Laura Waldrep '04
What is your current job?
I am a lecturer in the First-Year Writing Program, part of the English Department, at North Carolina State University, in Raleigh, NC. I teach English 101, Academic Writing and Research, which is seen primarily as a freshman composition course.
Why did you choose this profession?
After earning my MAT and teaching at the high school level for four years, I realized that I wanted to teach at the post-secondary level, so I earned my MA and I am now qualified to teach at the college level. I enjoy the challenge of teaching and working mostly with college freshmen who are (usually) eager to learn. I always wanted to teach, so for me, the hardest part of choosing my profession was deciding which level of students to teach. I find that teaching college students is rewarding because they are more independent than high schools students and I can focus more on teaching and less on disciplining.
What more do you wish to accomplish in your professional career?
Eventually, I would love to go back to school for a PhD, perhaps in education, literature, or composition/rhetoric. With an additional degree, I would be eligible for more stable university positions (tenure-track) and would have the opportunity to work with upperclassmen more frequently.
Tell us about a decision or change you made that turned out to be a positive career move.
My decision to leave secondary teaching and earn an additional masters degree was one of the best decisions I made, though it was certainly scary to leave behind a stable teaching career and to start over.
How has Haverford influenced your professional career?
Haverford gave me a strong foundation of knowledge and professionalism through its liberal arts classes. I really loved my English classes at Haverford and felt like my professors cared about my progress as an individual, considering who I was beyond just being a student... now that I work at a large university, I know that this level of individual attention is rare and special, and it is something that I try to achieve with my students as well. Furthermore, my English professors were encouraging and incredibly helpful as I went through the application processes for both of my graduate school programs; despite a gap of over four years between when I left Haverford to get my MAT and when I left teaching to get my MA, I still felt comfortable and confident about my professional decisions after getting in touch with former Haverford College professors.