Category Archives: Alumni Updates

Alumni Update: Genevieve Aldi

Genevieve Aldi graduated from the English Master of Arts program in the Spring of 2013, but luckily for us she never left the The College of Saint Rose community.  GA blog post pic

She is currently teaching an undergraduate English course and describes the transition from student to professor as “a strange and awesome experience…to have had professors who are now colleagues, to be imparting information rather than absorbing it.” Genevieve is also a professional tutor at Fulton-Montgomery Community College, where she works on an individual basis with students to assist with the writing process.

All of this professional work still leaves time to pursue some creative interests and long-term career goals, as Genevieve explains, “I’m also working on a number of personal writing projects. I’ve started a blog about my attempt to get healthier in terms of eating/exercise. I also have some fiction and plays in process. My next goal is to have some of my academic and creative work published.”

When asked how her experience at Saint Rose helped contribute to her success, Genevieve replies:

“I have developed and improved so much as a reader, writer, thinker and speaker as a result of my MA program. One of the greatest benefits in terms of my current teaching/tutoring career was being encouraged to examine my own processes of reading, analysis, and writing, which gave me a lot of tools to pass on to students.”

Presenting a literary research paper at a conference is one of the many opportunities that graduate students are encouraged to take advantage of during their time at Saint Rose and the faculty are more than happy to assist with this process. Genevieve describes her experience:

“I also enjoyed presenting at conferences while at St. Rose. It was great to share my ideas, and also to hear ideas from others doing work at a similar level. I came from each conference with a ton of new ideas to explore, books and resources to read, and new ways to approach concepts.”

On a final note, Genevieve acknowledges the English faculty for their dedication and insight:

“The professors in St. Rose’s English dept. are exceptional in my opinion. They all so clearly care about teaching and I learned so much from every one of them. Standout courses for me would be Imaginative Writing with Barbara Ungar, because it reignited a lost passion for and a desire to pursue creative writing (also, a play that I first drafted in this class ended up being performed in a staged reading!); Lit Theory with David Morrow because it was the inspiration for my advanced project; and Kim Middleton’s Contemporary Narrative because the literature was so rich and complex and it opened my mind to perspectives about the malleability of ‘truth’ and ‘reality.'”

Alumni Stories: Annie Wildermuth

AnnieWildermuthAfter graduating from Saint Rose, Annie Wildermuth (B.A. 2008) was accepted to Bard College’s Master of Arts in Teaching Program. Before she graduated from Bard, Annie landed a job teaching 11th grade American Literature at Mt. Everett High School in Sheffield, Massachusetts.

“I am still there,” Annie writes to us over Facebook. “In addition to teaching American Literature, I teach a Film Survey elective, based mostly off of the film classes I took while at Saint Rose, and American Sign Language 101,” also from a class from college.

We sent Annie some over our questions and, through the magic of Facebook mail, we have her answers.

Can you tell us a little about your experience at Saint Rose?

Saint Rose helped prepare me for a career in English. My professors were approachable, knowledgeable, and always accessible. What I loved most? The small class sizes. The campus, too, was easy to navigate. All around, The College of St. Rose completely accommodated my learning style. Continue reading

Hollis Seamon Upcoming Reading at Bethlehem Library

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Hollis Seamon’s forthcoming young adult novel, Somebody Up There Hates You, has received a starred advance review from Kirkus Reviews: 
Kirkus Reviews awards starts only to books of “exceptional merit.”
Hollis will be reading from her new story collection, Corporeality, at the Bethlehem Public Library on Sunday, May 19 at 2 p.m. and will be signing advance readers copies of Somebody Up There Hates You at the Algonquin Young Readers booth at Book Expo America in New York city on
                                                                              Friday, May 31, from 2-4 p.m.
Someone Up There

 

Also, one of our alums, James Smith, who has a BA and MA in English, has a very cool nonfiction piece, as a guest writer, on the website:  www.gordongrice.com . James’s essay is called “Bitten by a Beaked Snake.”

Alumni Stories: Omar Lopez

OmarLopezAfter Omar Lopez (BA English/Adolescence Education 2008) graduated from Saint Rose, he went to the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, where he studied Education Policy and Management. He then went back to New York City and taught fifth and ninth grade English in his native Brooklyn. Afterwards, he got a job as a policy analyst for a non-profit called Democrats for Education Reform, where he now works as their Director of Teacher Policy.

