Stephanie is a two-time alumna of Ball State, earning a B.A. in English in 1982 and an M.A. in English in 1985. While an undergrad, she enjoyed minoring in French and lived in the French house on Talley Avenue with seven other students also in the program. In 2001 she graduated from Purdue University with a Ph.D. in American Studies. Stephanie has taught at Ball State, IUPUI, Cornell University, and the University of Houston. She now teaches science writing and visual rhetoric at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where she collaborates with other faculty and students in research, art exhibits, and event planning.

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What did you study while you were at Ball State?

English was my major, and French was my minor. I was 3 credits shy of a second minor in philosophy.

What is your career now?

I’m an English professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

What does a typical week in your position look like?

Teaching classes; mentoring and advising students; doing research, writing, and creative activity; doing service to the department, college, university, and community.

What are the most valuable skills you learned in your major?

Methods for close reading of texts, theories about how literary writing works, craft of writing, and rhetorical theories were the most valuable to me.

What is your advice to other Humanities students?

You have more to offer at your workplace and in your community than you may know. Tap into your curiosity about the way literature and language works, and leverage what you know in your everyday problem-solving and creative practice. Soft skills and critical thinking go well together.

How did/do your language studies influence or contribute to your current occupation?

Where is that influence NOT apparent! Language is play, and I encourage my students to have fun figuring out what they can do as writers.

How does it contribute to your life outside of work as well?

I read and write as an end in itself rather than treating it as being “for” something, but it took me a while to figure out that that’s all right to do! I can read, write, speak, and understand a bit of French when I travel in French-speaking countries. I still have periods in my life when I make studying French a daily practice. It gives me so much joy and I thank BSU for that!

If you wish to connect with Stephanie, you can do so via LinkedIn.

 

Joanna (Anderson) Schmidt is a French & Secondary Education teacher. Her career involves 2 years teaching in Schaumburg, Illinois, and the past 24 years at Salem High School in Indiana. She is a French & Secondary Education major and graduated from the Honors College in May of 1995. 

 

 

 

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What did you study while you were at Ball State?

My major was French & Secondary Education.

What is your career now?

I teach high school French at Salem High School, and this is my 24th year in Salem. Immediately after graduating from BSU, I taught French at two junior highs in Schaumburg, Illinois for two years, replacing a woman who was on parental leave.

What does a typical week in your position look like?

Planning activities to encourage my students to use French in the classroom, grading their work, always being engaged with my students, collaborating with the Spanish teacher – who is at the beginning of her career – so it’s nice to share ideas with her!

What are the most valuable skills you learned in your major?

Communication skills! And KUDOS to the Teachers College – I feel that they did an outstanding job preparing me for my career as a teacher! I always get a little annoyed at individuals who have a degree in a field of study, but no education degree. I don’t think people realize that teaching is an art form, and you have to learn it, just like you learn your subject area major. Just because you KNOW your subject, does not mean you can teach it.

What is your advice to other Humanities students?

When they tell you to take a FULL year to do overseas immersion – DO IT! Granted, I loved my semester program at Chicoutimi, Québec — I *KNOW* my French would have improved immensely had I taken their advice and did a full year in France. Also, when they offer you the chance to spend a year in France after graduation, teaching English. TAKE IT! I had it in my mind that I had to graduate, find a job, and get to work!

How did/do your language studies influence or contribute to your current occupation?

AMAZING job! I loved ALL of my French classes — especially Dr. Gilman!!!! Sadly, I only had him for one semester in advanced grammar…. but he was ALWAYS my favorite! He also served as one of my co-advisors for my senior Honors Thesis (along with Bonnie Wible from the education department).

How does it contribute to your life outside of work as well?

I have befriended French friends via social media (like Facebook) and learning French at Ball State has given me the confidence and skills that I need to communicate with authentic French speakers.

If you wish to connect with Joanna, you can do so via Twitter.

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