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submitted by  Nathaniel R. Walker, PhD

The College of Charleston has long hosted one of the nation’s largest historic preservation undergraduate programs. This fact is well known, but less well known is the full name of that program: Historic Preservation and Community Planning (HPCP). This name clearly asserts that historic preservation is not an isolated discipline concerned with the caretaking of individual, hermetic structures that host a few human lives at a time, but rather must extend its theories and practices to the broad, interconnected fabrics of the places that we call home as communities. Preservation is political.

To keep the promise of that name, the College of Charleston’s HPCP program has lately been increasing its engagement with the realms of community building. This has culminated in the creation of a new MA program dedicated to Community Planning, Policy, and Design (CPAD), launching this fall (pending SACSCOC approval). There are two main reasons this will be a unique program of interest to both contemporary practitioners of design and to scholars of history. The first draws upon Charleston as a place where citizens have long been privy to the power of architectural placemaking as an economic and political tool. Charleston’s commitment to urbanism was famously fueled by the governance of now ex-Mayor Joe Riley, who has been instrumental to the new CPAD program. Its curriculum will thus fortify design studio courses with classes on the ethics of public policy and the economics real estate, so that students can come to grips with the realities of development and the effects that it has upon human lives.

The second unique feature of CPAD is its design ethos: “progressive traditional” architecture. It was primarily this feature that sailed the new program through more than a dozen institutional and state committee hearings with an unprecedented record of 100% unanimous approval. What does the phrase “progressive traditional” mean? Charleston provides the answer. The city is famous for its beautiful traditional architecture, but the chief point interest for the average scholar is not the abundance of Corinthian columns or other telltale signs of Euro-American luxury, but rather the rich poetics of the city’s contributions to vernacular architecture, which are much more diverse in origin. The Charleston Single House, for example, is a product of cultural blending between Europe, West Africa, and the Caribbean, and as such tells an empowering story of intercontinental human ingenuity that defies the bitter, broken old narratives of white supremacy that give the city its undertone of melancholy and cast a shadow on many of those Corinthian columns. CPAD insists that traditional design, like historic preservation itself, can only make good architecture when it aspires to good politics–which is to say, when it works to ennoble and inspire every member of society, and to empower the disempowered. The “progressive traditional” design ethos will thus draw upon the world’s rich variety of useful, sustainable, and beautiful architectures, from any and all corners of the globe, celebrating the vernacular, the pluralistic, the humanist, and the hybrid, as keys to democratizing, while also generally improving, traditional architecture.

The CPAD program in unique, but it does not spring fFigure 1- 25 Tupelo Street, Seaside, Deborah Berke, 1984. Photo by Nathaniel Robert Walker.orth out of a total vacuum. There are architects working today who have made real contributions to traditional design along these politically illuminated lines, and our students have already set themselves to studying these accomplishments. This week, a group of College of Charleston HPCP undergrads travelled to Seaside, Florida, at the behest, and with the support, of the Seaside Chapel Board. It is no secret that Seaside and the New Urbanism have both been subject to a fair amount of criticism by scholars of architecture, including prominent members of the VAF; it must be said, however, that a deeply considered appreciation for vernacular architecture played a role in this resort town’s evolution that often goes unacknowledged. In the beginning, the town’s architectural model was the aesthetically simple, ecologically sensible bungalows of rural Florida. Renowned architect Deborah Berke, now Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, designed many of the first Seaside structures in the early 1980s (figure 1). Most remain today and are fondly looked upon by planners Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk as inspired renditions of regional vernacular traditions that should have, perhaps, been felt more keenly as the town exploded in size and popularity, becoming a living place that no architect or planner could fully control.

In 2001, as larger, more formal, and occasionally pretentious villas began to displace, and even replace, those elegant little bungalows, the Seaside Interfaith Chapel was designed to leverage the vernacular as an architecture of civic resistance. Architect Scott Merrill methodically drew upon the humble local churches of rural Alabama and the vernacular architecture of Florida’s rapidly disappearing industrial grapefruit-sorting structures to craft a huge, prominently cited civic monument that added spiritual gravity to the town (figure 2).As an interfaith chapel, it was important that the building not display any architectural forms or details that were specific to any given liturgy. Locals frankly have no idea how to describe the building’s complex, abstract stylistic pedigree, deploying phrases like “Carpenter Gothic” despite its conspicuous lack of any Gothic hallmarks. The vernacular here served two purposes: it provided an architectural model that could equally serve many different religious congregations, and it differentiated the structure from the surrounding, increasingly classical residential architecture. The traditional relationship between the informal, vernacular, everyday private architecture and the formal, classical, special public architecture was thus inverted!  But the distinction was preserved, honoring the public in the process.

