Fiona Graham-A Literature Student Studying Gender in Modern Historical Thrillers

Faculty Shout-out by Dr. Steve Rachman: “Fiona has taken several classes with me, and it is always a delight. She is one of the most consistent and interesting commenters on literary texts. Any teacher who has Fiona in class is lucky. She was at the center of all of our most interesting discussions. She has a mind that gravitates toward historical as well as literary research and in my class on adaptations, she created a very incisive and clever A-B-C book based on one by Hans Christian Anderson. I am sure she will do much good.”

How would you describe your time as an English or Film Studies major at MSU?

I have absolutely loved my time as an English major at MSU. It was engaging and gave me new experiences and allowed me to have conversations with people different from myself. I think this is the beauty of English because it allows for cultural literacy and communication in an open and academic forum.

Which classes, instructors, or experiences particularly stand out for you and why? How did they prepare you for the next phase of your life?

Professor Rachman’s classes are unlike any other I have taken. His ability to generate hard hitting questions that left me thinking for days was incredible. He asks not just about the readings he offers, but about the world as a whole. In this way, he prepared me to look at people and life in a new sense and to always question and consider my surroundings and place.

What advice would you give future English or Film Studies majors, based on your experiences in the department?

Always do the readings even if they seem difficult. Even just an attempt can teach you about something you had never considered. Also, do not be afraid to offer your opinion because it can lead to amazing conversations.

What coursework-related projects were/are you working on this year, and what interests or excites you about them?

I wrote my capstone research paper about women in modern historical thrillers. I am fascinated and encouraged by the ever increasing presence of strong lead female characters in roles never expected for them. Women are rising as leaders and it is so exciting to watch through literature and film.

What are your hopes and aspirations, post-graduation?

While I am not quite sure of where my path is going next, I am excited to explore the possibilities this degree offers me. I want to teach about the wonders of literature and history, so perhaps I will find myself in education.

If you’re interested in doing so, please reflect a bit on the strange experience of being a graduating senior during the ongoing pandemic. What resources have been most useful to you in navigating this unprecedented situation?

Graduating in the midst of a pandemic is no better described than bittersweet. I have been mourning the loss of my brief time on this beautiful campus, a place I now consider a second home. At the same time, I feel overjoyed at the moments I did get to spend here, and I am excited to see what is next in my life. For me, the most useful resource during this time has been my advisors in the English department. They encouraged me to persevere and were always there to quell my anxieties when things started to feel overwhelming.