Why did you choose this graduate degree program? What interested you in this particular
field of study?
After I graduated with a bachelor’s in English, I knew I liked the subject enough to go forward with it. It was also a practical step since I wanted to teach English at a college level and so obtaining a graduate degree was the only route. I'm lucky that I thoroughly enjoyed the process.
What did you like about being in this program at CBU?
CBU has an incredibly welcoming environment. Being a very nervous international student on my first day of class (ENG 576 with Dr. Updegraff), I was relieved to find a friendly group of people who readily answered my questions about the campus, classes, professors, etc. I made friends during my first week of classes which eased my adjustment into the new environment.
What did you think about your professors?
I loved them. Their encouragement and faith in my writing skills is one of the main reasons why I decided to pursue a doctorate. I remember when I was writing my thesis, I would go and see Dr. Veltman just so she could tell me, "You can do it!" And that's exactly what she always did with a big, reassuring smile on her face.
Did you complete any field work?
I wrote a thesis of approximately 100 pages which was the research project that I was supposed to do in my program. The concept of "home" that I explored in my thesis was closely related to my own experience of leaving my home (Pakistan) in 2015. Since I connected with the project on a personal level, I remained motivated and excited about it.
How did you grow (spiritually, socially, educationally) while in this program at CBU?
In terms of academics, I developed my writing skills further. I also presented at the Western Regional Conference at CBU which was my first conference presentation where I got the chance to interact with people in my field. Moreover, working as an adjunct professor at CBU gave me hands-on experience in a classroom setting which was a great opportunity since I want to teach in the long run.
What have you done since graduating?
I enrolled in a PhD program at Claremont Graduate University right after my graduation and am currently in my second semester. I've been doing research work for the classes that I'm currently taking. One such research project is related to genetic studies where I am studying the evolution of a published work right from its initial stage in manuscript form.
How has your time at CBU prepared you for your life and career after grad school?
For one, the program at CBU prepared me for the academic work that I'm currently doing at Claremont. The syllabus as well as the general structure of the assignments is very much in line with what I'm expected to do as a PhD student. Also, my visits to the career center at CBU have also been beneficial in providing me the guidance on how to market myself in a résumé and in a face-to-face interview.
Is there anything you learned at CBU that you still use in your professional life
When working at CBU, I realized that my colleagues always exuded positivity and kindness despite being caught up in hectic schedules. Over the course of my interactions with them I learned to always remain calm and hopeful even when faced with challenging situations in my PhD program.
How are you making a difference in the world?
At this time in life, my main role is that of a student and I'm trying my best to do justice to it by staying motivated and committed. Also, I'm conscious about passing on the same warmth and kindness that I received at CBU in environments outside CBU where I interact now and will do in the future.
Would you recommend CBU to others?
Yes, absolutely! CBU offers students the productive blend of quality education and a positive environment. I sincerely believe that one of the main reasons I thrived in my academics is because I was surrounded by a supportive group of people who constantly encouraged and helped each other out. Such an environment is very conducive to learning. I can't wait to teach at CBU again once I'm done with my PhD.