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Student Spotlight: Ashley Himmler

Ashley Himmler, a senior from Pell City, AL, serves as a Student Ambassador for the English Department. 

Major/Minor?

I am majoring in English and minoring in Film and Entertainment Technology. 

Recent Accomplishments?

Being appointed as a Student Ambassador is definitely my most exciting recent accomplishment! This week has been particularly rewarding academically, and I am excelling with research on Chaucer and on writing for my creative writing fiction course. I am proud of this work that reflects my passion for storytelling. 

Why did you decide to attend JSU?

I first visited JSU when I was a high school junior participating in band day. Instantly, I fell in love with the friendliness that radiated off of every Jacksonville student I met. JSU allowed me to live at home during my Freshman semester, an opportunity that was not awarded by most 4-year universities at the time of my application. I have always been—and always will be—grateful for the freedom to remain close to home and active in my Pell City community while being invited to explore exciting opportunities in the Jacksonville community. 

Why did you choose your major? 

All of my life, I have been blessed with remarkable English teachers. My 12th-grade literature instructor, Ronda Beaudoin, was instrumental in encouraging me to pursue further education in English—particularly in literature. Prior to her influence, I struggled to determine an aptitude for a “practical” career, which, to high school Ashley, meant a job that instantly transforms me into a citizen independent of parental funding. Further, I felt little inclination toward becoming an English teacher, and I figured that was really all anyone could do with an English degree. However, Mrs. Beaudoin told me that an undergraduate English degree can provide an appropriate background for further education in many fields, not just education. In my experience at JSU, I have found that participation in the English Department has demonstrated that there are multiple applications of an English degree. Therefore, I am deeply proud of my decision to major in English. 

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

I always have been and always will be a cheese enthusiast. Pizza and macaroni and cheese, especially my Grandma’s, are among my favorite foods in all the world. 

Favorite book?

I respectfully decline to choose a favorite book on the grounds that almost everything I have ever read has made its mark on me, and I cannot imagine myself without those marks. But a few at the top of the list are Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders,and J.M. Barrie’s classic Peter Pan. 

Clubs/Organizations? 

I am a part of the Korean Entertainment Club’s group chat, and I plan to join the Writers’ Club. 

What is the coolest thing about the English Department? 

Everybody has different passions! All professors agree that words and stories are powerful. It is interesting and inspiring to witness how every instructor was influenced by art and literature and how they impart that influence to their students. Dr. Larry Gray, for example, teaches Art of the Film, and his demonstration of the parallels between study in literature and film inspired me to pursue a minor in Film and Entertainment Technology. Dr. John Jones taught me to value the Romantics and thereby influenced my own philosophy of what literature should embody. Dr. Reed uses her knowledge and admiration of Chaucer to enrich the History of the English Language course. Dr. Susan Dean, who teaches my Southern Literature course, has revived my fascination with Gothic literature. The English Department thrives on the union and collaboration of all of these passions to create well-rounded readers, writers, and human beings. 

What are your post-grad plans? 

I plan to continue my education in English, but I am not sure how far I’ll go or in what job I will apply my knowledge. I am secretly (not so secretly) committed almost entirely to the prospect of being a scholar of Romanticism. 

Advice to students new-to-JSU?

Network! Network with your peers and network with your instructors. Foster a strong sense of community with those around you. In discovering yourself, allow yourself to be formed through interactions with others. Learn to grow from agreements and disagreements, similarities and differences alike. There is something to learn from everyone. 

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