English Major Spotlight: Olivia Kraemer

With an interest in urban schooling and racial justice, this major plans to become a high school teacher
Head and shoulders of person with blonde hair and light skin, wearing strap top; background ivy over bricks
Olivia Kraemer is a recipient of a 2023-2024 Donald V Hawkins Scholarship

Year: Senior 

Hometown: Rosemount, MN

Why did you choose to major in English?

I want to become a secondary English teacher (specifically high school students); majoring in English allowed me to take those next steps toward my passion. I’ve also always loved reading and writing, so taking English classes and immersing myself in the material came naturally. 

What has been your favorite part of your experience in the department?

I would have to say Community Engaged Learning (CEL) as a part of my English classes. I got to make connections with students inside their classrooms while also using my English major and skills to teach and guide them through their various educational journeys. 

Are you pursuing any majors, minors, internships, or interests outside your English major? 

I have a minor in Urban Schooling and Racial Justice, which has allowed me to step outside of my racial background and experiences to understand the different cultural backgrounds my students will be coming from, how to develop an equitable classroom that serves my students’ cultural capitals, and how to create cohesion with a multiplicity of intersectional identities inside my classroom. 

What is a favorite book you read for an English class?

It has to be Dracula in Dr. Ann Tandy's "Textual Analysis" course. We got to explore the nuances of different literary methods and reinvent our way of looking at and writing about the story of Dracula. 

What English course would you recommend for majors? For non-majors who want to take an English class?

I would recommend ENGL 3001W “Textual Analysis: Methods” to all English majors because it forces you to look at literature through different lenses and get more creative about how you write and analyze texts. For non-English majors, I would recommend ENGL 1701 “Modern Fiction” because it is a good starter course to dip your toes into reading, writing, and discussing the different parts of fiction and how those parts play into the text's meaning and purpose as a whole.

What is your favorite thing about Pillsbury Hall?

The community that has been instilled and developed within its walls. But I also have to give an honorable mention to the staff that hands out treats on occasion!

What is something about the English department that most people wouldn’t know?

How sincere the camaraderie is between the students and staff in the English department. Every class I have ever taken in the English department has been led by professors who get to know me and assist me so that I can succeed. The classes have also been filled with students who work together professionally but also become people to lean on outside of class. I am so grateful to have such a supportive community. 

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