If you have been a MAP student for very long, chances are good you’ve taken either a writing or literature course taught by Stacy Wriston, this issue’s featured adjunct faculty member. Wriston has been teaching in MAP since 2006. When asked how she came to teach in the program, Wriston said, "A few friends and colleagues were attending Marian University to obtain their bachelor’s degree. All of them boasted about MAP and their positive experience. At the time, I was facing a crossroads; I had just completed my M.A. from Butler University and would either advance in my current day job or start my Ph.D. to become a full-time professor. Up to this point, I had tutored students, but had never managed a live classroom. Given that lack of experience, I decided to explore the teaching profession before pursuing a full-time teaching position.
When asked what she enjoys most about teaching in MAP, Wriston replied, "I enjoy the diversity; by day, I engage in occupational writing and marketing, and by night, I explore my passion for literature and analytical writing. This balances my life. Many students are transitioning their lives, either personally or professionally. This is a key time for someone, like an instructor, to heavily influence a student’s life by providing tools and guidance needed to reach their goals."
Often, it’s very apparent how a career relates to the discipline in which an individual teaches. Wriston’s day job as marketing director at Sallie Mae would certainly prepare her for instructing many of MAP’s marketing and management classes, yet you’ll find her teaching in either the Professional Writing or Literature, the Short Story classroom. Asked if she preferred teaching writing or literature, Wriston explained both are equally important and, therefore, equally satisfying. "Resumes and cover-letters are important elements to obtaining a job, but progressing in an existing role is equally essential to success. This is where occupational writing skills are crucial: the skill of converting an idea that only exists in your head into a persuasive, motivating proposal or report." The beauty of literature, however, according to Wriston, is that "it awakens and provokes readers by challenging their paradigm."
Wriston said she was blessed with a happy childhood. At age 11, she found a passion for ballet and, at 13, auditioned for a scholarship to North Carolina School of the Arts and won. This started her path to her first career, until retiring her pointe shoes at the age of 26. Wriston then returned to school, earning her bachelor’s degree from State University of New York, followed by a M.A. at Butler University. Encouraging everyone to have a "bucket list," Wriston said she has marked off many things from her list, and one major thing remains. This summer her plans are to take flying lessons and become a certified pilot, leaving room for more adventures.