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Monica Pelaez

Monica PelaezField: English
SR-EIP: Johns Hopkins University (1996)
Undergrad: Princeton University (1997)
Graduate School: Brown University (2006)
Current Position: Assistant Professor of English, St. Cloud State University

Can you talk about any memorable experiences from your summer research at Johns Hopkins?
What was most memorable about that experience was meeting other minority students who also had a strong interest in literature. I would say that making friendships and finding connections was the most valuable aspect of that summer. I also appreciated the resources and support offered by a major research institution such as Johns Hopkins.

What skills were you able to apply to your collegiate work upon returning to your undergraduate institution?
Having connected with students from different cultures and parts of the country further contributed to my cultural education, and this in turn complemented my understanding of different perspectives, and also strengthened a sense of confidence in my own scholarly development.

Can you talk about how your summer experience prepared you for graduate school?
The summer experience was very much focused on research, and learning to hone those skills was definitely beneficial when it came to the extensive amount of research that was required in graduate school.

Can you talk about the role of mentorship in your career?
Mentorship has been somewhat lacking in my own career. I have often found it difficult to connect with advisors on various levels. However, when a mentor has been motivated in their role, I have benefited tremendously from their guidance and support.

What advice would you give to this year’s Leadership Alliance participants?
My best advice would be to make sure that you are absolutely committed to your chosen field, especially if you want to enter the academic job market. A sense of awareness concerning the difficult job market is very important. If you want to be a professor, you should be absolutely certain that you could not possibly pursue any other career, and that this is your passion in every sense of the word.