down on paper for assignments in their classes. As a writer, they have guided me in my next phases of life by showing me I am good enough, and that has led me to learn my true passions. In a personal way they have also found ways to guide me even if they don’t know it. They both pushed me to my limits and held my hand as I tiptoed outside of my comfort zone. This has already translated to more than my writing but guiding me into this scary world people call adulthood.
What advice would you give future English or Film Studies majors, based on your experiences in the department?
I would say from an English majors perspective that this department is the most welcoming. No matter where you come from, your background or your writing skills, people will welcome you with open arms and will ride the crazy rollercoaster called college with you. I would also like to mention that it is a hard degree, but the pay off is unimaginable. You will learn things about yourself that you never would have thought of. You will find others with your passions and it will feel like walking into a family.
What coursework-related projects were/are you working on this year, and what interests or excites you about them?
As I am finishing up my degree, in the fall of 2019 I was completing my capstone by writing a long piece of fiction with Kate Birdsall. This piece stemmed from a short story I wrote in 2018 and I wanted to make it into a novel. The whole process was exciting because it was my first time ever writing something longer than four pages. I loved learning how to write a novel because it’s almost like a science. A writer must follow an equation to make their story successful and it was something I never knew till that course.
What are your hopes and aspirations, post-graduation?
I hope to find something starting off in a writing position. With not much experience and no internships under my belt, I would love to have the chance to prove I am good enough. I will also continuing writing my novel. Whether it amounts to something is still to be determined but I know it will overall guide me in writing others. My end goal that I hope to achieve is writing for a gaming company. To be writing story plots for future games is my dream.