For these reasons and more, students from the College of Charleston Historic Preservation and Community Planning program have spent the past few days photographing, measuring, and 3D scanning the Seaside Interfaith Chapel for submission to HABS. We believe, tentatively, that this will be the youngest building to make it on the list, if indeed it does. But we nonetheless sincerely believe that it deserves to be recorded and archived through HABS, for the same reason we are thrilled to be launching our new CPAD in “progressive traditional” design this fall. If traditional architecture is going to have a future, it must evolve on several levels, becoming more politically thoughtful and thus more inclusive. Historic preservation should dedicate itself to revealing our shared past, and community planning must commit itself to a shared future. Vernacular architecture is abundantly rich in design resources that are perfect for sharing.

From the Field

From the Field,

Nathaniel Robert Walker, PhD
Assistant Professor of Architectural History

The College of Charleston

For more information on the Community Planning, Policy and Design program: http://sota.cofc.edu/graduate-programs/community-planning-policy-and-design/index.php

 

under: Charleston, Diversity, Graduate Programs, Guest Bloggers, Holiday, Housing, Uncategorized

Brandy Francis, Graduate Student ExCel Award Winner

Posted by: McCrayCC | April 18, 2017 | No Comment |

Congratulations to Brandy Francis our Graduate Student Excel Award Winner. The annual Excellence in Collegiate Education and Leadership ( ExCel) Awards program honors members of the College and community who promote excellence and contribute to the College’s core values of diversity and inclusion. The award ceremony was held  on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at the Sottile Theatre.

Brandy Francis

Brandy is working on her Masters in Communications. Additionally, she teaches a lab associated with the undergraduate course, Media in the Digital Age. She is the social media coordinator for the Office of Admissions and the president of the department’s graduate student association, Masters in Communication Student Association. She recently finished an internship with Charleston Wine + Food as their marketing and communication fellow.
During her time with Charleston Wine + Food, she partnered with a strategic communication capstone course here at CofC, and she was able to act as a mentor to the students, which was an inspiring journey in and of itself. I also built and led a team of undergraduates in my social media coordinator position to help implement our multi-mediated campaign for Accepted Students Weekend. These two experiences paired with her teaching assistant position have really shown her how much she enjoys teaching and mentoring others. As a first generation college student, she knows how difficult it can be to find support outside of your family, so she hopes to continue with mentorship positions throughout her professional career.

Congratulations Brandy! You are truly destined for greatness!

For more information on our Master in Communications Program:

http://cofc.edu/academics/graduate-degree-progs/graduatedegreeslist/communication.php

 

 

under: Communication, Diversity, Events, Graduate School Office, Graduate Student Association, Networking, Professional Development, Prospective Students

Think about the last time you had to move…particularly in Charleston. Beautiful city, but the streets were not made for U-Hauls or large trucks. Maybe you even had to carry all your belongings up multiple flights of steps. How great would it be to show up to the place you are moving into and most (if not all) of your belongings are already there? NowShip is here to save the day!

NowShip.com provides rugged shipping boxes with $100 insurance included to transport personal effects from one destination to another here in the USA and internationally door to door. Through their program, 1BOX1TREE, they also support the Fourth Grade Foresters, providing one tree per one box shipped. Through this program, they are able to help educate and allow our younger generations to learn environmental stewardship, community responsibility and enjoy the benefits of reforestation, one tree at a time. 

Founder John Krisch and business partner David Simpson III of Simpson & Partners LLC, have spent the last few weeks working with the MBA Taskforce. The purpose of this collaboration has been to do market research and create a marketing plan that will act as a model for urban college campuses across the United States and potentially globally. NowShip.com is priced for the college budget and we believe the Task Force’s plan to bring this company to students will positively affect their success in the college consumer market and their bottom line.

This has been an amazing opportunity for MBA students to not only put their classroom knowledge to use in a real-world situation, but also to learn about entrepreneurial spirit and the mindset that goes into a local start-up business.

