Community Literacy Activism
I have had several opportunities to participate in university and community service while at TCU, FSU, and PSU. My brief tenure as a student member of the John V. Roach Honors College internal review team gave me a broader perspective on the administrative side of universities and the challenges facing universities today in a changing landscape of higher education. While at Florida State, my work in the College Composition Committee allowed me to learn about the decisions made in the running of a composition program. During my time on the committee, I helped revitalize the Inkwell, a teaching resource for graduate students, and chose a new textbook for ENC 2135: Research, Genre, and Context. Similarly, while on the Reading-Writing Center and Digital Studio Committee, I planned activities for the "National Day on Writing" to engage students with writing and the resources available on campus to support their writing and composing. Additionally, I worked to establish a mission statement for the Digital Studio, and gained insight into administrative philosophies and the work of writing center directors.
I believe that my learning and service shouldn't stop when I leave the college campus. My passion for community literacy and service is predicated on a personal conviction in the ethical imperative to give back as composition
instructors and the scholarship of community literacy activists like Ellen Cushman and Michelle Kells. I have enacted this belief through several avenues. While in Fort Worth, Texas, I worked with Catholic Charities to assist with adult ESL literacy classes for refugees in the community. I learned much from the experience and the lives of the students from Nepal, Bhutan, Rwanda, and Iraq that I had the privilege to work with. Helping facilitate their transition into American culture and confronting language barriers made me consider the ways in which our legal and economic structures encourage and restrict diversity. The work done by the host organization Catholic Charities is designed to empower refugees to assimilate successfully in our community, and my participation forced me to confront the challenges and complexities of community literacy education.
While in Tallahassee, I volunteered with the Literacy Volunteers of Leon County to tutor adult ESL classes, and served as an after-school school tutor through a community literacy program for children. In State College, I currently volunteer with Global Connections and Mid-State Literacy Council, where I teach an "Intermediate English" course to adult learners. My personal approach to life can be best expressed through three ideas: love others well, accept all things with joy, and live deliberately. I came to these ideas through three texts: The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis, No Greater Love by Mother Teresa, and Walden by Henry David Thoreau. Each of these ideas underscores my understanding of the critical importance of service inside and especially outside of the university.