This is a special Humans of Eddy post. Joelle Paulson is both a department alumna and a current faculty member. Over the summer and into the fall, she helped create content for the department blog and Facebook page, and she helped some of her colleagues enhance their faculty pages. Before that, she did some great work on content for our website, in particular putting together the Peace Corp International MA page, and a page that showcases graduate work. We decided it was about time you got to know her better.


Joelle Paulson
MA in Literature, 2014
Currently teaching CO150

You started at CSU as a graduate student — why did you choose to study here?

I chose CSU without actually ever visiting the campus. The English Department offered me a position as a GTA, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get in front of a classroom. It has been a decision that I am very grateful for! The people in the English Department have made my experiences here absolutely wonderful, and I have fallen in love with teaching. Plus, it’s Fort Collins, the land of biking and beer! I couldn’t be happier anywhere else.

Was there a specific class, professor, advisor, or fellow student who made an impression on you, helped you, or inspired you when you were a student in the English department?

Ellen Brinks and Leif Sorensen had a huge impact on my experience as a student. Ellen’s kind and patient manner was exceedingly helpful when I was writing my Master’s Project, and I now consider her a close friend (along with her dog Pearl and cat Opal!).

I took two classes with Leif, and he was probably the most challenging professor I had. We read A LOT in his classes, and he really pushed us to dig deep into the texts. I owe so much to both Ellen and Leif!

How would you describe your work in the English Department now?

I currently teach four sections of CO150, and I have been doing a little bit of side work on the department blog. Teaching has been challenging, but I love it! Nothing beats the amazing connections you can build in a classroom.

Over the summer and into the fall, you were helping create content for the department’s Facebook page and blog – what did you learn about the English department through that experience?

Through my work on the Facebook page and blog, I had so many opportunities to connect with faculty and community members that I otherwise wouldn’t have met. The best part was learning about the many interesting things our faculty members do!

What do you enjoy most about your work at CSU?

I enjoy the people I work with! I have been so fortunate to build a strong group of friends in the English Department, and that, more than anything else, has made my experience wonderful.

How did your major prepare you for the job, the life you have now?

I use the critical thinking and analysis skills I gained during my experience at CSU everyday in the classroom. I try to get my students to recognize the rhetoric that surrounds them and to understand the deeper meanings embedded in even the most mundane things like advertisements or films.

What would you like to tell prospective CSU English Department students?

This place is abounding with good beer, good people, and an incredibly smart and helpful team of instructors and professors in the English Department. Be prepared for a lot of challenges, but as long as you have a healthy outlet for your stress, it is all worth it.

What advice do you have for current CSU English Department students?

Explore your other interests even while in grad school. And remember that your classmates are probably one of your best resources, even if all you need is a hug. I also recommend hiking up to Horsetooth Rock at nighttime, if you’re up for a bit of adventure.

Joelle Paulson

Why is it important to study the Humanities?

The humanities are about thinking creatively. They’re about applying creative solutions to the world’s problems and making moral and intellectual sense of everything that happens. They’re about empathy and fostering social justice and equality. They’re about making meaning out of things that may seem incomprehensible and enjoying the beautiful diversity of humanity.

What was the last piece of writing you read or wrote? OR, What are you currently reading, writing?

The last book I read was Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half. I have never felt so deeply connected to an author as I did to Allie Brosh. Her writing and illustrations are honest and beautiful. I secretly want to track her down and force her to be my best friend.

What are your hobbies or special interests, what do you enjoy doing with your free time?

I enjoy playing disc golf quite a bit. I’m really trying to get better! I also enjoy zombie movies, tennis, and dancing poorly.

What don’t your colleagues know about you?

Sometimes I walk my rabbit Gunther on a leash. Also, my side hobby is cake decorating.

What’s one thing you dream of being able to accomplish in your time at Colorado State University?

I am trying to become more tech-savvy! I’m teaching myself some code; so far I’ve succeeded in creating a webpage about giraffes as practice. I’m also planning to develop my own personal blog, as another outlet for my writing.