Portrait of Emma KerrEmma Kerr
English Major: Creative Writing concentration
History Minor

Besides your current classes, what else are you doing or have you done that we should know about? Awards? Special projects? Travel? Service work?
A project I’m excited for is my upcoming Honors thesis, which will be a collaborative piece with my CS major friend, Kyle Hobbs. It will be a choose-your-own-adventure/sci-fi text adventure app, which allows me both to experiment with narrative as a creative writing major and to enter the creative industry in an uncommon way. I am also proud to be an editor for this year’s Greyrock Review here at CSU!

What inspired you to get a degree in English? Why CSU? How did you choose your concentration?
I’ve always found solace in books (as many of us do), whether enjoying, analyzing, or writing them. Creative writers are in every major, but I wanted as much contact with fiction and literature as I could get. Besides the wonderful liberal arts college here, I picked CSU so that I could remain close to my family while experiencing a larger, livelier town than I grew up in.

We are always trying to debunk the myth that the ONLY options for an English major are to become a writer, teacher, or work in publishing. What sort of possibility, potential do you see for yourself as an English major?
I suppose I don’t clearly diverge from those three options, but it’s part of my plan to work while I pursue being a novelist. The options there are limitless — every company needs someone to help put forth their best message. In particular, I want edit/copyedit at any interesting company that needs it.

Knowing what you do about it, how would you describe the CSU English department to someone?
I would describe the CSU English department as a gaggle of distant and not-so-distant cousins. Because we all share a love for reading and thinking, it’s easy to find something in common with any English faculty member or students. The best English courses offer discussion and a close-knit group of thinkers.

Why do you think the humanities are important?
In some ways, the humanities are the most vital part of anyone’s college education. Before we can learn anything else, we have to learn to be accepting and understanding of those around us, and those around the world. A scientist needs to understand the variability of perspective across our diverse globe as much as they need to understand physics or chemistry. As I writer, I’m in love with the way we can consider the world in new ways through the lenses of genre and literary fiction.

What would you like to tell prospective CSU English Department students?
Not to listen to naysayers who point out how difficult it will be for them to get a job. The most important thing is studying what you are passionate about, whether that is Chaucer, fantasy books, biomedical science, teaching—or life, by taking a gap year. No English education is a carbon copy of another, so this department truly offers a unique adventure.

What advice do you have for current CSU English Department students?
I would advise my peers to take care of themselves while they work hard at accomplishing their goals. We’re in a great major, and I would encourage everyone to meet their professors one-on-one (the professor is everything!) and take at least one class outside their comfort zone.

What was the last piece of writing you read or wrote? OR, What are you currently reading, writing?
I am currently reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick on the recommendation of my Honors thesis advisor, Leif Sorensen, to stay sharp on robots, and Renegades by Marissa Meyer to stay sharp on YA genre fiction. I’m writing material for my thesis project and working on rewriting a young adult fantasy novel that I originally “doodled” in high school!

What are your hobbies or special interests, what do you enjoy doing with your free time?
Besides writerly and readerly activities, I love to get together with friends to experience the outdoors when time allows.

Where will we find you in five years?
Ideally, you’ll find a book of mine in the fantasy section of your favorite bookstore! I’ll be working somewhere interesting, visiting friends wherever they settle down, and writing in the time between.