Mary is a Ball State graduate (x2!) in Rhetoric and Composition. She is interested in the possibilities of bringing peace into the writing classroom as a way to restore justice in education.

What English classes do you teach?

I’m currently teaching 103: Rhetoric and Writing, but in the past, I’ve taught ENG 104: Composing Research. Outside of the English department, I taught ID 301: An Introduction to Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution, which is part of the Peace Studies minor.

What attracted you to teaching at Ball State?

I love Ball State! I was here for both my undergraduate and my MA programs. The faculty in the English department have been so formative for me, bringing all sorts of knowledge to the table and encouraging me to learn and grow in new ways. Additionally, I truly see a dedication in our department to cultivating a welcoming and socially just place, where one invests in constant self-improvement and growth. These are things that I value as a person and as a scholar, and it makes me so grateful to get to work in a place that shares those values.

How would you describe your teaching style?

I really care about making students feel welcome in the classroom, so I try to go about that by incorporating accessibility in a variety of ways. We do a lot of activities, countered with discussion for different learning styles. I also try to affirm students in any way I can, valuing the experiential knowledge and personal experiences that they bring to the table. I’m also someone who seeks feedback from students pretty consistently—if something can be improved, I want to know about it, and I want to talk with students about potential solutions to come to a decision that works for everybody involved.

What’s good advice that you might have for students to succeed?

In reflecting on my experiences as a student at Ball State, I think the advice I could have used the most would be to know and utilize your resources. Especially the Writing Center! There’s no shame in asking for guidance or help with something—it indicates that you’re eager to grow, not that there’s anything wrong with you. Something else that I find myself reminding students of a lot is that you need to make time for yourself. It’s so easy to get caught up in the semester and to work yourself to the point of exhaustion, but that’s not healthy, and it’s not sustainable. Take some breaks, go for walks outside, and spend time with your friends!

Are you currently reading anything/any special projects you’ve been working on?

In terms of reading, I’ve been devouring any Jodi Picoult that I can find. I love how her books intertwine hot social topics with a legal perspective. As far as projects that I’m working on, my research in the past has centered around how we can bring peace studies into the writing classroom, so I’m in the process of working on an article about peace-centered pedagogy, which is something I developed during my time in the MA program.

An interesting hobby you have?

It’s been so nice to have the chance to explore hobbies as I’ve transitioned out of grad school! Right now, I’m really loving baking. I’ve also picked up bullet journaling (again). If you’re not familiar with it, there are approximately a million examples on Pinterest. I find it to be a great way to express some creativity, but it also helps me keep my life organized.