Graduate Alumni Interview: Stephanie Lance
PhD in English, literature concentration
I earned my PhD in Literature from USF in 2019 and completed my BA and MA in English from Florida Atlantic University. My current research explores slaughterhouse imagery in twentieth and twenty-first century texts. I primarily focus on the shared bodily oppression that exists between human workers and animals in the slaughterhouse. My recent publication on this topic titled, “The Cost of Production: Animal Welfare and the Post-Industrial Slaughterhouse in Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake” (2020) can be found in a special Environmental Studies Issue of the MOSF Journal of Science Fiction. My research interests also include Composition Studies, Feminist Theory, Environmental Ethics, Food Studies, Working-Class Literature, and Critical Animal Studies. I currently teach First-Year Composition, Introduction to Literature, and special topics courses on food and Literature and representations of animals in Literature.
What is your position now?
Full-time Tenure Track English Instructor at Hillsborough Community College – Dale Mabry campus.
Why did you come to the USF graduate program?
After earning my MA in English from Florida Atlantic University, I spent a year adjuncting at various colleges and decided to pursue a PhD in English to become more marketable for a full-time teaching position at a university or community college. I was attracted to the graduate program at USF because of a graduate conference I participated in a few years prior. The conference was organized by the English Graduate Student Association (EGSA). I remember being drawn to the program because of the friendly coordinators, welcoming atmosphere, and professional quality of the conference. I also fell in love with the campus and the Tampa Bay area; therefore, USF was one of my top choices.
What was a unique opportunity you had at USF?
During my time as a graduate student, I had an opportunity to participate in a paid internship with the USF Humanities Institute on the Tampa campus. During this time, I learned the administrative side of academia, which was a truly rewarding experience that eventually led to a part-time job. As program coordinator, I planned many exciting events, booked speakers from across the country to present at our campus, and organized various activities on and off campus, such as Blind Date with a Book and Humanities & Hops. This experience has been an invaluable part of my education and added to my marketability—as these skills could easily translate into any number of careers inside and outside of academia.
How did USF prepare you for your current position?
USF provided me with rigorous classes that led to my dissertation topic and professionalization workshops that prepared me for the academic job market. The department also guided me towards a strong and supportive network of professionals. After graduation, with the support of my mentor and the department, I perfected job materials, and participated in mock job interviews in preparation for upcoming job opportunities, which helped me secure a tenure track teaching position.
What advice would you give to new graduate students in the program?
I believe any program is what you make of it, but USF offers numerous opportunities for students to grow as scholars, teachers, and professionals. I suggest being involved in departmental activities as much as you can handle. Secure a faculty mentor within the first year of study. Prepare job materials early: start a professional website, Twitter account, LinkedIn profile, CV, and resume. Keep track of everything you do while in graduate school and add to these professionalization materials as you progress through the program. Most importantly, have fun! Meet new people and network because you never know who might help you secure a permanent position doing something you love at some point in the near future!