Working with Nowship has given us the opportunity to apply marketing skills that we been learning in this MBA program to real business problems. It is truly a win-win scenario,” said Christian Buss, College of Charleston MBA Class of 2017, Cohort

NOW SHIP TEAM

Left to Right: David Simpson Simpson & Partners, John Krisch Founder NowShip, Krin Erickson CofC MBA Task Force, Christian Boss CofC MBA Task Force, Michael Haverstick CofC MBA Task Force, Matthew Whipple CofC MBA Task Force Leader, Missing Taylor Price-Kellogg CofC MBA Task Force

under: Academics, Business Administration, Charleston, Diversity, Guest Bloggers, Jobs & Careers, Networking, Professional Development

Erin Hausmann

A little bit about me: I grew up on a farm in a small town in Nebraska, so it quite a culture shock when I moved to Charleston! Currently, I live in Norman, Oklahoma where I am contiuing my education in Pure Mathematics.  I love being outside; whether it’s reading outside, going on walks, or just enjoying the weather. When I’m not studying, I like to bake. Recently, I’ve been attempting to make homemade breads. I also love traveling; a couple of summers ago, Joey Randich and I spent about two months backpacking Europe. My favorite place was Riomaggiore.  To be honest, I didn’t have a “real” reason for attending the College of Charleston. I had just graduated from my undergraduate at Wayne State in Nebraska, and I was pretty unsure of what the next step to take in life was (i.e get a job, peace corps, more school, etc). Laura, my friend from high school, had told me about how she loved the College of Charleston; so I decided to apply and go visit. I’m happy I did, I love the Mathematics department; everyone is great and really prepared me for further schooling. I think it was a great fit for me.

What did graduate school teach me? The best thing graduate school taught me was how to be a good student. Not just in the sense of getting good grades, but of wanting to learn the material on a deeper level. And it really taught me how to manage my time between having GA duties, classes, homework, and still enjoying time to myself/with friends. But the main lesson I learned is that graduate school taught me to ACCEPT, OVERCOME, and LEARN from failures and find solutions. And in the end, I am a much stronger person and equipped to better handle things in the real world in my future career. I am confident to say that grad school has made me a much better mathematician, and I value the training/education that I was fortunate enough to receive.

Guess what I’m doing now? I’m in the Ph.D program for Pure Mathematics at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. I’m taking a few classes and teaching college algebra, which is much harder than what I thought!

Advice to graduate students: Take time for yourself. Everyone deserves a break now and then, even if its just to go on a walk or to have a coffee/beer at Kudu. I know my quality of work decreases if I’m not happy.  As tough and frustrating as grad school can be, it is important to keep your head up and push through.  If you feel like giving up, ask yourself what got you here in the first place. Be proud of how far you have made it. Try to focus on the positives. If you can’t: take a break and revisit whatever is bothering you tomorrow. Yes, it is a long process but you are not the only one faced with something that may seem impossible at first. I’ll just tell you that once you reach the ‘end,’ you will realize how ‘possible’ everything is and actually was in disguise.Go out and conquer the world!

To learn more about our Mathematical Sciences program: http://cofc.edu/academics/graduate-degree-progs/graduatedegreeslist/math.php

under: Graduate School Office, Graduate Student Association, Guest Bloggers, Mathematics, Networking, Professional Development, Prospective Students

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality. ~Albert Einstein

Michael Del Vecchio’16 is originally from NJ, but has been living in Myrtle Beach, SC since 2007.  Michael graduated from the College of Charleston in the Summer of 2016 with a Master of Science in Mathematics and a Graduate Certificate in Statistics.  Currently, Michael is a Math instructor at Francis Marion University in Florence, SC. Michael says teaching mathematics has always been a lifelong passion. He is truly living his dream!  He previously taught math at Andrews High School, Piedmont Technical College, and Horry Georgetown Technical College.  In 2006, he earned his undergraduate degree at Rutgers University double majoring in Mathematics and Computer Science.  Besides teaching, Michael is passionate about music and playing the guitar.  Michael plays the guitar for the worship band at his church.  Michael is happily married with three children.

Mike and Wife

Why did you choose UCSC?

To obtain my long term goal of teaching higher education I needed to get my masters degree in Mathematics.  Seeking a college that offered a graduate degree in my area was not an easy task.  I had visited Charleston and loved the city.  When I talked to the Math department I felt welcome and a sense of community. I was impressed with their quality and convenient program.  Because of my family I was not able to live in Charleston.  In 2014, I decided to take a break from working and began to commute 89 miles each way twice a week to begin earning my masters degree at the College of Charleston.  I was a little nervous after not taking college level math classes in eight years, but the welcoming and supportive professors and the student body quickly put me at ease.  Each semester got a little easier.  My advice to furture students is to never give up on your dreams and pursue the degree you need. Do not get overwhelmed and just keep pushing forward. The world is yours to conquer!

