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Alumnus Kyra Sherwood
Master of Arts in English, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2011
Kyra Sherwood graduated with a MA in English during the Summer of 2011. Her thesis, “Bad Romance: Dracula, Twilight, and Rape Culture,” is a feminist critique of the Twilight series. She examined how certain elements of the Twilight books help perpetuate rape culture. She is currently employed with Alaska Fish and Game as a publications technician. Her job entails her to edit scientific reports of publication; in other words, she looks at the grammar and style of reports as well as the table formatting and other technical elements. Since she is in the headquarters for research and technical services for sport fish, she mostly deals with commercial fisheries that need to get published, who then come to her or her boss for the publications. She heard about this job opportunity from Dr. Jennifer Stone, a faculty member of the MA program, and was hired with the help of her relevant educational background.
One of Kyra’s biggest take-aways from the program was the fact that there was a lot of freedom to pick topics that interested her and approach it from an angle where it was enjoyable and not forced upon her. When it comes to courses that were most essential to her education, she feels that Dr. Stone’s class that was dedicated to the preparation of drafting a thesis helped her when the time came to write her own final paper. She also loved Jeanie Bab’s class on Victorian animals, where she a wrote an award winning paper on Tess similar to her thesis.
Although most of the people Kyra worked closely with are no longer at UAA, she states that her thesis advisor and faculty advisor were extremely understanding and supportive with both her academic goals and academic struggles. She felt like the professors were more like colleagues as opposed to high school teachers. One piece of advice she would give to someone considering the MA program is: “make sure it’s what you really want to do. It’s going to be hard work but it’s a pretty incredible opportunity to study a lot of things that deeply interest you. If there’s something that you wanted to focus on in undergrad but couldn’t, the MA is a really good place for you to do that.”