Jess graduated from Wilson College with two bachelor’s degrees, one in Equine-Facilitated Therapeutics (EFT) and one in English. Now at Auburn University in Alabama, she is working toward a master’s degree in English and plans to pursue a doctorate.
As an English student in Auburn’s graduate program, Jess is required to teach. “I struggle sometimes, but Wilson prepared me for the kinds of obstacles I’ve faced thus far, and I’m doing well,” Jess said. “The community here, though larger, is much like Wilson’s; graduate students and professors alike are highly invested in the success of their colleagues.”
After finishing her studies, Jess plans to teach English, possibly at a private liberal arts school.
“After my first semester of teaching freshman composition here at Auburn, I’m confident that teaching - in whatever form - is what I want to do for the rest of my career,” Jess said. “The job market for professors is dismal right now, but teaching English at the college level is a dream I’ve nursed for some time and I will not give it up easily.” Jess knew that she enjoyed teaching before entering college and initially planned to teach EFT lessons before switching to English. “At the time, I didn’t know my second major would lead me to graduate school in English and toward a teaching career,” she said. “I received an overwhelming amount of support from the English and mass communications faculty at Wilson, all of whom inspired me to make teaching English my profession.”
Even though Jess is no longer pursuing EFT as a career, “I value my degree highly and transfer many of the teaching skills I learned in the arena to my classroom here at Auburn,” she said.
As a member of the mounted drill, western and dressage riding teams; EFT Club; Candle Club and the Billboard student newspaper, Jess was a highly engaged student at Wilson. During her senior year, she was a peer teacher for the First-Year Seminar and was the student program director of EFT lessons.
While at Wilson, Jess formed a special bond with Toby, an Arabian horse used in Wilson EFT classes and owned by Ann O’Shallie, associate professor of equestrian studies and EFT.
“I enjoyed spending quiet time in the hidden pockets of the library and galloping along the trails with Toby,” Jess said. “I also enjoyed the relationships I built with the faculty and staff there. That’s something that really can’t be replicated anywhere else.”