Senior Profile: Cameryn Cole

Cameryn Cole 	Cameryn Cole is an English and Anthropology double major on the Language, Writing, and Rhetoric track.

Why did you decide to become an English major?

I had always loved English in high school but wasn't sure if it made sense for me to study it in college. I was scared away by jokes I heard in high school about English majors struggling to find jobs (now I know I had no worries). The spring semester of my freshman year at UMD, I started working as an Office Assistant in the English Undergraduate office and was able to see firsthand how helpful, caring, and intelligent the English staff and faculty are.

That same semester, I was taking a creative writing Honors College seminar that I really enjoyed and my professor for that class ended up contacting the English department at the end of the semester and telling them that she believed I'd be a successful English major and that they should reach out to me! That was just the push I needed to declare the major and I'm so glad that I did.

What clubs, campus groups, internships, outside of class projects have you been involved with?

I'm very involved with the Alpha Omega Campus Ministry, a faith-based group on campus. I was a Spring 2019 Research Assistant Intern for the Memorial Chapel on campus for a research project with the chapel's garden journals and I was a Fall 2019 International Program Intern at the Congressional Hunger Center.

What has been your favorite class in English and why?

ENGL483: American English(es) with Professor Linda Coleman. Although I had no prior experience with linguistics, I learned a lot about different American dialects, the vowel chart, and, most importantly, the perspective that the Standard American Dialect is not superior to other dialects, it's just what has been culturally chosen to represent American English. I also completed my final research paper on the social context of Louisiana Creole and really enjoyed learning about it!

What is something you read during class that impacted your worldview?  

In ENGL428E: Postmodern Enlightenment, we read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. It was a novel about two sisters and their separate descendant lines: one line on the West Coast of Africa, and the other line that crossed the Middle Passage into the colonies. It follows their families through present day and offers such a captivating perspective on the pain of erased heritage that descendants of American slaves experience and I identified really strongly with that part of the story.

What skills (professional, creative or other) do you think you’ve gotten from the major?

Lots of writing! Taking English classes and writing my Honors thesis allowed me to practice writing clearly, concisely, and with organization. I've also learned different writing styles: narrative, essay, persuasive writing, etc. I've gained a lot of experience with research that will apply to the types of jobs that I'm interested in. I've also learned how to communicate my sometimes all-over-the-place thoughts and ideas through all of the class discussions that I've participated in.

What is your dream job or career?

I don't have a very specific industry or job role that I'm aspiring to but I have dream job/career characteristics! I would love a job that has an equal amount of autonomy and collaboration, requires creativity, and allows for time to reflect on one project before moving on to the next. Pretty vague, I know. No clue what it could be but I'm ready to explore and find this dream job!

What are you passionate about (or even curious about)?

I'm passionate about talking about mental health in the context of faith. I'm a Christian and I would love for more acknowledgement and support in the faith about the connection between mental health and spirituality. I've definitely experienced them as intertwined (when my mental health is struggling, so is my faith) and I think that it's important for other Christians to know that it's okay to address your mental health. It doesn't make you weak or unfaithful!

To you, what has been the most valuable part of the English major?

The people that I've met - fellow students, faculty, staff. I have made friends, found mentors, and supportive coworkers. All of my interactions and experiences in the English department have been incredible and I'm so grateful to have nothing but good memories to look back on when I think about my time as an English major.