Martinelle Allen, Class of 2013 (MA)
English Teacher Abroad, Shenzhen China
What have you been up to since you were a student at Marymount?
Since graduating in 2013, I took the next step in my personal and professional life and moved to China and continued my career as a high school English teacher. As a result, I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world and collect entry stamps in my passport from countries like Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Spain, South Africa and Egypt, to name a few! I love seeing part of the world that I only saw in movies, or that were supposed to be set in beautiful, exotic, and historic places. I grew up in a small town and I knew that one day I’d get my passport and collect as many stamps in it as possible!
What challenges or obstacles did you face in your academic career?
In addition to being a full time graduate student, I worked as a graduate assistant and taught high school reading and math part time. Juggling my professional and academic responsibilities was rigorous at times. I’ve never had to be more diligent about managing my time than when I was studying at Marymount!
I woke up early so that I could be on time to work in the morning. I used my planning period wisely to complete all my documents for the week. If I had any spare time during my planning period, I could complete the homework readings and type my responses for class assignments. I ate dinner before classes started and after classes ended, I’d go home and start the day all over again.
How did your experiences at Marymount impact your life?
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Marymount! One of the things that I enjoyed most about Marymount was the opportunity of combining some of my passions (comic books, film and television, race relations, and pop culture) with almost all of the courses I enrolled in. I was also grateful for the numerous opportunities to have a platform to have my voice heard when I presented at conferences both on and off campus.
What are your future career, service, or other goals?
I plan on being a teacher for as long as I can, as it has been my dream ever since I was seven years old. And, of course, continue to travel and see the world. I love all the opportunities that I’ve been able to take advantage of since I’ve lived in China. I love the fact that I’ve been able to broaden my horizons with teaching English to second and first language learners, I love the fact that I’ve been able to learn a new language (even though I’m not fluent). I sometimes think about going back to school to be a student again, but I’m having so much fun right now! Who knows; one day…
What advice would you give prospective students in your field?
This is a hard question to answer. With the exception of attending Marymount, not all graduate students attend graduate school for a singular reason. But the one piece of advice that I can think to give that can apply to everyone is this: make your classes and your degree work for you.
It made sense for me, as an English teacher, to earn a degree in literature and language. I not only was able to apply what I learned to benefit me personally but also professionally so that I could impact my students and my lesson plans. So everyone needs to keep that in mind when they are scheduling which classes they enroll in, choosing a topic for their papers, and organizing and giving their thesis defense. It worked for me, so hopefully, it can work for someone else, too!
Profile interview conducted by Nhu-Phuong Duong