When were you enrolled in the program?

Respondent # 20: Academic year 1997-98

How did you learn of the program?
Virginia was ranked highly and when I checked out your American Lit programs
I found AS@UVA
Why did you enter the program, and did it meet your expectations?
Alan called me and asked me to be a part of the program and he explained to
me why he wanted me to be a member of his group. I liked the idea of
combining the humanities and technology and Alan seemed like someone I
really wanted to work with and learn from.
What did you find most valuable about the program?
The teamwork of the group and our independence. Alan let us find things on
our own, but was still there for advice and support all the time. I really
mean all the time. We called or emailed him at night, on the weekends, when
he was away-- it didn't matter, he always helped us out.
Was the program different in any significant ways from your earlier

Yes, my ideas were respected and used. My classmates were my coworkers and
teammates. I learned to take and give constructive criticism and to be totally
responsible for what my projects became. This combination of team and the
individual is unique in the cutthroat world that can be graduate school. Alan
created the balance and we thrived within it.

Did the program help you develop any of these aspects of your life?
-Thinking and communicating? yes, yes yes, in so many different mediums
-Work habits? Yes, we had deadlines to meet, none of this "Incomplete"
syndrome that seems to plague the rest of the graduate English department at
-Research abilities? Yes, again in all mediums.
-Technical abilities?Of Course, even though I work at a ranch in Colorado, I
am managing their website and continuing to use my techie skills.

To what extent did your classmates affect your experience in the program?
Greatly. They were some of the best friends/coworkers I have ever had. I
give credit again to Alan for finding such creative and hard working
individuals. They made the program what it was.
To what extent did the public venue (the Internet) for much your work
affect your experience in the program? Very much so. I just got an email
from someone the other day who saw my site and had some questions for me.
The internet really opens up a dialog for everyone, not just those lucky
enough to get published. At first I was skeptical about using it, but now I
am convinced. It also made us strive to do better, because there our work
was, for everyone to see. We workshopped so many projects, and I learned to
take criticism.

Was the course work appropriate to the goals of the program?
Yes. I liked the way Alan let us figure it out on our own. We basically did
all of the internet stuff on our own time and with our own training. That is
the strength of this program, you have all the support structures you need
when you need them, but for the most part you are allowed to figure it out
for yourselves. Alan did a nice job balancing the technical with the more
literary and historical.
Did you perceive yourself as part of any university department or
community larger than the American Studies Program itself?

Not really. The English department was our larger department of course...and I
did enjoy my work in the writing center (Candace is wonderful!!) But for the
most part we really viewed ourselves as American Studies students.

How well was interdisciplinary study integrated in the program? Very well. I
took great classes all over UVA from Architecture to Religion. I felt I got
a good idea of what UVA was like outside of the English department. It is
such a strong school, I felt priviledged to be able to experience more of

Were the following resources (and any other ones) adequate for your work?
-Libraries? Yes--esp. the microfilms room.
-Computers and technical support? Of course Alan needs more computers in the
4th floor lab, but we managed to share.
-Work space? Again, Alan's lab is tight, but better than nothing and at
least we all got along well enough.
-Classes? Fine.
-Faculty? Wonderful. Especially Professor Korte and Professor Richard Guy
Wilson in the Architectural History dept
-Financial support? I didn't have any.

During the program did you have any relevant part-time employment?
The Writing Center
Please describe briefly your major forms of schooling and/or employment
since your time in the program (giving dates, name of organization, and
chief activities there):

I went straight to Colorado after graduation and I have been here ever since.
My decision had really nothing to do with AS@UVA, the short of it is, I love
horses and the West more than anything, so here I am . I work as a ski
guide/wrangler/Webmaster for The Home Ranch. I have used my skills from the
program to update our current site and create a new one.

Did you find advising and placement support in the program to be adequate?
Yes, again kudos to Alan.
Has your involvement in the program made a discernible difference in the
subsequent steps of your career? Yes, I have more options now and many
connections, both social and professional.

How might the program be strengthened? More and better computers.

Any other reflections?

I was reluctant to come to graduate school. I came because Alan called me and
when I met him, I knew it would be a positive experience. He is unique among
professors. He doesn't sugar coat things for you, but when you are in a bind,
he is there for you 100%. He made me really look at things for what they are
and also realize what they could be. I would bring in my frustrations with a
project, and he would ever so gently push me in the right direction.

You might look at my situation and say, 'well, you aren't really using what
you learned'. However, I am a better person for knowing and working with Alan
and my fellow MA98 comrades. I'm not sure you can ask for more than that.

I would be more than happy to talk with anyone about the program. My phone #
is xxx.xxx.xxxx.