Graduate Student Appreciates Reading Assignments in Online Master of Arts Program

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Ilari Pass (’18) has Improved Writing Skills and Received Recognition for Poetry 

Ilari Pass ’18 firmly believes that to excel as a writer, you must first read everything you can. As a student in the Master of Arts in English online program at Gardner-Webb University, she appreciates all the required reading. “I feel like I am the richest person in the world by being able to read such incredible works of literature,” she shared. “This has helped me academically, and I have become a better poet and I am so grateful.”

Since she began her graduate studies, her poetry has won two Broad River Review Editors’ Prizes. The Broad River Review is published annually by the GWU Department of English Language and Literature. One of her new poems, “Timestamp,” will be included in an upcoming issue of Common Ground Review, a literary magazine published at Western New England University in Springfield, Mass.

“Winning these prestigious awards brought on so many emotions,” Pass reflected. “I am grateful for the ongoing support I continue to receive from my GWU professors, but this is special as this is a tribute to my former English professor, Jeff Jeske, who taught me to always ‘think outside the box.’ He passed away earlier this year. I want to teach like him by being creative and doing good (deeds) in the world.”

Pass, who is employed by the U.S. Postal Service, has a bachelor’s degree from Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C., where she also won awards for her poetry. In addition, her poems have appeared in The Penmen Review, The Greenleaf Review, and The Lyre.

Her most memorable classes at GWU have been Literary Theory taught by Dr. Janet Land, and The Teaching of Writing taught by Dr. Shana Hartman. “In Dr. Land’s class, thinking analytically and critically took on a whole new meaning to ‘thinking outside the box,’” she praised. “I had a moment during the semester where I faltered, but she never gave up on me, and my confidence has been growing ever since.”

Through Hartman’s teaching, Pass has learned strategies to teach writing. “I had to closely examine what writing truly means and why we write by exploring several topics through multimodal composition,” she observed. “The experience I’ve gained with the use of different modalities is something I certainly wish to implement in my future writing classroom. I have learned a lot about the competitiveness of different disciplines within English studies in colleges and universities.”

She also appreciates the quick responses from professors and the ability to collaborate with other students in the class. “The whole experience has been great,” she affirmed. “Interacting with my fellow cohort has been a vital aspect of this program. Not only is this a great way of getting to know one another’s goals and dreams, but we work as a team to help and support each other in the process of successfully completing a course.”