Faculty Shout-out by Dr. Bill Johnsen: “Sabrina excelled in courses very different from each other in size, focus, national tradition, and above all, venue, writing and reading with precision and understanding in class, in Ireland on a study abroad program, and now at home. She will be a great classroom teacher for yet another reason: on a walking tour in Dublin I looked down to avoid making our speaker nervous. One pair of feet had naturally assumed first position, indicating a long training in classical dance: hers. We have learned this term how important presence is to our teaching. I wish I had her poise, I wish I had studied dance.”
How would you describe your time as an English or Film Studies major at MSU?
My time as an English major at MSU is exactly what my high school self imagined it would be. I was always reading books and plays by amazing authors, writing papers and analyzing passages. Being an English major led me to meet some lovely professors at the University and learn about the many opportunities an English degree can bring me.
Which classes, instructors, or experiences particularly stand out for you and why? How did they prepare you for the next phase of your life?
The experience that stood out to me the most was my study abroad in Dublin Ireland with Professor William Johnsen. I was able to read literature in the same city it was written in and Professor Johnsen also brought in many of the authors we were reading which led me to have more of a connection with the assigned works. The study abroad experience, especially with Professor Johnsen, helped me to truly immerse myself in a new culture. He would always tell us to “Find our own Ireland.” Hearing this encouraged me to experience more things that I could have ever imagined in one summer to help me grow as a student and as an independent person.
What advice would you give future English or Film Studies majors, based on your experiences in the department?
My advice to future students is to take every opportunity that comes your way. Each one of them brings your experiences, connections and knowledge you may never find anywhere else!
What coursework-related projects were/are you working on this year, and what interests or excites you about them?
This year I have been doing my capstone project on Walt Whitman and the theme of race within his works. He is a huge influence in the world of literature to its very interesting to dig deep into his work and his life.
What are your hopes and aspirations, post-graduation?
My aspirations for post-graduation are to get a job teaching high school English and travel the world. My biggest goal is to teach in Europe one day.
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?
The strangest experience being a graduating senior during this local and global crisis would probably be missing all of my lasts in East Lansing. While this is all being done in the best interest of students, faculty and residents, it’s still sad to think I watched my friends get the full senior year experience last year but I don’t get to do that. I have to attend lectures on my laptop from my house in Chicago and cannot go anywhere that is not deemed essential by the government.