Carnegie Mellon University

Students at Graduate Student Spring Open House

March 06, 2018

At Spring Open House, Prospective Students Get Inside Look at Academic Possibilities

By Daniel Hirsch

Armed with name badges, welcome packets, and intellectual curiosity, about 30 prospective graduate students visited the Department of English’s annual Spring Open House to learn the ins and outs of the department’s graduate programs. And, more importantly, if English at Carnegie Mellon University would be the right next step in their academic paths.

With visits to classes in all of the department’s programs, one-on-one meetings with faculty, catered lunches, it was a full two-day affair for the admitted prospective students.

"It’s been simultaneously exhausting and exciting,” said Deana Lorenzo, a prospective M.A. student in Professional Writing from Vermont. “But the amount of personal attention and access to faculty has been really great. Everyone has been really helpful, it’s like I’m already a full-fledged student."

Lorenzo says she applied to the Professional Writing program because she’s interested in issues related to communicating for public health and educational organizations. Over the two days she was here, Lorenzo says she especially enjoyed sitting in on Communicating in a Global Marketplace with Department Head Professor Andreea Ritivoi and Style with Professor Barbara Johnstone. 

"It’s been a good mixture of settings, of more intimate classes and big department events," said Emma Sunog, a prospective Rhetoric M.A. student from Somerville, Massachusetts. "I’ve had a really good time here."

Michael Pons, a prospective M.A. student in Literary & Cultural Studies, traveled from Jacksonville, Florida, where he’s studying English at the University of Northern Florida, to visit Pittsburgh and find out what the graduate program here offers. 

"I was attracted to the program at CMU after reading a lot about all the faculty, I was impressed with all their research specialties—the broad range and the diversity," Pons said. He added that he really enjoyed getting to meet and talk with Associate Professor Richard Purcell. Purcell’s upcoming book, which takes a literary studies approach to hip-hop, is of particular interest to Pons who also hopes to study American pop-culture.

After two full days of faculty meetings, attending classes, and meeting current students, the prospective graduate students were welcomed to the Department of English with a closing reception involving the entire department.

As the two-day event wound to a close and students and faculty mingled in Baker Hall’s Shadow Lounge, John Zoppina, a prospective Professional Writing M.A. from Philadelphia who has worked as a technical writer at Apple and Rutgers University, expressed real satisfaction about his time in Pittsburgh.

"I’ve never encountered faculty so engaged when I haven’t even been a student yet," Zoppina said. "I’m very impressed."