Friday, July 24, 2015

Student Spotlight: Danielle Wright, Integrated Language Arts Major

Q: You're an Integrated Language Arts major. What drew you to ILA?

A: My junior year of high school, we were reading The Scarlet Letter. We were only a little bit through the book and I was doing the readings but I wasn't truly getting the deeper meaning. Then my teacher explained how all the things actually represented something else.
I had missed all the allusions, metaphors, and symbolism. I had never known a book could hold that much depth and craftsmanship. It was an "ah-ha" moment and all of literature sort of opened up to me and I said to myself, "If I could give that moment to even one kid, how amazing would that be?" To be the person who takes the words on the page and decodes them for others became my passion and purpose in life.

Q: What have been some of your favorite classes in the major so far and why?

A: My favorite class is easily the Shakespeare class with Dr. Weaver. There are really two reasons why this class stands apart from all the rest for me. First, before that class, my entire experience with Shakespeare consisted of flying through Hamlet my senior year of high school. I felt like an embarrassment to English nerds everywhere for not having read more of his works so getting to read half a dozen of his plays and have them explaimed at a college level was like a rite of passage for me. The second reason is because Dr. Weaver is an even bigger book nerd than I am and I love it. You get used to the funny looks people give you when you start crying or laughing or ranting because of a book. Most people don't invest themselves that fully into what they read. Dr. Weaver does and it was refreshing in a semester of mostly core courses to get that passion for the material that I strive for.

Q: What else do you do on campus and in your spare time?

A: I am an Ashbrook Scholar and I work around eight hours a week in the Center as an intern. I never meant to enjoy political science courses but the philosophy side of it is extremely interesting to me. I have also been on Student Senate for three years now and am about to start my year as the Senior Class President. I like feeling like I am making a difference on our campus and helping my fellow students. Any spare time I get between all of this and mountains of English homework is spent with my friends or watching outrageous amounts of Netflix.

Q: How are you spending your summer?

A: This summer, I got a great experience to work with a local company called Abilities in Action. Their purpose is all about helping to place people with special needs into a job that is right for them and allow people who would normally be over looked to earn a living on their own. Over the summer they have a youth program where kids 16-18 get placed in a job for one month. My role as a job coach is to transport the kids to the job site and basically make sure they are doing what they should and help explain things to them if there is a task they don't understand. I am currently with a boy and a girl doing all the weeding at a KOA campsite and it has been a real eye-opening experience. Im hoping I can use what I learn at this job and apply it in my teaching career.

Q: Can you recommend some books, whether they're old favorites or recent discoveries?

A: When people ask me what my favorite book is, I tell them to think of all the boring books they read in high school and my favorite is probably in there. I love the classics like Pride and Prejudice, The Giver, and Fahrenheit 451. My favorite is definitely Wuthering Heights. It's a tragic love story that's so twisted and dark that I couldn't put it down. As for modern books, my taste is very sporadic. I really love John Green. Even though he writes for tweens, his characters are what really draw you in to the piece. I also enjoy Stephen King novels for the same reason. His story lines are dark and exaggerated and even grotesque at times but he makes me fall in love with his characters until I have to know what happens to them.