Kylee Wheeler-A Future Teacher Looking to Inspire the Next Generation of World Changers

Faculty Shout-Out from Dr. Hui-Ling Malone: “I’ve had the pleasure of having Kylee in three of my courses this year. Despite two of the courses being mostly on Zoom, Kylee brought great energy every time! She was deeply invested in learning and engaging even when it was difficult (for example, the horror she did not want to write, but did great!). She also helped put together our class book. I appreciate Kylee’s enthusiasm and commitment to educational equity. I know she will make a great teacher!”

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

Inspirational. Wonderful. Not long enough. I would not be the person I am today without the MSU English Department. The classes I’ve taken and the people I’ve met have all helped me grow exponentially. This program is such a positive influence in my life and I’m sad to say goodbye, but excited to see the next chapter of my life unfold from the experiences I made here.

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

Out of all of my professors, Dr. Hui-Ling Malone definitely stands at the top. I was lucky enough to take three classes with her in one year, and I honestly wish I could’ve taken more! Her English classes emphasize the important parts of the language- communication and community. Writing is about telling a story, not just having the perfect grammar, and I have her to thank for reminding me that. Through the College of Education, Dr. Joanne Marciano will always be the light that inspired me even further to be the best teacher I can be. I cannot wait to have more classes with her as I continue my studies as an English Education Intern.

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

Make connections! Reach out to your fellow classmates, your cohort, and especially your professors! My English Education cohort is full of the most amazing people I have ever met, and I definitely would not have the same college experience had I not gotten so close with all of them. English professors are sensational. Get to know them personally, ask your professors questions, and really take advantage of the opportunities you have here at MSU. You’re taking classes with some of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet- students and teachers!

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

In English 413 with Dr. Hui-Ling Malone, we’re constantly creating. We’re writing short story pieces, creating websites, and I am in a small group of students compiling our writings into a book. We cover seven genres of writing, and write a piece for each one. At the end, we choose one piece to publish. It’s intimidating, but invigorating to know that my writing could be read all over the world. This class truly reminded me how much I enjoy writing, and has inspired me to write outside of our class requirements, especially through poetry. Similarly, over the past year I have been working extensively to build my repertoire of lesson and unit plans that emphasize community and creativity. I am incredibly passionate about teaching lessons that are not only engaging, but welcoming.

What are your hopes and aspirations, post-graduation?

Next year, I will be moving to Grand Rapids to complete my English Education internship year. I will be working in a secondary English classroom and cannot wait! I absolutely love teaching and am so excited to pursue this career post-graduation. I hope to use my classroom to inspire the next generation of world changers, and make the world a better place one novel at a time.

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?

The pandemic impacted everyone globally, and moving back home after my first year on campus was the last thing I wanted to do. During the quarantine period, Zoom was my best friend. I would Zoom my friends constantly to keep up with them. Zoom gave a sense of normalcy attending class because you could interact with people freely- and always made sure I kept my camera on. Now back on campus, I appreciate my in-person classes even more than before. I have so many friends in my classes and I missed being able to be present with them. The sense of community is stronger now, I believe, because people felt so isolated for a long time. Reach out to your friends and family to remind them (and yourself) how much you appreciate them. You don’t know for certain if it will be one day or one year before you see them next.