Profile by David Kruman (’17) and Elise Cargan (’16)
Diane Congdon, senior English student at Marywood University, is in her final semester of undergraduate studies. Currently enrolled in the Senior Capstone class—a class that is largely taken in a student’s last semester as an English major, culminating in a large scale research assignment—Diane is focusing on the representation of mental illness over the years in both film and literature. For her research paper, she is studying both the book and the movie version of “Silver Lining’s Playbook” because of its “comical but realistic approach to discussing a theme that everyone can relate to on some level or has had some sort of experience with it throughout their lives.”
Where Did It Start?
Diane’s interest in English started when she was young after she first read her favorite book, Watership Down by Richard Adams. From there, Diane became more involved in English studies throughout high school, working on her close reading skills and getting involved with her school’s journalism team writing for the school newspaper, The Eagle Eye. When she first started attending Marywood, Diane began her studies as an English major, and after exploring other programs offered at Marywood, returned back to studying English due to her love of reading and interpreting literary works.\
A Different Perspective
When asked about her favorite class at Marywood, Diane cited Dr. Cardoni’s “Disabilities in Literature” course as being the most influential and intriguing class she had taken. “The [Disabilities in Literature] class opened my eyes to the portrayal of individuals with disabilities in popular literature and really influenced the decision I had to make when choosing the topic for my capstone paper,” said Diane about her favorite class. She also mentioned that Dr. Cardoni was her favorite instructor, saying that she “was a lovely teacher and was not afraid to speak her opinions.” Because of this, Diane’s experiences with literature in her other English classes were greatly influenced by Dr. Cardoni’s teaching style and love of deconstructing literature to find deeper meanings buried within.
New Doesn’t Have to Mean Scary
For new English majors at Marywood, Diane could not stress enough how important it is to not worry about encountering any aspect of English studies that a new student may be wary of or never had experience with until college. “For me, I was worried about creative writing. But then I realized that the professors here are always willing to help you when you are struggling and will work with you to make sure that you succeed in all areas of English studies, guiding you along the way and giving you a push when you need it. The professors are here to make you become a better reader, writer, and thinker, and I believe that they have done that for me.”