Profile by Kayla Seymour (’17)
Q: Coffee or tea?
Maria: Depends on the day—either coffee in the morning and tea at night, or tea in the morning and coffee at night.
Q: Why did you choose to study English?
Maria: Originally I switched majors a couple of times, and I took a year off. Eventually my advisor pointed out that every elective I had chosen was English. So I pursued an English minor until I realized I might as well major in English, because I came to realize that those were my fun classes.
Q: Any advice to new English majors?
Maria: Not to worry about anything, not to worry about your future, just read and write. When things call to you, just write them down. Another piece of advice: when I read an article or book and see a word I don’t recognize, I write it down in this little book with other definitions. I’ll refer back to it and read it sometimes.
Q: Is there a professor that influenced you in any way?
Maria: They all influenced me in many ways…I would definitely say Dr. Conlogue and also Sister Christine. Sister Christine would assign a reading for us to read, and we would discuss it, but she would also read it out loud, and the way she emphasized and read things aloud—she added life to it. I saw a different perspective from her reading out loud. This emphasizes the reason I love English; I’ll read something and interpret it some way, and classmates and professors will bring out a variety of perspectives and different outlooks.
Q: A text that has influenced you?
Maria: When I was younger, Sherlock Holmes stood out to me, and that’s when I first started loving literature. Poe is also a big influence; Poe is different than anyone, and I was so infatuated with this that it started making me ask questions. Poe throws questions of all sorts at you—there’s no running from them. Also, in Dr. Conlogue’s class, Faulkner’s stream-of-consciousness and writing style made an impression on me.
Q: The focus of your capstone paper?
Maria: I am researching and writing about the comic series Watchmen. The setting of the Watchmen is during the Cold War, which involved tensions between the United States and Russia. There are twelve comic books in the series that I’m specifically going to be looking at. Throughout the series, you follow a superhero’s journal entries. There are a few superheroes in the Watchmen, but you only see one’s journal entries. I’m looking into Moore’s portrayal of the written word and how that affects society in the series, as well as society in the real world, in our society.
The reader also follows the story from newspaper headings; they are really important too. There is also a little boy reading a comic book, and the reader is reading the comic book as well, but the boy doesn’t know he’s in the book.
People may think that comic books are just for fun, but they have an impact.
Q: What is the capstone class like?
Maria: It has a family atmosphere. There are small groups that get together. Dr. Sadlack works with you every step of the way, so it’s not so intimidating. You talk to her about three different topics and choose one and make it yours.
Q: What has been most challenging for you in your studies?
Maria: I still feel like I’m not good at writing yet. I still don’t feel confident in writing. To loosen up about this, I’ll go see movies all the time. I’ll come home and write a film review, putting my thoughts down first and out on the page. I’ll then read other film reviews and see if other critics had similar thoughts or vice versa.
Q: Has being an English major taken you anywhere interesting?
Maria: Ireland (a Spring Break trip Marywood held for the Spring 2016 semester to correspond with a travel writing course.) Before this trip, I never took the time to journal, but now it’s super important to me. I write wherever I go, and I make time.
This reminds Maria of another piece of great advice for the eager writers and readers out there:
Bring a small notebook wherever you go. I don’t have the best memory so I’ll be like, “Hang on, I gotta write this.” Your world is your idea. You never know when ideas are going to come up. Your notebook is your interpretation of what the world is.
Q: So, what’s next Maria?
Maria: I think I would really like to teach. I really want to do something that makes a difference, something that makes an impact; to do so would be very rewarding. I’m interested in teaching abroad, EFL (English as a Foreign Language) in another country. I would love to meet people halfway.
Cheers, Maria. And good luck with everything. Can’t wait to read the miraculous things you produce.