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Emily Assenmacher’s passion for the written word runs deep.
As an elementary education major with a concentration in language arts, she hopes to someday share that passion with her students. And she used that hope as a basis for a one-of-a-kind research project.
As a senior in the Honors Program, Emily was required to develop and execute a capstone project alongside a faculty member at CMU.
With the help of Dr. Susan Griffith, the pair came up with the idea to interview three poetry instructors, then use the words from their interviews to craft new pieces about the struggles and rewards of teaching poetry to young adults.
“We then took those three transcribed interviews and carried out a method called poetic transcription in which I wrote poems using the words of the three interviewees,” Emily said. “The resulting poetry collection used poetry experts' words to discuss the difficulties, benefits and value of teaching poetry to adolescent students, something which I will be doing in my future career.”
A big inspiration for the project was Emily’s eighth-grade language arts teacher, Mrs. Fyke. Emily interviewed her former teacher as part of the project, and said that this project stemmed directly from her experience in that class.
“I was a really shy middle schooler who struggled with self-doubt, and it was through the poetry unit that Mrs. Fyke coordinated that I was able to feel a sense of pride about something I created,” Emily said.
Emily’s goal is to impact her own students’ lives in this way, she said.
“That sense of pride that a student can feel about something they created is immensely satisfying, especially when the teacher takes an equal amount of interest in their work. I hope to one day be that teacher who can empower students to use their voice through writing and show them that they already have poetry inside them. I'm hoping that by valuing student poetry and engaging them in the material, students will become more self-assured and confident in themselves and their abilities.”
Emily is a Centralis Scholar and member of the Honors Program.
She also serves as a resident assistant in the R&B community, consisting of Robinson and Barnes halls.
Emily is passionate about working with upper elementary students and hopes to be a language arts teacher in an elementary or middle school following graduation.