Seniors Study Twenty-First Century American Indians

From left to right: Kelley Imbody, Brandon Stewart, Jaylin Frese, Matthew Shoop, Kelly Laniewski, Samantha Smith, Heather Dingman, Justin Murray, Sarah Wood, Michael Higgins, and Emily Massa.

Senior English and English-Adolescence Education majors who are currently in their cap-stone seminar course are examining how contemporary Native American literature depicts the experience of being Indian in the twentieth century. They are exploring topics such as race, gender, class, and urbanization in works by Sarris, Alexie, Silko, Erdrich, and Harjo.

Most students are still not sure what topic they will focus on for their seminar papers, but some have tentatively chosen to research topics such as postmodernism in Native American literature, race in Native American portrayal in entertainment, the role of women and mothers, and the importance of a changing/evolving narrative in Native American literature.

They recommend that English students consult their advisors often, keep careful track of credits, look into minors, and take a variety of classes.  One English-Adolescence Education major, who has already student taught, warns that “if you don’t love learning a subject, you will hate teaching it.  Love your English classes.”  Another says that if all else fails, “gender is the answer. Everything is related to gender at Saint Rose.” Another suggests, “Hold true to your ideas and if at first it doesn’t sound right, work on it until it does.”

These students plan to pursue graduate study in English, creative writing, language and computer interfacing, library science, social work, and law–with hopes of becoming teachers, librarians, game writer and editor, social workers, writers, lawyers, and publishers.  As they demonstrate, there are multiple ways an English major can be used.  As one English major notes, English students should “be open-minded as far as careers go and be open to whatever opportunities arise.”

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