We Are English Majors: Emily Masuda
Emily Masuda is a fourth year English major and this year's winner of the prestigious Leon H. Mayhew award. This award is given each year to a single UC Davis senior majoring in music, art, or literature, and emphasizes academic and extracurricular excellence. We asked her four questions about her time at UC Davis and her plans for the future.
The Leon H. Mayhew award is given to a student who demonstrates excellence both in and beyond the classroom. Can you tell us about some of your extracurricular activities while at Davis?
Looking back, I see that my extracurricular activities follow a trajectory towards teaching, though I did not realize this until the beginning of my senior year, which is when I began to fully pursue a career in education. Throughout my time as an undergraduate, I sought out extracurricular opportunities to work with students: freshmen as a resident advisor and Entry Level Writing Program tutor, local students in Davis public schools through Writing Ambassador internships, high school students in Japan and through COSMOS (California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science), and undergraduates in English 98F, the student-led course I taught under the guidance of Professor Elizabeth Miller.
Tell us about the "student-led" course you created. What inspired it, and what was the best thing to come out of it?
My English courses inspired the creation and implementation, in Spring 2016, of the student-led course. You can see its origins in its title, “The Children’s Literature Workshop: Reading, Writing, and Illustrating”: English 180 on Children’s Literature with Professor Miller and English 5F and 100F, fiction courses I had taken by that time. The best thing to come out of it—the students. They were so receptive and creative, and dedicated and interested. Meanwhile, I was a fellow undergraduate, an inexperienced teacher, and still they decided to take the course. They have no idea how much they were supporting me in such a new endeavor, when it seemed like I was the one supporting them!
What was one of your favorite classes in the English department?
I have no favorite—because even courses whose topics and readings interested me less were so well-taught and engaging that I became interested! I am partial to creative writing, so I would have to say that one favorite course that comes to mind is English 100FA, Advanced Fiction, and not just because our professor brought us an ice cream cake at the end of the quarter. I appreciated the intimacy of the small class size and the honesty and friendships that came with it. It gave me a glimpse into what an M.F.A. program in creative writing might be like. It also left me with a lot of writing with potential: when the quarter ended, and we completed evaluations, turned in revisions, and ate some cake, the course carried on—I was still writing that summer, the next year, and rewriting a lot.
What's next, after graduation?
In the coming year I will earn my English and multiple subject teaching credentials at Chico State. Afterward, for a year or two, I would like to teach middle or high school and search for opportunities to teach abroad. Then, I would like to apply to graduate programs in English, English education, rhetoric and composition, or creative writing. I foresee myself teaching in some capacity no matter what field, and hopefully the decision about what field will be clearer in the years to come. The professors that taught me from the English department and other disciplines like education and professional writing have given me many opportunities to see how fulfilling working with students can be.
For more on Emily Masuda and the course she designed while in the English department, see this announcement (of another prize she won!): http://english.ucdavis.edu/news-events/news/emily-masuda-awarded-lawrence-j-andrews-prize