The following testimonials represent the diverse learning experiences, academic achievements, and post-graduation successes of the alumni of the Department of Literature and Modern Languages.
If you're an alumnus/a of our department, we'd like to hear from you! Contact our faculty or department chair to share your academic, professional, or personal success story.
B.A. English & Psychology, Gender Studies Minor | Class of 2014
Alison Parente currently works as a Case Manager and Group Therapy Facilitator at a substance abuse and mental health treatment center. Prior to this she worked as a copy editor and freelance writer.
“My time as an English major at NSU truly changed my life. If it had not been for the guidance and wisdom of the faculty, the enrichment of the coursework, and the affirming and uplifting rapport I had with peers (which the program fostered), I would not be the person that I am today. The coursework pushed me to gain personal insight; the professors pushed me to gain professional insight. Both my heart and my mind flourished as an English major at NSU.
“[While at NSU] I was first an editor, and later a managing editor for Digressions. I also participated in academic conferences under the guidance of Dr. Waites and Dr. Dvorak during my time as an English major. What I am most thankful for from these experiences is that they challenged me to think creatively—applying course concepts to real-world situations—while simultaneously equipping me with invaluable skills that I would later use as a working professional. The unique perspectives that I gained through these experiences also became cornerstone to my sense of self-identity. For instance, because I was fortunate enough to learn about concepts like toxic masculinity, I was able to identify problematic language in marketing campaigns that other writers were not, and offer more inclusive alternatives. In turn, incorporating inclusivity not only into my professional practice, but my personal practice as well became a critical component of my core-value system.”
B.A. Humanities & Theater | Class of 2015
Angelica Zadak owns This is Improv and works in NSU’s College of Engineering and Computing as an Administrative Assistant.
“I was in Digressions all four years of undergrad. I started from being on the marketing committee and gradually worked my way to becoming Editor-in-Chief. Working in Digressions taught me about working with others, becoming inspired, and bringing visions to life. My experiences there has influenced my involvement in various organizations after my undergraduate degree.
“Working the Writing Center with Dr. Kevin Dvorak and the other writing fellows. Dr. Dvorak would treat us like fellow instructors in writing, working together to solve problems and accomplish goals. The writing fellows would talk endlessly between seeing student papers to work through our own scholarship and personal life goals. It was a supportive community.
“My degree brought validity to my interests and provided me with a new way of thinking. Instead of feeling insecurity from the formation of outlandish ideas, I was taught to explore ideas and refine them. By thinking this way, I was able to begin This Is Improv with my sister, where we give others the courage to be outlandish with our mission to ‘unconventionally help individuals to be heard and respected in the community, business, and life.’
“What made the difference in my degree were the relationships I formed with all of the faculty members I met along the way. We are lucky as students to have faculty members who teach their passion and are so willing to share it.”
B.A. English | Class of 2013
Since graduating at NSU in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in English, I went on to get my Master’s from the University of Central Florida in Literary, Cultural, Textual Studies, and am now working on my doctoral dissertation at the University of Denver, where I tutor at the Writing Center, work as a Tutor and Tutor Advisor at the Learning Effectiveness program (which provides individualized academic support for students with learning differences), and teach classes in literature.
At NSU, I worked as a Writing Tutor in Academic Services and as a Fellow in the Writing Center. These constitute my first official exposure to collaboratively helping students in various stages of their writing process, which I do now both at DU and as a freelancer. My job as a Fellow provided me with the invaluable experience of learning pedagogical tactics from English faculty, whose methodologies I still reflect on when teaching my own classes. This position also afforded me the unique opportunity of delivering a conference paper at the Southeastern Writing Center Association conference as an undergraduate.
While all of the classes I took at NSU were formative influences on my academic career, those that especially stand out are the required Literary Criticism course––which not only introduced me to a variety of theoretical modes integral to the study of literature, but also challenged me to think critically––and Studies in Poetry, the Beat Generation, and American Transcendentalism, all of which figure heavily in my dissertation. Pedagogically speaking, I was energized by my professors’ passion for the areas in which they teach, and how they creatively constructed class lectures, discussions, and activities to transmit their passion to students. I have gone back to my NSU syllabi and class notes many times throughout graduate school, and I imagine I will continue to do so!
B.A. English | Class of 2009
Sheela VanHoose, B.A. ('09), is the director of government affairs and public policy at Charter Schools USA (CSUSA), a Fort Lauderdale-based education management company where she oversees local and state government affairs in Florida.
Prior to joining CSUSA in 2015, VanHoose was the director of legislative affairs for Broward County Public Schools. She worked for three years in the administration of Florida Governor Rick Scott, for which she served as director of scheduling and advancement and as a special assistant/regional representative to the governor. In 2014, Scott appointed VanHoose to the board of the North Broward Hospital District, the ninth largest public hospital system in the United States.
At NSU, VanHoose was an English major who was active in the Student Government Association and College Republicans. She was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society. She is a second-degree black belt champion and a former member of the U.S. National Karate Team.
VanHoose participated in Leadership Broward’s Class of XXXIV, and serves on the boards of the Broward County Boys and Girls Club, Children’s Diagnostic and Treatment Center, Broward Days, and the Village Square—Broward College.
“I will always remember the lively debates in the Student Government Association and the battle of wits using Roberts Rules of Order. But my fondest memory at NSU was the 9-11 memorial we set up in 2007,’’ she said. “We invited students to help us put up 2,996 U.S. flags representing the lives lost [on September 11, 2001]. It was incredibly moving to see students from different political, religious, and cultural backgrounds come together. I would not be where I am today if not for NSU. I would never have imagined a career in politics, but NSU helped me cultivate a passion for politics that changed my life trajectory.”
B.A. English | Class of 2014
I graduated from NSU in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in English. Following this, I attended the University of Bristol in England and received my Master’s degree with Merit in English Literature in 2016. I currently live in Boston and work in the editorial department of an imprint of the publishing house, Macmillan. While at Nova, I was a member of the Honors program and Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honors program. In my sophomore year I joined the staff of the undergraduate literary magazine, Digressions, as an editor and worked my way up to become editor-in-chief in my senior year. I was also active in the Writing Fellows Program and presented research on my work in the program at the 2013 Southeastern Writing Center Association Conference and the 2013 National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing. During my undergraduate summers I had the wonderful opportunity to be an intern in the production department of academic publisher, Taylor & Francis Group.
The English major at Nova allowed me to work with professors who provided me with great guidance and counsel on my academic career. Their courses challenged me to think critically and creatively about literature, culture, and society. Nova Southeastern University’s English major is a versatile degree, one that provided me with critical thinking, research, analysis, and communication skills that are applicable to many different career paths. The education I received from Nova Southeastern University’s English major was fundamental to my graduate studies and has been of great value to me in my career.