The photo is from the summer I studied abroad in England. My sorority sisters Inna and Meghan—who remain dear friends of mine to this day—and I are posing in front of the Tower of London.
This past week, the Thoma Staff caught up with Dr. Shultz, one of STAC’s most beloved English professors.
She can often be found in her office mentoring and providing much-needed snacks to over-worked students. She attended the University of California, Berkeley for her undergraduate studies, Boston College for her M.A., and the University of Michigan for her Ph.D. She is currently Director of the Writing Program at STAC, as well as a mentor for incoming honors students. Her area of specialty is American Literature.
Thoma Staff: When did you start working at STAC, and what is the best part about your job?
Dr. Shultz: I started working at STAC in Fall 2012. The best part of my job is getting to interact with so many awesome people. Recently I’ve been writing a lot of letters of rec both for faculty and students, and writing them reinforces for me how lucky I am to have so much love and respect for the people I work with.
Thoma: What were both your favorite and least favorite classes in college?
Dr. S: As an English major, I obviously loved (most of) my English classes. But I also loved the anthropology courses I took; I was an anthropology major for a hot minute. Alas, I always struggled in math courses. (I know, it’s such a cliché for the English professor to struggle with math. But really, I just do better with words than numbers.)
Thoma: What is your favorite college memory?
Dr. S: Late nights in the dorms? Rush Week? Road trips from Berkeley down Southern California for football games? Making our way across the Bay to hang out in San Francisco? Studying abroad in Cambridge? Hanging out in coffee shops and reading books? Taking classes with renowned poets and writers? It’s hard to choose just one memory…my college experience was pretty awesome!
Thoma: What was your first Job?
Dr. S: I always babysat, but I got my first “real” job at 16: I worked as a door greeter at pet supply store. I was so good that they promoted me to cashier the very next day…and then when they realized I was terrible at math, within the week they had put me back at the door where I resumed my cheerful greeting: “Welcome to Pet Foods Plus! Is there anything I can help you find today?”
Thoma: What app do you find yourself using the most?
Dr. S: Facebook. I’m obsessed.
Thoma: Imagine you just sold your tech start-up for 10 million dollars! What’s the first thing you do with the money?
Dr. S: My husband and I would put together a pretty sweet travel fund, throw some money toward retirement, donate to various causes, and then invest money into our careers. Think of what the English department and Writing Program could do with a million dollar budget!!!
Thoma: Out of all the classes you teach, do you have a favorite?
Dr. S: I really like teaching all of my classes. If I had to choose a favorite, I might say English 211, which is Critical Methods. This is the gateway course to the English major, and English and Education majors take it. The material can be challenging, and that’s part of the fun: to introduce new ways of approaching literature and then watch students try them out. Dr. Rothschild and I have agreed to take turns teaching this class—otherwise we’d never let the other one teach it! Next semester I get to teach American Literature to 1900, an upper-level English course, and I’m pretty geeked out about that.
Thoma: If someone made a movie about your life, which actor would you pick to play you?
Dr. S: Can I choose Cate Blanchett, even though we look nothing alike??? SHE’S JUST SO COOL.
Thoma: Are there any hobbies that people don’t know you have?
Dr. S: Well, I did spend a lot of my time working out (weights, HIIT) and working in our yard, but then one weekend I totally overdid it in both activities and ended up injuring myself. Now I do less working out and working in the yard…and more yoga. And I’ve got some mad Ping-Pong skillz.
Thoma: Do you have any current movie, TV, or music obsessions you want to mention?
Dr. S: These days I’m walking around the house singing Adele’s “Hello” in pretty dramatic fashion, much to my husband’s dismay. And I have finally, finally decided to read Harry Potter. I have two more books to go, and over the holiday break I plan to watch all of the movies.
Thoma: If you were a candy, what candy would you be?
Dr. S: It’s a toss up between Junior Mints and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Thoma: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Dr. S: I’ve been given a lot of really great advice over the years…none of which I can remember at the moment, of course. But lately I find myself continuing to come back to these words, which frequently circulate on Facebook: “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”