Honoring my UC Davis English Professors

Dr. Colin Milburn, prominent writer on Nanoscience and the history of Science Fiction.

Opportunity for higher education should be considered a right and not a privilege. The faculty of the UC Davis English department expanded my mind in ways that I will be forever in debt to. My mind is expanded today because of these amazing individuals. I have such intense gratitude for each one of these wonderful people. Each of them pushed me in different ways, which is likely one of the best things that has ever happened to me: they showed me that “being different,” and “thinking differently” is more than OK, it’s great, and you should gladly pursue intellectual bright spots. The world is better because of it. Lean into your inner nerd, that’s the coolest and rosiest thing you could ever possibly do for yourself.

These are a few things that I learned while a student in the UC Davis English program and they stuck with me:

Jane Austen was actually an abolitionist. Her book Mansfield Park makes not so subtle remarks towards her abhorrence to the horrors of slavery.

Science can now be considered “culture” more broadly, and we need to understand the connections between social sciences and the arts to ensure we are on the right path when shaping histories. This is the only way we can pursue justice, justice for people and climate justice… For example, national identities can create different research agendas and we must be cognizant of how science and the humanities overlap as we move forward in the scientific fields globally.

Cyborgs can take on human traits, thus, we humans, can technically fall in love with a cyborg. What does that teach you about your humanity? It teaches you that you should never be afraid to love and feel because that’s what makes us human. Cyborgs won’t ever make up for that and we can’t fool ourselves into that future. Blade Runner (1982) really makes you realize this… Harrison Ford falls in love in “November 2019” with a cyborg indeed…

“November 2019”

John Milton played with the concepts of Christianity in such a way that makes us reconsider the entire faith itself. Can you feel compassion for all of the characters? Evil ones like the fallen angels, too? That’s called empathy and more people need to flex that muscle these days. If Paradise Lost was made into a film, it would be the most epic film of all time, but it’s too complex to turn into a film that would do the literature justice.

These are just a handful of the topics that helped expand my mind in literature, fall deeper in love with writing and writers, and embrace my humanity in new ways.

Indeed, we are all connected, and this is rosiness to me.

People commonly make the assumption that literature majors aren’t suited for jobs in science, technology, economics, policy work etc. In fact, this is the exact opposite. Literature majors can enter into every sector and add value across verticals.

A robust and deep understanding of literature, philosophy, and critical theory equips students with a more profound understanding of the world around them and how they can work to improve the world in all the sectors they may enter. English majors are a wonderful addition to any team.

Dr. Margaret Ferguson and I on my graduation day.

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