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Ashley C. Knowlton

Ashley C. Knowlton


MA English Composition

ENGL-1A: College Composition
ENGL-1S: Learning Community for College Composition
ENGL-1B: Critical Inquiry and Literature
ENGL-4: Why Literature Matters
ENGL-18: American Literature – Civil War to the Present
ENGL-32: Creative Writing – Poetry

I chose my field (English) because I legitimately enjoyed it, I thought it was fun, and I always felt included. I love digging into literature and talking about it with my peers. I also appreciated that my professors always found ways to make sure that all interpretations, perspectives, and experiences were welcome in class discussions. Discussing literature often lends itself to having engaging, complex conversations about human experience and conditions. It's fascinating.

I choose to teach for our Pelican Bay Scholars Program at CR because I feel that doing this work is important. My choice to teach college courses inside a prison was informed by my passion for community investment and care. Some of my relatives are formerly incarcerated, and this has had an immense impact on my immediate family and community. By far, my dad’s incarcerations have had the most impact. It is undeniable that incarceration has a profound effect on the immediate and peripheral parties involved, and sometimes we don’t always see this.

Nevertheless, in our CR programs (Pelican Bay Scholars and Humboldt County Correctional Facility Adult Edu.) what we do see is our students talking about the profound impact that education has had on themselves and their immediate communities. While incarcerated, our students have the ability to access greater opportunities, information, support, and resources. In doing so, the goal is to dismantle certain cycles that inhibit personal, academic, and professional growth.

If I were to give advice to a student who wants to be successful, I think my biggest recommendation would be to take advantage of all opportunities, resources, and programs that we have on campus. Personally, I don't think I would have achieved as much as I have without the support of my professors, campus health centers, student clubs, the Writing Center, the Math Lab, etc. It takes a village, sometimes.

As an educator, I feel that non-cognitive or affective support is just as important as cognitive or content/curriculum support. Non-cognitive support asks, “How are you doing?” rather than “What are you understanding?” Both of these questions are an important part of any classroom environment.

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