“How I landed in the position that I am now in is a long story that is somewhat outside of the scope of this blog post,” Omar writes. “Suffice it to say that my experience at St. Rose prepared me for it (mostly).”

Can you tell us a little about your experience at Saint Rose?

This is where I get to say what I’ve always wanted to say.

I appreciate this opportunity to describe my experience at Saint Rose in a way I don’t usually get to. Since I graduated, one of the ways that I have given back to the College is by volunteering in admissions events.

Admissions events are wonderful opportunities to share my very positive experience at the College with potential students. The downside is that admissions events are a little like first dates: you’re trying to put your best foot forward and convince your mate why they should stick around and have a long-term relationship with you. Invariably, you leave out all the nasty bits that might make them say no. There’s nothing wrong with this. It’s perfectly natural. But there are certain parts of my experience at Saint Rose that taught me a lot that aren’t necessarily attractive.

My experience at Saint Rose was somewhat unique, mostly due to circumstances out of my control. I am a person of Dominican heritage, making my dark skin an exception in the community rather than the rule as it was in my native Brooklyn. My mostly white comrades and I spent a lot of time awkwardly navigating what that meant. When is race relevant? When is it not? My racial makeup added a level of complication that was not faced by my fellow classmates, but which prepared me for the greater world, and for that I am grateful.

Moreover, my class (and those a year or two on either side) was a lively, involved bunch. I found my experience at the College to be the perfect microcosm of society. There were some people who were really involved on campus, others who couldn’t care less. There were those who were dedicated to their studies, others who saw classes as things to do between nights at the bar. And I learned to how to see value in all of them. Later classes, I came to observe, weren’t nearly as intense as mine. I was just lucky to have been part of the class that I was in.

Lastly, I had a “burn the boats” mentality when I arrived my freshman year. I knew that there was nothing for me back in Brooklyn without a bachelor’s degree. Not making it at Saint Rose was not an option for me. So, although I struggled, academically, socially, personally, economically and spiritually while I was there, not graduating was never an option. What’s more, I couldn’t just go though the motions. I was going to make the most of my time at the College, so I said yes to pretty much everything. I threw caution to the wind. Sometimes, this caused massive success. Just as often, I failed miserably, hurting myself or people around me.

Can you describe a memorable moment, professor, or course from The Saint Rose English Department?

One of my most memorable academic experiences at the College was a socialism and communism independent study I did with a handful of other students and professor Deborah Kelsh. This wasn’t an official independent study course, so it wouldn’t show up on my transcript. It was a group that came together strictly for the sake of learning.

In those small group sessions, I learned a massive amount about how to think critically. The well-worn term “paradigm shift” captures my experience, but I cringe as I type it as the image of soulless business types haunt me.

Professor Kelsh taught me to question everything. More than that, she taught me how to question everything. I learned how to analyze huge systems (societies, economies, etc.) and break them down into their most fundamental parts. All those pieces are interconnected, so she taught me how to analyze the effect that change in one part would have in another.

That’s ultimately what brought me to thinking systematically about changing the education system. It’s what I do for a living today.

I saw Professor Kelsh at an education conference last year. When I told her what I was doing for work, she was pleased, though when I told her who I was working for, she seemed less so. Ideologically, I’ve swung to the opposing side of the argument from Professor Kelsh’s for how to improve our ailing school system. A part of me felt like she must be disappointed in me, felt that somehow she had failed in showing me the light. I wanted to thank her and tell her how much she influenced me. How I’ve never had a teacher like her before or since.

I gave her a hug and a kiss, told her it was good to see her and left it at that.

Do you have any advice for future English majors?

The only advice I have for future English majors is to look for the people that take pride in the work and gravitate toward them. If you surround yourself with people who are trying to get the highest grade they can doing the least amount of work possible, you’ll end up trying to play that game with them. Even if you win, you lose.

Instead, find those that work hard and want to do well. Become their friends. You can push each other to go deeper, learn more and love the craft.

Any other comments about the faculty at Saint Rose or the English Department?

The English faculty at the College is a special one. They are characters that teach and entertain as much as the literature that they share with you. When I get together with alums, we talk about our old professors at least as much as we do the classes we were in. Appreciate these people. They are saints.