Ann Nicodemi | Graduated in 2008
Director, Donald F. Andrews College Writing Center
Posted on Sun, 3 Nov, 2013
I always knew that I wanted to major in English. What that meant professionally, though, I hadn’t quite figured out when I started coursework at Geneseo. Like many of my classmates, I assumed I would eventually become a high school English teacher. One semester, however, I took a course on James Joyce not knowing a thing about him except for the fact that he was an Irish author. I thought the course would pair nicely with the Irish history course I was also planning to take that semester. During this class, I realized I aspired to more than just being an English major. After spending quite a bit of time in the local high schools, I also realized I was decidedly not in favor of teaching high school English. I was starting to think about what would come next. I wanted to be a scholar.
Suddenly, being an English major wasn’t just about the fact that I loved reading. I learned that I wasn’t reading in isolation, or even just as a member of my class; I was part of a larger scholarly community. My professors urged me to develop an academic voice, and I began to understand that I should attempt to say something new as I analyzed the works I was reading. This new perspective, however, needed to be contextualized by the work of other scholars in the field. After this realization, I started to look for other communities in the department. For example, I joined the English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta, and eventually served as president. During my time as president, I learned that part of being a scholar is serving one’s academic community. Working with the English faculty to develop and offer a successful mini-lecture series in the department through Sigma Tau Delta allowed me to do so, and it furthered my admiration of a life in academia. My love of the major grew, and my dream became to attend a graduate program in English.
This dream became a reality when I graduated from Geneseo with a B.A. in English in 2008. With great support from those in the Geneseo English department, I was admitted to Boston College and I earned my M.A. in English with an emphasis in Irish studies in 2010. Because I had the opportunity to tutor writing while at Geneseo, I immediately applied for similar opportunities at Boston College. In addition to studying literature, language, and history, I tutored and taught a lot during these two years. When I graduated, I applied for jobs across the country in Learning and Writing Centers.
My first job was as the Writing Tutoring Coordinator in the Learning Center at Southern New Hampshire University. I also taught there as an adjunct in the English department. After two years at this job, I realized it was time to look for a job that more closely aligned with my vision of where I wanted to be professionally. After searching for jobs once more, I got a position at Chattanooga State Community College, where I am currently a faculty member in the English department, and Director of the Donald F. Andrews College Writing Center and Photography Gallery. As it turns out, I am not a scholar. My professional goals have changed and evolved throughout my time at Geneseo, and after. What remains the same, after graduating from Geneseo, I think, is my commitment to the idea of an academic community.
My responsibilities in this position include teaching a 3/2 (courses per semester) teaching load and directing the Writing Center. As Director of the Writing Center, I have worked to create and maintain an active campus writing community. I coordinate the Center’s tutoring schedule, hire and train tutors, tutor professionally, promote the Center, plan and run events, etc. As a faculty member in an English department, I am involved in curriculum and professional development, as well as institutional and departmental committees. Additionally, I am involved in the planning and running of local and regional conferences. I also advise students and help them select their schedules. I help run a student book club. I participate in a faculty book club. My opportunities to participate in various academic communities seem unlimited.
As a faculty member at a community college, my focus is not on scholarship as I once expected, but rather, on community and on serving various communities. My love of community began during my time at Geneseo. My first opportunity to serve as a leader was also as a student at Geneseo, while president of the English Honor Society. As an administrator, strong leadership skills and the desire to serve various communities are essential to my position, and I am grateful for the chance I had to begin to learn about such as an undergraduate student.
My advice to current English majors? Stay open to various career paths, even after you take your first job. Participate in as many communities as possible. Spend time as a leader. Serve others.