Major of the Month: Gabriella Granada

English skills support this major's activities in advocacy and publishing
Image of English major Gabriella Granada
English major Gabriella Granada wears last year's issue of The Tower literary magazine; she served as fiction editor

Year: Junior
Hometown: Chicago, IL

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

The common thread tying all the best experiences I’ve had is the compassionate, funny, enormously talented group of people I’ve had the opportunity to meet within the English department. My time as an editor for the 2017 issue of The Tower art and literary magazine is exemplary. Over the course of the year-long class, I had an incredible experience and gained lifelong friends.

"I feel more than prepared to
take on whatever path I end
up choosing with the strong
analytical, communicative,
and writing skill sets I’ve honed
within my English major."

Are you pursuing any majors, minors, internships, or fields of interest outside your English major?

My interests vary greatly, and my English major plays an integral role in all of them. It's important to me that I find ways to incorporate my passion for advocacy and activism into everything I do on and off campus. I’m a certified sexual assault counselor and violence prevention educator at the Aurora Center. I work for The Riveter Magazine, a publication that celebrates long-form, female-driven narratives. I periodically contribute to The Wake Magazine as well, often covering topics on campus rape culture. I also was fortunate enough to be an intern at Coffee House Press this past fall. One my proudest roles, however, is being a leader of the campus organization She’s the First, which fundraises and advocates for the education of girls in developing countries to be the first in their family to receive an education. The confluence of these experiences has sparked interests in getting involved with Title IX law and legal advocacy, writing about socio-political and socio-economic issues that impact women, publishing literature that has social purpose, and contributing to nonprofit work supporting equal educational opportunities for girls globally. I feel more than prepared to take on whatever path I end up choosing—maybe even multiple paths—with the strong analytical, communicative, and writing skill sets I’ve honed within my English major.

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

It’s worth noting that most of my favorite English classes had a refreshing mixture of students from inside and outside the major. I’d recommend taking a class with Professor Siobhan Craig. Her Textual Analysis class actively challenged the canon, which I greatly appreciated. Another is Senior Lecturer Eric Daigre’s Protest Literature and Community Action class, which was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had on campus. It combines community volunteering with protest literature and examines the roles activism plays within academia and vice versa. If you have the opportunity to take a class with Professor John Watkins, take it. His Shakespeare class was the best academic experience I’ve had at the U thus far. He would walk into class every day (which was located in the radiation lab of Moos Tower), crack a joke about hazmat suits, set his briefcase down, and begin talking—no outlines, no slideshows, no presentations—just his knowledge on Shakespearian works and the rich, tumultuous history behind them. At the end of every lecture I had to fight back an overwhelming urge to stand up and applaud, and I definitely wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

If you studied abroad, what did you take away from the experience?

I’m living in Seville, Spain for the next four months, so I’ll have to get back to you in May. (I have a very, very good feeling about this, though.)

Best book or movie you've read/seen recently?

I read André Aciman's novel Call Me by Your Name after seeing it in theaters and was enamored. The book and movie are devastatingly beautiful. I also recently read Carrie Fisher's Postcards From the Edge and (re-read) The Princess Diarist, but there's no surprise there; I'll always vouch for Carrie.

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