Featured Graduate: Cassie LaForest

Our writing class felt like a family. I cannot describe how integral that was to feeling comfortable in completing the most daunting task of starting a novel.

– Cassie LaForest

What’s a fond memory you have of your time at IUSB?

I have many fond memories of IUSB, but by far one of my favorite memories was the time that the graduate students and professors went to a book reading at Notre Dame to hear a rendition of Dionne Irving’s Quint. This was special because we were studying the book in our writing fiction class. To meet the author and have her read the work to us personally felt very important to us! Afterwards, we enjoyed some refreshments and much needed social time after a long pandemic virtual year. 

What advice do you have for current students?

I have a couple of pieces of advice for current students. First, make friends with your classmates the best you can! Not only can they help you through the tough assignments, but they can also help when you’re having a bad mental health day or just need to vent. I know I would not have made it without my cohort. Secondly, communicate with your professors and keep yourself organized! Due dates come quickly and in the case of graduate school, most assignments are not ones you can complete last minute. Do the work before it’s assigned and talk to your professors ahead of time if anything comes up. Establishing a good reputation as a student will help them to be more forgiving. And please, PARTICIPATE! The more engaged you are in class discussions the easier the work will be. Lastly, try to get involved with campus the best you can. The more community you can establish the more connected you will feel to the university which will help your success. That is one of my biggest regrets is not getting more involved with clubs and publications! 

Do you have any professors that have stuck with you? Any favorite classes?

I have so many professors that have stuck with me, especially in my graduate program. Dr. Chaney, Dr. Balthaser, Dr. Takanashi, and Dr. Brittenham all made a tremendous impact on my graduate career. However, one professor that really stuck with me was Dr. Ervick who taught my writing fiction course and eventually became my thesis advisor. She always went the extra mile with our class assignments, made detailed comments on our work that were actually meaningful, and somehow had the time to take us out for dinner once the semester was complete. Our writing class felt like a family. I cannot describe how integral that was to feeling comfortable in completing the most daunting task of starting a novel. I could not have graduated without her and her hard work and caring soul! 

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to teach middle school Language Arts for the near future but eventually I would love to teach ACP courses at the high school level. I also would like to adjunct for local colleges so that I can widen my teaching skills. Lastly, I am hoping to finish the novel I started in Dr. Ervick’s class and maybe get it printed (if not published!). Seeing my book bound and printed would mean the world to me. 

Advertisement