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DWC hires new visiting assistant professor

Teaches several undergraduate composition courses

Mario D’Agostino walked away from a finance degree he had nearly completed to focus on his love of writing. Now, he works as a Visiting Assistant Professor in CAHSS’ Department of Writing and Communication.

Mario D'Agostino

“The business side of it wasn’t so much drawn from my own personal interest,” he said. “It was more or less the advice of counselors and other individuals.”

The advice: It would be easier to find a job in business than in the humanities. With one semester left at the University of Windsor in Ontario, D’Agostino gave his finance book to a friend, walked out of the class, and visited the English department to plead his case for them to take him in. D’Agostino was able to transfer some credits, and his pivot to English added three semesters to his time in college.

“It was the best thing I ever did,” D’Agostino said. “Everything fell in line from there. Being happy and being in that program got me to produce my best efforts.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree, D’Agostino enrolled in a master’s program in English language and literature. He also worked as a graduate assistant, which gave him an opportunity to teach a few classes in an early British literature course.

“I just remember teaching that class, the excitement and enthusiasm of getting in front of 70 or 80 students in a lecture hall and taking them through the lesson plan,” he said.

D’Agostino said it was unusual for graduate assistants to teach a class, but the professor wanted to test the teaching ability of students who intended to move forward in academia.

A trip to a graduate conference in Cincinnati gave D’Agostino the inspiration for his dissertation topic in the Ph.D. English program at York University in Toronto. He visited a museum exhibit featuring the works of Shepard Fairey, the artist famous for pieces like his Barack Obama “Hope” poster. Fairey’s “Obey Giant” posters caught D’Agostino’s attention. On the drive back to Windsor, he began to think about alternate narratives and later developed the idea of examining alternate narratives in novels.

“In each of these novels that I looked at, there was a grand, overarching singular history that these narrators were attempting to dismantle and insert alternate histories,” he said.

In one example, a character in one novel is attempting to counter the history built up by a totalitarian regime. D’Agostino will be returning to Toronto after the winter 2018 semester to defend his dissertation.

NSU’s Fort Lauderdale/Davie Campus is far from Ontario, but D’Agostino had ties to Florida prior to working at NSU. He holds dual citizenship, and when he was a child his family would take vacations to Jensen Beach. D’Agostino moved to South Florida with his partner and was attracted to an opening at NSU.

D’Agostino is currently teaching the undergraduate courses COMP 1500 and COMP 2000. Although he hasn’t finished his first semester yet, D’Agostino said he’s glad to have joined the NSU community.

“There’s a general excitement in these students that’s really great to see,” he said. “It excites me as an instructor when these students are genuinely interested in what you’re asking them to read.”

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