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Kyndall Lipsky

Network Interview Transcripts


First Interview: Professor Paullin.
This is Professor Paullins first year teaching, completing graduate school merely months before
taking the position at the University of Kentucky. Even though she is considered a visiting
professor, she lectures two courses, MA 123-Elementary Calculus, and MA-111 Contemporary
Mathematics. Her research includes 3- Manifold Algorithms, specifically dealing with Normal
and Almost Normal Surface Theory.
1. What made you interested in being a college professor?
I originally started out wanting to teach high school math. It wasnt until during
graduate school did I learn I wanted to work at a higher level. I also realized how
difficult it would be dealing with the parents. As a young teacher, having to
response and listen to parents constantly was not ideal. By choosing to work at
the college level, I knew I could take parents out of the picture completely.
2. Is there a specific reason you chose your field?
I was always good at math; it was my major during college. I loved how it always
made sense to me. It was so logical, there could only be one answer to any
problem I was ever asked. Once you learned the formula, you could solve any
problem regarding that formula.
3. What do you find frustrating about working with college students?
Ive definitely noticed its a culture shock to the students. I hate how the school
system seems to be more consumeristic. Many of the kids that come into my
classroom see me as something they bought; they arent paying for the grade in
their tuition. The way I see it, they are paying for the knowledge, not a grading
scale.

4. Is there a specific skill that has helped you in your career?


Well my career is very short, since this is my first year. My PhD was completed in
May, and its now October. But I would say my people skills. I have always been
able to connect well, not just in a large lecture hall, but also 1 on 1. I never really
solely focused on the subject, its more about the students for me.
5. Is there a skill you wish you had before starting your career?
Most of my previous experience was with smaller schools. My TA program and
Student Teaching were with schools much smaller than UK. I did, however, tutor
at a large university. But yeah, mainly I would say larger school experience.
6. If there was one aspect about your job you could change, what would it be and why?
I really like my job, its almost exactly what I wanted. But my title is visiting
professor, so I mainly focus on teaching. I would love to research more.
Researching has always been a lot of fun for me. I plan on applying one day for a
full professor position, that way the University will allow me to continue
researching.
7. Is there anything you find difficult about working for the university?
Not really, all universities are basically the same. Though being a college
professor you have to be comfortable with moving. I may move in the future if the
circumstance allows itself, but for now I am quite happy here.
8. Was finding a job difficult after graduation?
Yes. Every subject has a website with every job posting listed. You scan through
them all and send out your resume hoping for the best. I put out 94 applications,
got 4 interviews, and only one job offer. Every field is different though. Many of
my friends hoping to be English professors waited until they had a job before
continuing their graduate schooling.
9. Do you have any advice for future professors?
Experience is the best thing you can do for yourself, in any way possible. It could
be teaching, researching, tutoring, joining and participating in committees, and

even just getting to know your professors well can all really help you stand out in
the application process.
10. One of my greatest fears is being bored and sitting behind a desk all day, doing the same
thing for hours all day. Do you have that problem?
Theres always something to do. There is always lesson plans and preparations for
classes. Plus with everything changing every semester, theres always new
students to help and new problems that come from that. There really isnt time to
be bored.

Interview: Professor MacDonald


Professor MacDonald has worked for the University of Kentucky for 8 years, teaching
Shakespearean literature along with Race Theory, originally receiving her PhD from Vanderbilt
University. Her articles have found their way in many books, and she even herself wrote a book
of her own titled Women and Race in Early Modern Texts. Professor MacDonald continues to
lecture about her research both in and out of the classroom.
1. What first sparked your interest in Shakespearean literature? Was it always a passion of
yours, or did you grow to love it?