Mike-Francis Marion University

Learn more about our Mathematical Science Masters Degree Program: http://cofc.edu/academics/graduate-degree-progs/graduatedegreeslist/math.php

under: Charleston, Computer & Information Sciences, Graduate Programs, Guest Bloggers, Mathematics, Networking, Professional Development, Prospective Students, Science & Math for Teachers, Tips on Applying to Grad School

Maria Royle and one of her students

On Monday, August 21, 2017 Americans will witness one of the most unique and historical events – a total Solar Eclipse. What makes this Solar Eclipse event SO special and unique?  It will traverse the entire United States for the first time since 1918!  Other similar events have been seen throughout the US, but it has not traversed the country since 1918.   That’s why the NASA Space Grant Program is making such a big fuss over it!

Teams from the NASA Space Grant College and Fellowship program will be in the path of totality, collaborated to coordinate and plan the amazing High Altitude Balloon (HAB) Solar Eclipse Event.  Several states from across the USA (including Puerto Rico) participated in a training to prepare for this event.  Multiple teams gathered and trained, practiced, and learned how to set up high altitude balloons (and launch) along with specialized equipment in order to stream live video for NASA and the entire world.

NASA

Of the teams who received this intense training, three teams were from Charleston, SC, and of those, two teams were local public schools from the Charleston, SC area. The schools who participated were R.B. Stall High School and Palmetto Scholars Academy. These were the only two teams who had high school students! What’s more special yet for Charleston SC is that the students from R.B. Stall H.S. were ESOL students including their teacher Ms. Maria Royle, bilingual and an Alumni of the College of Charleston. Ms. Royle was invited to participate in this event by the South Carolina Space Grant Consortium Director Dr. Cass Runyon, also a professor of the College of Charleston.

Under the direction of Dr. Runyon, Team Carolina (name of the three Charleston teams) will prepare to launch HAB’s from different locations throughout the Charleston area and film live for NASA.

Maria Royle and her students

Come see what the whole fuss is about! Check out the links below and come join them! If you wish to provide support/assistance you may contact Dr. Runyon at: runyonc@cofc.edu. You may also contact Ms. Royle at: mlroyle@g.cofc.edu

Team Carolina could definitely use support in the form of funding for the purchase of helium (for the balloons), and funding for the purchase of additional balloons for practice events.

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEgoogle/SEgoogle2001/SE2017Aug21Tgoogle.html

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEmono/TSE2017/TSE2017.htmlhttp://www.eclipse2017.org/2017/eclipse_popup.htm

For more information on our ESOL program: http://cofc.edu/academics/graduate-degree-progs/certificateprograms/cert-english.php

 

under: Charleston, Diversity, ESOL, Graduate School Office, Graduate Student Association, Guest Bloggers, Middle Grades Education, Networking, Professional Development, Science & Math for Teachers

Graduate School Spotlight: Kelsey Michele, MBA 2017

Posted by: McCrayCC | January 27, 2017 | No Comment |

Kelsey Michele MBA 2017

Tell me a little bit about yourself:

My name is Kelsey Michele and I am 22 years old from Upstate New York. I recently finished my undergraduate degree in accounting from Binghamton University where I also played on the women’s lacrosse team. At CofC I plan to complement my accounting background with some additional creativity by focusing in Marketing. Outside of the classroom I am passionate about many things including the wine industry. My summer job consisted of managing a winery in upstate New York where I fell in love with the wine culture. My dream is to eventually own my own vineyard! I am also very passionate about sustainability, and making a difference in the community. I am involved with the American Cancer Society and the InPact program, on campus where people learn how to make a profit while making a difference. Outside of the classroom you can probably find me at the beach, riding around town enjoying Charleston on my bicycle, or planning my next big adventure. I also really enjoy practicing yoga, cooking, and learning different languages.

What is your favorite place on campus?

My favorite part on campus is walking through “College Way”. I absolutely love the historic architecture surrounded by the beautiful trees and enchanting Spanish moss. The palm trees are an additional perk, being from New York I never thought I could have palm tree’s outside of vacation. A light walk through campus and you feel like you’re in a fairytale.

What does diversity mean to you?

When I was asked this question I googled the definition of diversity, and what I found was intriguing. My findings showed me that the frequency of use of the word diversity in the english language has increased 300% from 1950-2000. Diversity is so important to the development of society and only recently have we come to understand that.

