Current Position: Assistant Professor, Texas A and M University
Field: Folklore/Popular Culture/Cultural Studies
Supervisor: Jose Limon
Dissertation: ''Derision and Desire: The Ambivalence of Mexican Identity in American Literature and Film''''Derision and Desire: The Ambivalence of Mexican Identity in American Literature and Film''
Awards: 2002-3 University Continuing Fellowship
1996-7 University Graduate Opportunity Recruitment Fellowship
What did you like about the English Graduate Program at UT?One of the Graduate Program's greatest strengths is its interdisciplinarity, both within and beyond the English department.
What kind of courses did you take?I took several courses in Anthropology and Radio-Television-Film that complimented my studies in English. By combining these courses with the English department's varied offerings in Cultural Studies, Folklore, Ethnic and Third World Literature, and American Literature, I was able to design a program of study that met my individual interests.
Did you find any of UT's resources particularly useful?UT's libraries, particularly the Benson Latin American Collection, are a tremendous resource. During the writing of my dissertation on the development of stereotypes in silent film, I was able to research archival documents at the Benson, including turn-of-the-century Spanish-language newspapers, that enhanced my understanding of community formation and response to stereotype production.
Did your scholarly interests and activities extend beyond the UT campus to effect the community at large?Although my specific scholarly pursuits did not lead to direct community involvement, I continued to be active in public education issues through Teach for America, the national teacher corps that recruits college seniors to teach in under-resourced areas of the country. I am a former Teach for America Corps member, and remain committed to improving the quality of our public education system. Because our schools need talented and enthusiastic teachers, I have encouraged my college students to become involved. Last year, one of my former students was accepted into the program!
What did you learn from teaching Rhetoric and English classes as part of your graduate study?In addition to preparing graduate students to teach at the university level, UT's Rhetoric and English courses provide an avenue for pedagogical experimentation, since graduate students are given the freedom to design courses based on their own interests. For instance, I taught a Rhetoric course that focused on the production of film images, and was able to offer an English course that closely linked with my dissertation project. Thus teaching can both compliment and inform your own academic interests, to make you a better scholar.
What hints and tips can you give for prospective graduate students?
Finally, Austin cannot be beat for its natural beauty and urbanity. Austin is the kind of place where you can hike the greenbelt in the morning and go salsa dancing in the evening - don't try that in New Haven in the middle of January!