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Student Spotlight: Ali O’Neal

From Huntsville, Alabama, Ali O’Neal is a junior majoring in English and minoring in French. She is a member of the Writer’s Club, a musician in RUF, a member of the Toqueville Society, and a member of the JSU Honors Program. She recently got the opportunity to present workshops at a local high school with her Shakespeare class.

Do you have any hobbies?

I love to read and write, play music, and hug animals.

What is the last book you read?

The last book I finished was Le Rouge et Le Noir by Stendhal.

What is your favorite thing to eat on/off campus?

I really like the pickles at Jimmy John’s!

Why did you decide to come to JSU?

My brother was already here and I loved the atmosphere of the campus. Also, scholarships!

What made you choose your major?

I love everything about the English language and literature, so it felt natural to choose it as a major.

Can you tell me a little bit about your recent field trip with your Shakespeare class?

Dr. DiBiase and Dr. Boynton decided to merge the Shakespeare and Drama courses this semester for an interdisciplinary approach to Shakespeare’s plays. Recently, half of my Shakespeare class teamed up with the drama students to prepare and teach Shakespeare workshops to local high school students. My group presented workshops at Oxford High School. In each class, we taught about Shakespeare’s life, time period, and works. We also engaged the students by using activities and games that animated the text. In one activity, we took two volunteers and had them act out the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet in a modern context. Although they had never studied the play, and barely paid attention throughout our workshop, they brought the text to life! By the end of that activity, the whole class had grasped what happened in that scene–even though the language was confusing. The experience was a memorable lesson for me, as an English major, to remember the great importance of studying Shakespeare in the context of drama. My favorite part about this project was watching the opinions that students had about Shakespeare change throughout each class period! Many students were surprised by the relevancy and comedic nature of Shakespeare’s plays. fff

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