Diversity is almost a paradox that involves using differences to become united. Diversity is not limited to race, gender, and age. It is every little quirk, every cell in ones body, every experience, that makes someone who they are. The world is an awfully big place but diversity makes it more reachable. Diversity allows people to learn from others with different backgrounds, challenge assumptions, foster creativity, and many more possibilities. Without diversity everyone would be the same, and how boring would that be!

Advice for prospective graduate students

#1. Tackle the GMAT/GRE like a NFL Football player. Just get it done!

#2. Do your research about the program, including the background of professors, alumni, and the Charleston area. The more you know, the more you can take advantage of.

#3. Get into good habits of creating a healthy lifestyle. Grad school is no joke no matter where you go and it can be easy to skip out on those healthy habits. Building healthy habits into your life before hand will set you up for success rather then trying to build them throughout. While its certainly not impossible, its good to be proactive.

#4. Get ready for an experience of a lifetime and to have a lot of fun! Hard work, friendships, challenges, diversity, and more learning then you could ever imagine makes for a great experience in a great city.

To learn more about our MBA program, please check out our website for more information: http://www.mbacharleston.com/

 

 

under: Academics, Business Administration, Diversity, Graduate Programs, Graduate School Office, Graduate Student Association, Guest Bloggers, Networking, Professional Development, Prospective Students
2017 MAT Performing Arts

Heather Roberts, M.A.T Performing Arts Graduate Student

Tell me about yourself:

Originally, I’m from Cross, SC and I was 25 when I entered the program. Previously I earned my undergraduate degree in Theater for Youth at the College of Charleston. Through this program I was able to have many hands-on teaching experiences including working with the special-needs theater program called “The Unified Players” in partnership with the City of Charleston. Ultimately I want to become a Drama Therapist, but I decided that I also wanted to become a certified teacher to have classroom experience to fulfill the requirements to achieve my drama therapy license in the future. I plan on teaching for at least 5 years after graduation to meet the requirement for loans that I have taken out and then I plan on heading to Canada or Massachusetts to earn my drama therapy license. During the program I was able to gain more teaching experience through fieldwork associated with my coursework and I was also given a graduate assistantship teaching at a preschool at the College of Charleston. While in this program, I have continued my work with the City of Charleston’s “Unified Players” and assist them with producing plays. This year we are doing James and the Giant Peach! I am a jack of all trades and a master of some. I work hard and try to do my best at everything that is put in front of me. I love to to put on plays with the Unified Players which is a group for typical and exceptional adults.  Side of school, I also love to bake and I am trying to start my own cupcake business. I’m engaged to the most awesome person, Matthew. I am also the mother of two fur babies, Dragon and Shadow.

Heather and the Furbabies

Heather, Matthew and the Furbabies

What is your favorite place on campus? My favorite place on campus is the couches on the second floor of the Simmons Center.

Why did you select UCSC- College of Charleston? I selected the College because I wanted to pursue theatre in a teaching and therapeutic format. Teaching performing arts will act as a stepping stone for my final goal of becoming a dramatherapist.

Just me Heather

Just call me Heather

What does diversity mean to you? Diversity means that everyone is included. Whether that means race, social economic level, ability level or anything else. All deserve a right to follow their own path.

What advice would you give prospective graduate students? Don’t procrastinate! While it may seem like a good idea at the time, you’ll been in for many a sleepless night. Also, don’t  be afraid to try something new. You might end up finding your passion in the unlikeliest of places.

Ready to Graduate in May 2017

Ready to Graduate in May 2017

To learn more about our Performing Arts (Master of Arts in Teaching) program: http://cofc.edu/academics/graduate-degree-progs/graduatedegreeslist/performingarts.php

 

under: Academics, Arts Management, Diversity, Fine Arts, Fine Arts, Graduate School Office, Graduate Student Association, Guest Bloggers, Networking, Performing Arts, Prospective Students, Uncategorized
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Graduate Student Spotlight: Husna Siddiqui

Posted by: McCrayCC | December 13, 2016 | No Comment |
Husna Siddiqui'18

Husna Siddiqui’Master of Computer Information Sciences’18

Tell me about yourself

My name is Husna Siddiqui. I was born in Hyderabad, India. I’m currently pursuing a masters in Computer and Information Sciences with a concentration in Software Engineering. Right now, I work as a Software Engineer at Blackbaud, the world’s leading cloud software company that powers social good. A few of my hobbies include cooking,eating, DIY home projects, taking walks and traveling. I love going on random adventures and being in the outdoors, but I also enjoy relaxing and binge watching Netflix. I absolutely love coffee and I obsessively watch Korean dramas.

