We love our adjuncts! The Thoma Staff recently interviewed Professor Carolyn Epstein, one of STAC’s English professors, to find out more about her role in our English department.
Thoma Staff: What brought you to academia? What is the best part about teaching at STAC?
Professor Epstein: Prior to coming to STAC about 15 years ago I had a long career in public education in New York City and Rockland County. I found that many of the skills I had honed over the years could comfortably be transferred into college classrooms. Here at STAC I found an intellectually lively, socially diverse community with great possibilities for creative classes and close interactions with my students.
Thoma: As an English professor, do you have a favorite story/reading passage that you like you students to read?
Prof. E: My favorite passage is from one of the most engaging books in the English language: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The novel opens with the oft quoted sentence: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” Parsing this sentence is so much fun! A number of years ago I had an opportunity to include this book in my syllabus and I remember how it challenged the class to think about dating, marriage, power, social standing – and of course – money.
Thoma: What is your favorite book? Are you reading anything currently?
Prof. E: This is a very difficult question. I have so many “favorites.” However, the one that has most strongly stood the test of time is another one of Jane Austen’s – Emma. It is a deeply complicated book that takes on new meanings and raises more questions with each rereading.
Currently, however, I’ve just been indulging in a stack of delightful British mysteries by Ruth Rendell. This is a genre that I have loved for years – having enjoyed all the books by Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, P.D. James – and others. As a bonus, the BBC has turned many of these books into films – which are now part of my home DVD collection.
Thoma: If someone made a movie adaptation of your life, which actor would you pick to play you?
Prof. E: Oh dear! For this question I had to consult with a few family members and friends. Interestingly the vote was unanimous: Meryl Streep.
Thoma: What is your favorite quote?
Prof. E: Less a quote and more of a daily reminder: “Do your best.” It’s what my yoga instructor says to our class. And it’s what I remind my own students to consider. It’s so simple.