Alumnus Erika Veth
Master of Arts in English, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008
Erika Veth completed the English MA program in May 2008. Her thesis examined literature as a specialty and focused on the poetry of Alfred Lord Tennyson and John Milton. Erika is currently employed by the Oregon Institute of Technology as a director of the online campus that focuses on STEM and medicine. Before taking the job in Oregon, she was a term instructor at UAA in the English Department. Erika says that she would not have succeeded in her current job without her MA in English. Having a Masters not only helped her be more respected in the workplace but she also learned valuable communication skills which she employs on a daily basis. During her time in the program, she participated in teaching apprenticeships, which in turn made her focus on the quality of her work.
The MA program in English taught Erika how to craft emails, create presentations, and how to rely on pedagogy, close readings, and teaching. It also gave her a better understanding of rhetoric, which helps her effectively deal with difficult situations and conversations in the workplace. Her experience with literary theory broadened her horizons through exploring different perspectives from different time periods. Dr. Jennifer Stone’s “Digital Literacies” course increased Erika’s awareness to the different ways of teaching and learning. Dr. Cason’s “The Short Essay” course taught Erika about the art of crafting a meaningful essay, which she says was “a really interesting journey I wouldn’t have pursued on my own.” Another essential course to Erika’s education was Dr. Kerry Morris’ course on how to teach an undergraduate class which included how to develop curriculum and syllabi.
Erika says “her Masters experience made her feel like part of an awesome academic group” where professors not only inspired their students but nurtured their individual skills and talents as well. She felt supported and included by the staff and faculty who each have their own gifts and talents. She acknowledges Dr. Judith Moore for helping her be a better writer and Dr. Jennifer Stone for discussing teaching ideas with her and being her mentor. Erika’s advice to anyone considering the MA program is “to not feel pressured to continue on to get a PhD. There are different paths one can take after completing a degree.”