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Elizabeth Cullingford, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

The Department of English congratulates our Dean's Distinguished Graduates

Alyson Curtis, Sara Hakeem, and Annalee Sweet were all recognized by the College of Liberal Arts as 2007 distinguished graduates.

Posted: May 14, 2007
Alyson Curtis completed her English degree and the College of Liberal Arts’ UTeach program, earning an Unrestricted Endowed Presidential Scholarship and Dean’s List honors while studying at UT. She currently owns her own web and graphic design business, and plans to tutor students in writing as a part of her preparation to eventually teach high school English.

Alyson has been most impressed by the resources available at UT: libraries, museums, and especially faculty. She discovered that most faculty, even those she didn’t know well, were more than willing to meet with her to talk about their research, answer her questions, and share their experiences. Alyson also particularly valued her education in English, saying, “It's funny being an English scholar—so many people think that it only entails studying the language of English. But it's that and so much more. As an English scholar I'm learning about the craft of writing and constructing meaning from texts, but the most exciting part is learning about the world through these texts. For me, earning an English degree encompasses the true meaning of a Liberal Arts education.”Sara Hakeem completed degrees in English and Linguistics with a minor in Urdu and Departmental Honors in English. She won two Unrestricted Endowed Presidential Scholarships and presented her original research at two undergraduate conferences: one at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, the other at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, using work from her thesis entitled ''Salman Rushdie's Author-ity: Midnight's Children and the Politics of Authenticity and Belonging.'' Sara was awarded both a Rapoport-King fellowship and an Undergraduate Research Fellowship to fund her thesis research. She plans to teach elementary school in Chicago as a part of Teach for America, then continue her studies to eventually earn a PhD.

Sara thoroughly enjoyed her time at UT and has said of her experiences here: “I absolutely loved UT because you get a world class education and a vast variety of experiences that are absolutely unique to this institution and to Austin…. the university's size results in a wide variety of resources and organizations that accommodate everyone, so that once you find your place, it really is your place. I love that in a university as big as UT is, I can walk into Parlin and it's like Cheers, where everyone knows your name.”Annalee Sweet completed degrees in English and Plan II with Departmental Honors in English. She won Endowed Scholarships in English, Plan II, and Liberal Arts, and completed an internship at UT’s Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center. She has also been active in many campus theatre groups, including Plan II’s Broccoli Project and the English Department’s Shakespeare at Winedale, and wrote her thesis, entitled “Oh, my sisters!”: Femininity in the Chekhov Theatre, on the works of the Russian playwright Chekhov. This fall, Annalee will perform in a Chekhov play, The Seagull, in Austin, and work in a ceramics studio; she also plans to travel, and to eventually earn her PhD in clinical psychology as training to work with children and families.

Annalee believes her education at UT was an important part of her growth, saying “I think the greatest thing about being an English major is that it's all about learning skills that, I believe, are essential to living well, no matter what you end up doing. I feel I have really learned to communicate well with other people, both in writing and face-to-face…. in English you're always talking and analyzing and debating with professors and other students. I think my English major has really trained me in communication and analysis and, in addition to all the wonderful experiences I've had reading (and analyzing and performing) literature, I'll leave college with those valuable skills under my belt.”
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