Tuesday, September 13, 2016

(Re)introduction to Your NCSCL Graduate Assistants

Welcome back, familiar faces, and a warm welcome to the fresh-faced students whose first time it is on SDSU’s campus! 

The National Children’s Literature Center is excited to say that we have a lot of exciting things planned by way of blogging and Instagram, so if you haven’t followed us on all of our social media, please do so! We’d love to hear from you. 

Facebook: /NCSCL
Twitter: @NCSChildLit
Instagram: NCSChildlit  

My name is Susan Shamoon (hello again!), and I’m back for another amazing year as a graduate assistant and new teaching associate with the Rhetoric and Writing Studies Department. 
This marks my second year of graduate school, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to come to terms with how fast this program is flying by! It’s both terrifying and gratifying to see how much work and knowledge you can accumulate in only the few short months of a semester, how many people you can meet and befriend, how many activities there are to participate in. 

Crazily enough, I’m plunging face-first into the thesis route of masters graduate study, and for a while, I wondered what I could write near-endless pages about—what interests me? Spoiler alert: unicorns. Unicorns interest me. That hasn’t really changed all that much from my elementary school days, but now it’s expanded and reinforced with theory and new interests. I’ll be writing about identity formation and blurred realities in young adult fantasy literature—which will include a certain unicorn who was almost the last of her kind once upon a time. My childhood self is squealing in excitement; you have no idea. 

And now, here to introduce herself, is our newest member of the NCSCL Holly Russo! We are so lucky to have her! 
Hi! I’m Holly Russo! Like my friend and colleague Susan, I am beginning my second year of graduate school here at SDSU. I am so happy to be joining the NCSCL team. I was lucky enough to watch my good friend Cristina Rivera in this position last year, and I have learned so much from her dedication.

This graduate program has been quite an adventure for me; I have two and a half year old twins at home who are just the cutest and happiest babies around (you can find all the cute pictures you can handle over on my Instagram). I just recently switched my field of study from American Literature to Children's Literature, and I couldn’t be happier. I come from a long line of teachers—my grandfather taught here at SDSU in the English department for thirty years; he was a Hemingway and Faulkner scholar, and I found myself following in his footsteps for a long time. It wasn't until graduate school that I realized my own personal interest in literature was leading me to Children’s and Young Adult Literature. I thought the switch would be incredibly difficult because I always believed that children's literature and American literature were vastly different, but they aren't, really. Both fields of study have their particular challenges, but when it comes down to it, the study of literature of any kind, in my humble opinion, is truly about understanding the world from various points of view. Now I get to see the world through children's books and young adult texts, and it’s just as beautiful and enriching as any other lens I've had the pleasure of learning through. 

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