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Senior Spotlight: Emily Ray

English senior Emily Ray has been involved with everything from the Novelist Support Group, to the UMD Writing Center, to DJing for WMUC-2. Emily hopes to one day work as a screenwriter for a TV show.

Why did you decide to become an English major?

My freshman year I realized that there were a ton of different things I wanted to study. I have a lot of varying (and kind of niche) interests,and I feel like the English major caters to those interests by providing such a great and well-rounded education. English is very much the study of the human experience over anything else.Literature and rhetoric shape culture and immortalize generations as history continues to progress.

What clubs, campus groups, internships, outside of class projects have you been involved with?

Before the pandemic, I interned at the Writing Center where I met a lot of really excellent students and staff members. I’ve also been working at Imagination Stage in Bethesda throughout college as a Teaching Artist and Inclusion Facilitator. I love working with children and it’s been awesome to see certain kids come back and grow over the past four years!

I joined the Novelist Support Group (run by my friend Celia!) where we conduct informal workshops with students interested in writing novels or extended works. I also DJ a radio show for WMUC-2 called “Crushable,” and every week I meet with a guest to discuss their favorite celebrity crush. My favorite episode to date has been my friend Mark’s scathing analysis of the #FreeBritney movement.

What is something you read during class that impacted your worldview?

My sophomore year I read Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea, a re-imagining of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre that recounts the experiences of Bertha, Mr. Rochester’s “crazy” first wife. This book changed a lot of the ways that I understood imperialism and the social construction of race. It was also the first time I’d ever heard the concept of “liminal space” which blew my mind.

What skills (professional, creative or other) do you think you’ve gotten from the major?

I think that I’ve become much more confident in using my voice. A naturally anxious person, I have a tendency to doubt the validity of my thoughts and ideas. Writing has given mean outlet to express myself and helped me develop that critical thinking muscle so I can be more assertive in my day to day.

What is your dream job or career?

My dream job would be screenwriting for a TV show. Or to be Harry Styles’ artistic muse. It’s a close draw, honestly.

What are you passionate about (or even curious about)?

Gosh, a lot of things. To name a few: feminist theory, BLM, The Mindy Project, canoes, Beanie Feldstein, celebrity gossip, historical romance novels, Lil Naz X’s “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” video, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Henry VIII trivia.