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Michelle Alonso, B.A. in English Language and Literature, 2013, M.A. in English Language and Literature, 2015

by Monica Smith

Nov 04, 2022, 2:00 PM.

A two-time FIU alumna tells how her undergraduate and graduate-level English literature programs helped her analytical skills.
Michelle Alonso
Michelle Alonso

When Michelle Alonso embarked on her education with FIU, it helped her branch out and become more of a people person, she says. Always found with reading materials in her hands, Alonso followed her passion for the written word to a career in teaching.  

The alumna achieved her bachelor’s and master’s degree with FIU and has decided to push on to earn her doctoral degree. In the following, Alonso discusses what her programs have been like from the bachelor’s degree to now.  

When did you graduate?  

I graduated from FIU with my B.A. in English Language and Literature in 2013, then my M.A. in English Language and Literature in 2015, and currently, I’m pursuing my Ph.D. in Language, Literacy and Culture.  

Where do you work now?  

I currently teach advanced placement (AP) language and composition at a local charter school and ENC 1101/1102 to Miami Dade College students.   

What was your favorite class and why?  

This question is probably the most difficult of all of them. I enjoyed Medieval Literature with Dr. Heather Blatt because she challenged me to be a critical thinker and to rise to my academic potential. She was even kind enough to offer me an independent study when I expressed a desire to earn a master's degree in literature.     

Still, I look back with incredible fondness at every class I took in the English department. I had the opportunity to study under caring, thoughtful, and genuinely brilliant scholars who pushed me.   

What immediately applicable skills did you learn?    

My degree in English taught me to communicate effectively and analyze extensively.  As a result of this program, I feel better equipped to make connections across history and culture. I genuinely feel I owe part of my "people person" title to my degree.   

Why did you decide to study this area and choose this program?  

I have been a voracious reader my whole life. My parents encouraged me to read and think creatively from an early age and I think that their love of reading was the single greatest influence for me to choose this path. Books took me around the world and taught me about different cultures and time periods and they remain the single greatest source of knowledge and understanding in my life. When it came down to it, the choice to pursue a degree in English was seamless and natural.  

Often, I think people want a clear path to a career from their degrees and are stunned to find the versatility of an English degree.   

What did you learn that you didn’t expect?  

Watching classroom dynamics and getting to experience student centered classrooms taught me to enjoy the classroom and, in turn, taught me how to help my own students.   

Would you recommend this program to other students?  

Wholeheartedly. In fact, some of my current seniors are started their B.A. in English in the fall as the result of my enthusiastic recommendation!  

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