Christine (Junker) Wilson
Ph.D., English Lit., Michigan State University 2008 Adjunct Professor, Wright State University
What I remember most about Honors is the camaraderie. We were all living in Helen Ferris Honors Hall, the program was brand new, and people were excited to be involved. Dorm room doors were always open and we moved from room to room talking about school, the future, our goals and our hopes. I was surrounded by others who were interested in being challenged intellectually, and we enjoyed going to cultural events together, especially Pizza with a Prof.
What I remember most about Ferris in general were the extremely dedicated professors. Now as a professor myself I realize that the professors at Ferris have a very heavy teaching load and not a lot of extra time. As a student I didn't see that. I just saw teachers who made learning exciting through passion for their subject and concern for their students.
My greatest challenge as an undergrad was balancing my drive to get good grades with the sometimes contradictory impulse to learn. Focusing too much on grades sometimes impeded my learning because I was afraid to take risks and thought more about a good "grade" as opposed to learning the material.
The turning point in my career was when I changed majors from Finance to English. I began to pursue what I loved to do, instead of what would make me the most money. Another Honors advantage was having Maude Bigford as a mentor. She has been my mentor for 10 years now and I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that she changed my life. Academically, Maude encouraged me to pursue what I loved, and we continue to trade ideas about our current interests and the books we are reading. In graduate school Maude was the steady person I turned to when I got depressed about the state of academia. As a professor myself I now look to her to help me navigate the tricky waters of being a mother and an academic, two roles that at times seem mutually exclusive. I hope that eventually I will get to mentor someone in the same way that Maude has mentored me.