English Major Spotlight: Stacy Cossa
Hometown: Plymouth, MN
Why did you choose to major in English?
Simply put, I chose to major in English because it is where my passion lies. Analysis, reading, writing, research, critiques, and discussion bring unmatched fulfillment to my existence.
What has been your favorite part of your experience in the department?
The riveting in-class discussions on textual analysis. I have a sincere appreciation for the academic challenge of thinking deeper and effectively communicating those thoughts in the written word. Having this dedicated space to engage in one of my favorite activities has been a cherished experience.
Are you pursuing any majors, minors, internships, or interests outside your English major?
I have finished the Certificate in Editing and Publishing, and I intend to fulfill the requirements for the Equity and Diversity Certificate next semester! At this time, I am currently working on taking the last few required courses in the Strategic Communication major. Post graduation and after taking time to pursue working in the publishing industry (if luck will have me), I plan to attend grad school. I’ve always dreamed of teaching in the world of higher education, and I hope to one day make that a reality.
What is a favorite book you read for an English class?
Each piece I have read for school has led me to discover something new, either educationally or about myself as the reader, and has been instrumental in shifting the way that I perceive the world around me. However, I will list my top two favorites out of the bunch: If you pick up one book in your free time this year, let it be Citizen by Claudia Rankine. An intensely raw and emotional lyric, this book has remarkable power to inspire change. Rankine speaks with vulnerable authenticity on race and doesn’t shy away from creating a work that can strike a resounding chord and challenge the social views of the reader. If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English by Noor Naga is arguably one of the readings that I have highlighted the most during my time on campus. It dictates the struggles of navigating racial and cultural identity, whether that be at home or abroad.
What English course would you recommend?
ENGL 3005W: "The Survey of American Literature I" with Professor Rachel Trocchio and ENGL 3506: "Social Movements and Community Education" with Lecturer Eric Daigre. Professor Trocchio provided the class with in-depth context to see early American works in a new light. From acknowledging the cycle of trauma experienced by early settlers to learning the importance of the epistolary, this class is teeming with compelling perspectives and insights. Truly a great class (and an outstanding professor to take it with). If compassion could exist in human form, it would appear as Eric Daigre. The required classwork challenges one to think more critically about the world around us and compare it to our thoughts on what equitability in action looks like. I owe my newfound and evolving commitment to social justice to Daigre and his teachings.
What is your favorite thing about Pillsbury Hall?
My answer would certainly only be complete by acknowledging English advisor Rachel Drake. Drake has been an invaluable resource as I have navigated my time at the University. Each semester, she has given me the confidence to pursue the courses that I’m interested in. When I’ve found myself anxious and faltering, she has reminded me that I am indeed on the right path. If you haven’t, take this as a reminder to visit your advisors! Thank you, Rachel, for all that you do.
What is something about the English department that most people wouldn’t know?
The English department has its own club called FUSE, or the Fellowship of Undergraduate Students in English. FUSE is a great way to meet other English majors, network, and experience unique English-related activities! I cannot recommend it enough.
If you studied abroad, what did you take away from the experience?
I haven’t been on a study abroad trip. But I did attend the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference last year in Philadelphia as a staff member of the English department’s literary magazine, The Tower. The AWP conference boasts a variety of panels meant to inspire and educate literary creatives. It hosts a large-scale book fair filled with independent publishers and university literary magazines. I had the chance to rub elbows with industry folk, which proved advantageous as I came home with new networking connections. Upon arriving back in Minnesota, I knew that this was an industry that I would love to work in. What an adventure! If you are given any opportunity to travel and to learn more about a passion, take it.