Graduate Alumni Interview: Natalie Kass
MA English, rhetoric and composition concentration
Natalie received a bachelor's in professional and technical writing and a master's in English with a concentration in rhetoric and composition from the University of South Florida where she also worked as the entrepreneurial lead for the My Reviewers project. Afterwards, she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to teach at the Macau Polytechnic Institute in Macau, China from 2017-2018. Currently, she is working as a site teacher for Champions after school program in Ocoee, FL.
What is your position now?
I work as a site teacher for Champions after school program.
Why did you come to the USF graduate program?
I was working as a technical writer for My Reviewers at the time because I had just completed my BA in technical writing at USF. I knew some of the people in the rhet/comp program and they recruited me to teach first year composition because teaching was always something I had wanted to do. After getting to teach my own classes and taking some of the rhet/comp courses, I fell in love with the field and will continue to teach and write as my career.
What was a unique opportunity you had at USF?
The most beneficial opportunity for my growth at USF was getting to work as an Entrepreneurial Lead (EL) for the My Reviewers project with Dr. Joe Moxley. As an EL, Joe and our other business partner, Matt Mullarkey from the College of Business, travelled around the country presenting at edtech/academic conferences. This experience cultivated my entrepreneurial spirit and I got to learn so much about the business world even though I was getting an English degree! I'm very thankful for this opportunity because, after gaining this knowledge, I plan to start my own education business one day.
How did USF prepare you for your position?
Given the skills I learned in technical writing from USF, I'm prepared to teach in the same ways that I write—by analyzing my audience. In this way, even though I've only taught at the university level so far, I feel comfortable entering the K-5 realm as a site teacher with Champions. Technical writing is all about using appropriate language for your target audience, therefore, I plan to use these same skills when teaching for an audience of children.
What advice would you give to new graduate students in the program?
Make allies and get comfortable speaking early on! Graduate school is pretty grueling, so you'll want to make friends with your classmates who know what you're going through. Also, since grades are based on participation, you must participate by speaking in class! I was shy my first year because I thought everybody was smarter than me, but I realized that was just a fear of mine. Once I started speaking in class, I gained more respect from my teachers, peers, and even myself.