Senior Profile: Amanda Duncklee (’18)

AmandaDProfile by Devon Davis (’19)

“I learned all, and though I sometimes try to find the way, I tell myself I am better off roaming than luxuriating.” —Amanda Duncklee, “The Fall”

Amanda is currently a junior here in Marywood’s English Department. With only one more year to go, she has opted to take her Senior Seminar class early so it won’t be a worry in her senior year. During Senior Seminar a student must pick a thesis for a capstone project that will be worked on for the entirety of the semester. Amanda has chosen for her capstone three works of literature with a common theme: Bram Stroker’s Dracula, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, and Robert Lewis Stevenson’s Strange Case Of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Her focus will be the common thread of these three novels, as she puts it, “how perspective is used within all three of those novels…there is no omniscient narrator its all first person I think it’s very interesting.” She intends to examine what this common perspective adds to the stories and why they were written this way. With an obvious love for the subject material, she concludes that she is very excited about this thesis and what it holds.

Why English?

Without hesitation she answered, “I always always always was a big reader.” To her, and to most English majors, English had always been a big part of their life in some way. For Amanda the choice was always clear: “I enjoy being able to express my own ideas… I just love words, it’s my passion.” Though English isn’t always an easy path, or as Amanda puts it, “you really need to love it to commit to doing it,” she recognized talent within herself and set her mind to developing it. She takes a very practical approach to the fact that she needs this development to obtain marketable skills for her future.

One of these important skills, and one of the most important traits for an English major to have, is flexibility. A lesson in flexibility came to her recently with a class reading and discussion of Jane Eyre. She admits, “I’m personally not the biggest fan of Victorianism…I had all of these ideas about the [novels] being stuffy and weird.” Soon though, she came to see Jane Eyre in a different light because it did not fit the notions she had about the period in which it was written.

Extra Special Extracurriculars

Unsurprisingly Amanda spends some of her spare time as a tutor in the Writing Center, meeting with students for a few hours every week to workshop and help edit their papers. She is also a SOAR Job Coach which is, as she puts it, “a volunteer activity I love.”  SOAR or, Students On-campus Achieving Results, is a program that works with autistic high school students who are developing job skills. Amanda’s schedule is also filled with an editorial job for The Bayleaf, organizing a Story Slam, volunteer work as a buddy for Kidstuff, and honors- level homework. Even through her extensive roster of extracurricular activities, she maintains that she enjoys all of it, citing that she generally does things because “they’re fun and I’m interested in them.”

Looking Back/Looking Forward

From her first days exposed to this department she knew she was where she belonged. Reminiscing on a memory of her orientation she recalled being inspired and welcomed by Dr. Bittel and Dr. McMillan: “Seeing these two really strong women in academia, you could tell how smart and how open they were; they were incredibly kind.” It was this close-knit big- hearted family environment within the department that she loved from day one.

Moving towards her future Amanda is unsure of her next big step. Within the first five years of her graduation she’d like to have a full-time job and be out on her own but beyond that she’s unsure of the exact profession she’d like to go into, “maybe publishing, editing, something like that.” Her goal is to become stable; she would like to be financially secure so she may start a family and build her life.

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