Faculty Profile: Dr.Jane Collins

profile by Jaquay Dee-Hardmon

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Choosing English

Dr. Collins loves to read. As a child she wanted books for any special occasion like birthdays and Christmas.

She went to high school in New Brunswick, NJ and attended Rutgers University as an undergraduate. Before choosing English as a major she studied biology, political science, pre law and pre med. In her junior year of college, Dr. Collins decided English is what she enjoyed most. She then double majored in English and political science:

“I decided to follow my heart on it and do what I loved most rather than what seemed most practical.”

After being asked if she was discouraged by anyone with her choice of majors she mentioned she was not discouraged nor encouraged. She went to a large state university where she felt students were on their own. Neither of her parents went to college so they did not have much advice to give her.

Finding Her Path

Dr. Collins did not go to graduate school right away after completing her bachelor’s degree. She was more interested in taking care of herself financially and figuring out what was next for her.

One of her first jobs was with publishing. She then went on to teach in public schools for two years in New York City. While she was teaching, she studied Chinese. She looked for a teaching job in China because she had a love for traveling. She was given information about traveling to Japan to teach by a coworker. So she applied to teach in Japan and went there to teach for a year. After a year in Japan, she went backpacking around Asia for six months. Some places she visited were India, Thailand and China. After six months she came home to take a break and began waitressing and bartending job in Manhattan.

After waiting tables, she continued on to graduate school, entering the doctoral program at the City University of New York and earning a Ph.D. Right before she completed her Ph.D., she started teaching at Pace University.

Life at Pace

Dr. Collins has now has been teaching at Pace University for twenty three years and enjoys staying current and innovative:

“What I most want to teach students is a love of reading and a love of words.”

One of the things she loves most about reading fiction, non-fiction, and poetry is the way it gives access to the lives of people who are not the same as you.

“Emotional access that literature offers is something that is a gift for everyone to be able to imagine the lives of other people.”

Words of Encouragement 

Dr. Collins reminds us:

“The most important thing to remember is that being an English major helps you build a flexible brain that asks questions, that sees connections, that uses language to make sense of the world, and those are really valuable skills and practices….You’ll find the way to use them to make your own way and figure out your own path in life.”

Alumni Profile: Amanda Cody (’09)

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Assistant Director of Communications for Portsmouth Abbey School

Profile by Jessica Henderson

Present Day Amanda

Amanda Cody graduated from Pace University with an English Degree in 2009 and moved on to grad school while still moving forward in her professional life. By learning to apply the writing and critical thinking skills she developed in school, Amanda began to pave her career path as a Marketing Communications Manager for the Sports Foundation at Brown University.

At Brown, she continued to apply her knowledge by communicating  with coaches, parents, and alumni; writing direct mail pieces; and featuring student athletes on the Brown University Athletics website.

Even today, in her brand-new job as the Assistant Director of Communications for Portsmouth Abbey School, she continues to apply the skills she learned at Pace and the ones she gained while working at Brown.

Discovering Her Major

Although Amanda was always interested in the humanities, it first led her to Pace as a double major in History and Political Science. The idea was short-lived and eventually led her to consider Education, where she realized that English would be the subject she would most want to teach. Yet again, she felt like Education was not for her and finally committed to becoming an English major.

Despite her love for reading and desire to pursue in the arts, she faced several concerns and discouragements from those close to her for choosing to major in English. They felt that English wouldn’t lead her to a successful, well-paying job. That English is only beneficial as a minor because other skills are more important than knowing how to write.

Amanda continued her journey in English, though, reflecting on the achievements of her professors at Pace had and discovering the wide range of opportunities that English majors are exposed to.

Branching Out and Growing Connections

What initially attracted Amanda to Pace University was the small classroom sizes, for she knew that she wouldn’t be able to sit in a lecture hall and simply copy notes. And although she wasn’t an involved student at first, the size of the classes forced her to interact with her peers and professors.

Little did she know at the time that her experience at Pace would leave her with connections with people that will last a lifetime. The relationships that she formed with her professors helped her with early drafts of her short story and led her to achieve her greatest accomplishment of publishing a book shortly after she graduated.

Even today, she is still in contact with her closest professors and considers them her friends that she can go to for advice.

College Experience: There’s More to It than You Think

Amanda came into college with the mindset that she was only supposed to engage in the things she was supposed to do and what was expected of her.

She quickly realized that college is more than that, though. It is a time to figure out what it is you want to do and a chance to find yourself.

If there is one thing that Amanda learned during her time at college that is more important than the others, it would be to branch out and expose yourself to new things, whether it is within your major or not. Even if you don’t think you will like it, according to Amanda, those are the moments that you will most likely learn the most from and help you with your career path.

Today, she continues to follow these motifs by staying active with her new dog after long hours at work. And now with her new job opportunity and short story project underway, she hopes to buy a house, settle down in Rhode Island, and see where her career takes her.