by Brianna Wilkins

There was a quote I once read in a book, and it went a little something like this, “Each meeting occurs at the precise moment for which it was meant. Usually, when it will have the greatest impact on our lives,” (Fathoms of Forgiveness, Nadia Scrieva). This is exactly what happened when English Department Chair Louann Reid met Cori McCallister, a third year English Education student. Louann was so impressed by Cori’s enthusiasm and future plans, that she suggested we interview her. As you will see from the following video clips, Louann was absolutely right.

Cori grew up in a military family and has lived in Fort Carson in Colorado Springs; Fort Hood, Texas; Kentucky and California. She’s also had the opportunity to travel to almost all of the 50 states. She’s worked at Poudre Valley High School with AVID students, and has even traveled to St. Lucia, South Africa to volunteer. She’ll soon be leaving to travel to Cambodia and work with an Australian nonprofit program called Reach Out Volunteers. We wanted to catch up with her before she left, and get the scoop on her life experiences.

Video clip: Cori introduces herself.

What has been your favorite moment at CSU?

This is really nerdy, especially since I want to be an English teacher, but my favorite moment has been an entire class that I’ve taken; it’s my capstone this semester, and it’s focusing on an individual author which is Mark Twain. We’re reading a whole bunch of his different works, and learning about the life of Samuel Clemens [which is Twain’s real name] as well. I’ve read some of his stuff prior to this class, and I knew that Samuel Clemens invented Mark Twain, but I didn’t really know much more about the man behind the mask. I’ve loved every single lecture in the class, and I talk about it endlessly; my friends are probably like “Okay we get it, Mark Twain wrote books and you love it” [laughs]. So that has probably been my favorite moment at CSU, being able to take that class.

Video clip: Cori gives advice to English majors and incoming CSU freshman.

What’s your favorite book?

My favorite book is this book that I read in third grade; it’s called, There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom. It’s set in the third grade, and ever since I’ve read it then I’ve always read it every single year. I’m 20-years-old, and I still read it. The main character is just having a hard time, but he finds friendship with his stuffed animals, and stuff like that. It really touched me when I was a kid because I grew up in the military, so I moved around quite a bit, and it’s hard being the new person, but you always have your stuffed animals and personal things to come home to. I have always found home in that book, so every time I have the chance, I give someone that book. It’s one of those that you grow up with, so that’s by far the one that I always go back to.

What’s one word you’d use to describe Eddy?

If I had to describe Eddy in one word I would say “Everest” as in Mt. Everest, because those stairs are terrible to climb (laughs). I have to go through the thought process of “breathe in” and “exhale” when I get to a landing. I’ll come up for office hours, and I’m like “Hold on a second, oh my gosh; anyone have an inhaler?” I don’t know why, I just feel like Eddy is so steep. I don’t know if anyone else has that issue, but it’s hard to climb.

Video clip: Cori talks about her future plans.

Cori says, “I think we have one of the best departments here, everyone is just so passionate about it, and they want you to be passionate about it. I feel like that’s what makes a great teacher, is to get your students as inspired, passionate and energized about what you’re teaching, and what you’re doing. I can’t wait to get into my own classroom, and hopefully I’ll have at least one student who says the same thing about me.”

Cori leaves for Cambodia this week, and will be abroad for three months. She will return and then go recruit for Reach Out Volunteers at different universities across the country. Cori will come back to CSU in the spring of 2015 to continue her studies as an English Education Major, and will graduate in the fall of 2015, with the hopes of becoming a high school teacher. We wish Cori the best, and can’t wait to hear about her travels. Good luck!