I found my love for Shakespeare in my first year of undergraduate school. My


professor, David Caston, taught the subject and he has so much passion for it.
Hes at Yale now, but I remember him always so inspiring and energetic. You

could tell her really loved the subject, and that rubbed off on me.
2. Was Shakespeare a big part of your life growing up, or was it something you mainly
found during your Undergraduate Studies?
We always had books laying around the house I would read, but mainly love for it
was found through Professor Caston. I was familiar with Shakespeare but he
really helped me find the excitement in his writings.
3. When did you realize teaching college was your calling?
After my PhD is when I really decided that was my career path. Teaching was a
part of our study during grad school, and I learned I had a real passion for it there.
4. What do you find most interesting about your research on Shakespeare?
Well first people have to understand English renaissance is not separate from
early American literature; same topics, same overall themes. We must learn to
connect the two. I also really like how the themes are still very relevant today.
Take Othello, for instance. This play deals with race and sexuality, ideas that are
still discussed today.
5. Is there a certain Shakespeare play you like best of Shakespeares?
Anthony and Cleopatra would have to be my favorite because its got a little bit of
everything; love, tragedy, sex, history. This play has everything on such a high
level, but it also connects everything so perfectly.
6. What do you enjoy most about teaching Shakespeare, especially to college freshman?
Freshman have no preconceived conception, they are eager to learn. Freshman
year is when kids start to take themselves seriously, and start class with an open
mind. They are excited to learn, and I love being able to watch and help them
grow their knowledge.

7. Are there any adaptations of plays, such as Throne of Blood, that you prefer to the
Shakespeare originals, such as MacBeth?
I wouldnt say I prefer any adaptations over the originals, but I definitely
appreciate them. Many closely follow the story by Shakespeare and can stand on
their own as good movies, but they wouldnt even exist without Shakespeare in
the first place.
8. What do you find most rewarding about teaching Shakespeare to young freshman?
Its a new encounter for some students, so for me its a big deal. Shakespeare can
continuously be enjoyed throughout a lifetime, and I believe its important to
know as much about him as possible. His work can easily impact someones
thinking for the rest of their lives.
9. Is there anything you find frustrating about teaching freshman Shakespeare?
Teaching is hard, no matter the subject. Some days you feel really good about a
topic and ready to start class then you walk in and see all your student are half
asleep. But you have to think of the long term, accept that fact that some days
your student wont get something, but down the road itll click. But thats no
different from any other subject taught by any other teacher or professor.
10. How was your knowledge of Shakespeare grown since starting your studies through the
University of Kentucky?
Re-reading over plays every semester, you learn to pick up on different things. I
know much more about stage direction and theater effects and movement. I guess
I have more of a 3 dimensional view on plays now.

These interviews really helped clear up some worries and confusion I had. Before starting
the interview process, I was debating on switching majors. I really felt like the teaching field
would be too dull and boring for me to enjoy a career. But after talking with both my professors,
I really feel confident that this could be a potential career path. After interview my math
professor, professor Paullin, she really helped me learn that the profession constantly changes
and there is always something new to be done. Watching her lecture, it is obvious she loves her
job and cares about her students. If I do decide to continue to pursue this career, I hope to enjoy
my job as much as she does every day.
My second interviewee was Professor MacDonald. I chose her for a number of reasons,
first being her subject. I hope to go into an English based teaching if I do decide to continue with
my education major. English was always come easiest and most interesting to me, so it seemed
obvious to pick that as my chosen major. I also picked Professor MacDonald due to her vast
knowledge and passion for her subject. While she is teaching, it is clear she truly has thought
over her words carefully and is 100 percent sure on everything she says. She truly loves
Shakespeare, which makes the class more exciting and interesting. If becoming a professor is
what my future holds, I hope to have the passion and vast knowledge that shows when Professor
MacDonald teaches.
During these interviews, I learned a lot about the everyday lives of college professors, but
I also learned great tips for teaching as well. These professors truly enjoy their jobs, something I

that worried me greatly. Their helpfulness and understanding goes a long way, both with students
and colleagues, and their willingness to learn keeps them great at their job. No matter the career
path I chose to take, I hope to have the knowledge, passion, and excitement about my job that
these ladies show every day.