Student of the Month: Helena Sherman
The UC Davis English Department's December 2019 Student of the Month is Helena Sherman, a third year English (Creative Writing emphasis) major, double minoring in Professional Writing and Technology Management.
What is the most memorable English class you've taken at UC Davis? Why?
I just finished taking my first ENL 100P workshop from the amazing Rae Gouirand. For one of my weekly poems, I pulled inspiration from an old summer job I had as a transcriptionist for Dr. Carol Vernallis in the music department at Stanford University. The poem was originally an oral dictation about a Beyonce music video, and I really liked how Dr. Vernallis discussed music and the video itself. The poem came out really well (thankfully so, I spent about 3 hours writing it!) and I got some great feedback on it during a class workshop and from Rae herself, which I was very excited about.
What is your favorite book/author? Why?
This is the question that every English major either loves or absolutely dreads (I'm unfortunately of the latter group and probably say a different book every time). I went through a World War II literature phase in my teens, so The Book Thief by Markus Zusak will always hold a special place in my heart. I will also say that I really enjoyed reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah and Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao this summer.
Why did you decide to major in English?
I was an obsessive reader as a kid and eventually started writing my own stories once I got my little hands on a notebook. I took honors and AP English all throughout high school, so when I started applying to colleges, English was the major that seemed to fit me best. I've met some really amazing students, professors, and advisors in the English department and love the community of support that exists here at Davis and I'm so fortunate to be a student here and to learn so much from the people here.
What is something you want other English Majors to know about your work?
I think a lot of people underestimate the skills that you learn as an English major. I've met some insanely intelligent people in this major who want to go to law school, can code, create beautiful artwork, and can all also write beautifully. Personally, I plan on going into technical writing as a career and hope to get a Master's in Business Administration someday because of my interests in technology and written communications. Definitely don't discount anything that you're learning, even if it seems obscure, and keep exploring all the opportunities that your professors or advisors or whomever offer you!