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In Our Own Words

“In Our Own Words” features blogs written by English Majors at the University of Tennessee about their experiences.

Clay Jeffries with Lin Manuel-MirandaE.B. White once said that no one should come to New York unless they are very lucky. Through the University of Tennessee, I had the opportunity to go on a trip to New York City December 11-21 for a course titled, Drama in New York, and I feel very, very lucky. The course allowed me to see eight shows and journal about my experience, with a research component due the following semester—and by doing this I will attain a three-hour course credit for an upper-level English class. From the moment I stepped into the city, I knew this was going to be a special place for me. I felt at home in a city that was 890 miles away. What I didn’t know was that the next ten days were going to be some of the best (if not the best) days of my life. [read more]


Becca Payton Discusses Planning the Human Trafficking on Rocky Top Event

Gerda Mayo, Terry Morgan (of the East Tennessee Women’s Fund), Sarah Primm, Becca Payton, and Ben Riggle.As an English major, I am learning to get inside a text: to understand its hidden meanings, find symbols, make connections, and analyze its implications. However, this semester we went outside the text. In English 411, my classmates and I took 18thcentury literature and made it apply to today’s world. Oronooko, a piece about slavery, translated into an event on human trafficking in Knoxville. Over 300 people attended the event, and as I stood in the back of the packed room and watched, I realized that this was the purpose of college. Not only has the English department given me the best professors from whom I learn about novels and poems, but it has given me the professors from whom I learn about the world and myself. My professors in this department have taught me that college isn’t only about expanding your knowledge of literature but expanding your mind. [read more]

From Prose to Policy: Olivia Crowe Discusses Her Congressional Internship & Study Abroad

“For your midterm, I want an 8 page-single-spaced paper on national security policy and how it compares to domestic policy–no sources or citations should be used.” This was a real-life assignment that I recently lived through, folks.

 Olivia Crowe with Gov. Haslam

It’s hard to believe that last year about this time I was delving into the works of Cormac McCarthy with Dr. Hardwig and refining my poetic skills with Dr. Kallet. Fast forward a year later, and I am delving into foreign policy and discussing why Congress is at gridlock.

I was nervous to begin working towards my Masters in Public Policy and Administration and for good reason. Unlike my colleagues, I had never taken a political science course. Although I was intimidated at first, I quickly realized that my English and Theatre undergraduate degree (sprinkled with life experience) was causing me to excel in graduate school. I have learned that you can connect and apply almost every skill that you learn throughout your personal journey. [Read more]


Olivia Hysinger Discusses Her Experience in Dr. Anderson’s “Coffeehouse” Course

My experience in Dr. Anderson’s English 411 class has been so wonderful! The class has really demonstrated the “hands-on” side of being an English major, and it changed my entire perception of the program. The class is deemed the “Coffeehouse” class because once every three weeks we meet at The Golden Roast with a small group to discuss literature in a setting that would be similar to something actually found in the 18th century. By putting ourselves in the shoes of individuals from the time period that we are studying, I feel as if we are able to better understand the context for all of the material that we’ve been working with throughout the entire semester. Plus, who doesn’t love the opportunity to drink coffee and discuss great literature at 9 in the morning with some great friends? [read more]

Claire Dodson’s Summer Internship in NYC

“So are you going to teach with that, or what?”

Senior Claire Dodson in NYC

I probably don’t have to say the statement that provokes this question, as it is one that every English major I know has been asked. Teaching is what’s expected of most humanities majors, and it’s highly respectable, though not everyone (myself included) can teach. I’ve had the same major since I was a freshman, but the past three years have been as much of an exploration career-wise as if I had come in undecided.

Not having the constriction of a straight-to-job path like pre-med or engineering, I had the freedom and time to discover my passion, while English gave me the critical thinking and writing skills to succeed in a variety of fields. I’ve had the fantastic opportunity to work at The Daily Beacon as the Arts & Culture Editor, and this year, as Editor-in-Chief. I’ve interned at a non-profit in Nashville and a software company near Oak Ridge. Last spring, I worked with Attack Monkey Productions, the music management company that puts together the annual Rhythm ‘N Blooms Festival downtown [read more].

Elise Heuberger’s Congressional Internship

Elise H

This summer, I interned for ten weeks in the Washington, D.C. office of Senator Lamar Alexander. I applied for the internship through UT’s Congressional Internship program, which I highly recommend for anyone with an interest in government, public policy, or legislation. As an intern, I answered phone calls from constituents, gave tours of the Capitol building, attended events with Senators and their staff members, compiled daily press clippings for the Senator, attended committee hearings, transcribed speeches, and wrote memos [read more]

Katherine Frazier’s “In My Own Words: Rome Edition”

To study abroad or not study abroad, that was the question.  However, for me personally, it was never a question.  Ever since I was in high school, I knew that studying abroad was something I had to do while I was in college.  I dreamt of studying in Europe, having the best time of my life, traveling, writing, taking pictures, and experiencing a different culture.  And to be sitting here now, writing about my experience and knowing that I lived in Rome for 4 months is just surreal [read more].

Luke Bell’s Winning Haiku

was sitting at the front desk of Massey Hall working as a Resident Assistant spending my summer on campus.  As I flipped between the social networking tabs on my laptop–avoiding even a moment’s glance at my Western Civilization courses—I stumbled upon a Haiku contest hosted by one of the Twitter handles I follow, USA TODAY Opinion (@USATOpinion).  USA TODAY’s editorial section was hosting a contest entitled “Haiku Your View,” and the basic rules of entry were simple. . . [read more]

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