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Professor’s love is helping young writers

Dr. Emma Kostopolus, assistant professor in digital rhetoric, received her Ph.D. from Kansas University at only 28 years old.

She has been at VSU for almost two years now, teaching a variety of English classes, including Composition I and II, Digital Writing and Professional Writing.

Dr. Kostopolus has had a passion for English for quite some time now. She started her master’s degree at the University of Missouri, focusing on literature and then soon realized that she had a deeper passion for helping others with their own writing.

“It turned out that helping people with their writing as opposed to talking to—not that talking to them about their literature isn’t fun cause it really is—but helping them with their writing no matter what they’re writing ended up being what I really fell in love with,” Dr. Kostopolus said.

Although Dr. Kostopolus inevitably chose to study English, she originally planned to study chemical engineering, inspired by her high school math teacher Mrs. Wyatt.

“It was clear that [Mrs. Wyatt] had thought long and hard about not just the content but what is the best way to teach this content,” Dr. Kostopolus said. “Those are two different things, right? Knowing what the content is and then knowing the best way to explain that content to a group of people are two different skills.”
Dr. Kostopolus went on to explain that Mrs. Wyatt skillfully exhibited both abilities effortlessly.

“Mrs. Wyatt, as a teacher, had thought really clearly about both of those things.” Dr. Kostopolus said. “Her classes were very effective, and they were also very enjoyable. I think, looking back, that was the moment where I recognized what a good teacher could be and what a good teacher would do. She was taking this almost stereotypically and cartoonishly hated subject and turning it into something that a lot of people really liked and even enjoyed.”

Although Dr. Kostopolus is often on campus working or teaching, she’s also very artistic in her free time.

When she isn’t inspiring students on campus, she likes to be involved at the Turner Center, a nonprofit art center in Valdosta.

When there, she partakes in weekly lessons on glass work. She likes to go to the glass shop almost every weekend to improve her glass-blowing skills.

Dr. Kostopolus also enjoys learning how to work with stained glass at her home studio.

“I also really enjoy cooking, and food sorta more generally, so I spend a lot of time in the kitchen,” Dr. Kosptopolus said. “I cook a lot. I recently bought myself a smoker, and I’ve been learning how to barbeque.”

Whenever she decides that she wants a couch day, you’ll find her playing some video games. One game she’s been playing recently is “Slime Rancher,” and she said she really enjoys it.

She encourages students to consider taking a few extra English classes, whether that be as an elective, a minor or a major.

“English course work is something that even the things where you might not think that they have that immediate applicability can still give you a lot of really important job skills,” Dr. Kostopolus said. “Studying English means that you can get your foot in the door almost anywhere, and once you get your foot in the door and you use those writing skills, you are much more likely to be promoted within a company.”

She is teaching ENGL 3040, Digital Writing, in the spring.

“In the class you’ll learn about generating content for the internet, so if you’d like to learn how to make YouTube videos, podcasts and video games for college credit, sign up,” Kostopolus said.

Written by Skylar Morris, Staff Writer. Photo courtesy of VSU English Department.

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