What is your favorite place on campus?

My favorite place on campus is the Computer Science game room. It’s the place that I go to when I want to meet up with friends, work on class projects or just relax and play some video games. The game room has a ton of amenities for students such as: a microwave, a refrigerator, video games and Netflix!  It is a really cool space that strives to provide a fun and comfortable environment.

Reserved for Husna

Reserved for Husna

Why did you select UCSC- College of Charleston?

I have a passion for technology and to create a culture of collaboration and learning. I knew that I wanted to continue learning and to further my education so that I can be the best at what I do. My professor, Aspen Olmsted, pushed me and encouraged me to face new challenges and opened up the door to exciting opportunities by leading me towards our masters program. I chose the College of Charleston because I love the faculty and the students who are a part of the Computer Science department. The department has a culture of inclusion, collaboration, and friendship. I knew that I would be comfortable and happy here.

What does diversity mean to you?

To me diversity is acceptance. I believe that being surrounded by a diverse group of people from various racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds can help to nurture beautiful relationships. It will enable us to learn and grow together, and to accept and respect our differences. I feel that at the College of Charleston we are lacking in terms of racial and cultural diversity, however, we do a really great job with acceptance. In my experience here I have always been welcomed and encouraged by my peers and professors to be the best that I can be.

What advice would you give prospective graduate students?

Find something that you are truly passionate about. Be prepared and driven. It is not easy, but if it is something that you want, then it is totally worth it. Also, build strong relationships with the faulty and your peers. These relationships will be a crucial part of your success as a student.

For more information on our Master of Computer and Information Sciences Graduate Program: http://cofc.edu/academics/graduate-degree-progs/graduatedegreeslist/computerscience.php

 

 

under: Computer & Information Sciences, Diversity, Events, Graduate Programs, Graduate School Office, Guest Bloggers, Networking, News, Student Services, Uncategorized
Laura Westby Cannon

Laura Westby Cannon

We are excited to feature a graduate student in one of our newest graduate school programs- Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. The MFA in Creative Writing, a two-year program of graduate study for 12 students admitted annually for a total of 24 students, features separate Studio and Arts Management emphases. The program offers not only advanced degree training in the writing of poetry and fiction, but also opportunities to assist in the production of Crazyhorse. The backbone of the program will be workshops taught by writing faculty in the two genres, as well as training in the history and traditions associated with writing, theoretical and formal approaches to the craft, and intensive peer and faculty feedback. Students in both the Studio and Arts Management tracks will also gain reading, writing, and critical thinking skills valuable to such humanities-based industries as editing, publicity, marketing, and promotion in publishing and the arts; the Arts Management track emphasizes management, organization, decision-making, and problem-solving skills in preparation for jobs within the creative economy. Laura is one of our Woodfin scholars, business owner and a COFC graduate. Read more about Laura.

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I was born in Fargo, North Dakota and spent my childhood years in rural Valley City. My family moved south seventeen years ago, my parents in search of a stronger economy. I was able to attend the College of Charleston in 2006 when I received the Palmetto Scholars award as an undergraduate. It was here I discovered I could obtain a B.A. in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing – something I never knew was possible. As an avid reader and writer from a young age, I jumped at that opportunity. After graduation I opened a small business with my husband, but never quieted my love for writing.

Creative Minds at work

Creative Minds At Work

What is your favorite place on campus?

I love the Cistern Yard. The oak trees are gorgeous and I’m often stunned that so much beauty is in such a small space in the middle of a city.

Laura Westby, MFA'18

Laura Westby Cannon, MFA’18

What does diversity mean to you?

Diversity is engaging with people. I don’t believe it means pity, but if we carry enough mercy, it can certainly be a catalyst to empathy. Perhaps it is the practice of getting outside our own selves to discover how many other ways there are to live.

Mr & Mrs Cannon

Mr & Mrs Cannon

Advice for prospective graduate students

Don’t wait to strive toward reaching your goals. Life happens at inopportune times. If there are one hundred reasons to say no, consider the reasons you want to say yes. And if pursuing your graduate degree is a part of achieving your most heartfelt desire in this lifetime, you cannot afford to say no. The details take care of themselves, believe me.

To learn more about the MFA in Creative Writing: http://english.cofc.edu/graduate-programs/master-fine-arts-creative-writing/index.php

 

 

under: Academics, Diversity, Fine Arts, Graduate School Office, Graduate Student Association, Guest Bloggers, Networking, Professional Development, Prospective Students

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