Welcome back to Queens in Fall 2021! We are looking forward to a lively, safe, and productive semester.
Here’s the second in our ongoing series of interview of SJU English alums.
(In case you missed it, here’s the first one, with Dr. Danielle Lee, who has recently had her position at SUNY Old Westbury converted to the tenure-track – congrats Dr. Lee!,)
At this start of this new semester, we are excited to profile Dr. Erica McCrystal. She is currently the Graduate Director of the Masters of Education in Educational Practice program at Centenary University.
Dr. McCrystal’s podcast can be found at villains101.com.
Her book is Gotham City LIving: the Social Dynamics of the Batman Comics and Media. Here is her interview!
When did you graduate from St. John’s? What degree(s) do you have from us?
I graduated in 2016 with my Doctor of Philosophy in English Literature.
What thing that you learned at SJU English do you think has been most helpful to you in your post-SJU career?
My dissertation advisor Dr. Greg Maertz was incredibly encouraging of whatever research path I wanted to pursue. He never forced my research in a particular direction and, instead, allowed me to think for myself. And not only that—he taught me to embrace those ideas and run with them. I realized that if something excites me, it is worth exploring more deeply!
A few months after graduating, I gave birth to my son. I spent a few years adjuncting at a couple different schools. I also started taking my son to story hour at Centenary University. I then learned that the school had an open position in the Education and Mathematics department. Before attending St. John’s, I was a high school English teacher, so I interviewed and was offered a part-time faculty position. This year, I took on the position of Graduate Director of the Master of Education in Educational Practice program. Next fall, I will be a full-time assistant professor.
A typical week includes several meetings, emails, and classes. I participate in events and spend a lot of time doing research for my classes or for my own projects. I also have been updating the courses in my graduate program.
I am always excited to work with college students as they define their career goals and embark on that career path. I also love that my position gives me the opportunity to pursue my research interests. My first book was published recently:Gotham City Living: The Social Dynamics in the Batman Comics and Media. In my book, I explored different aspects of society in the Batman franchise throughout history.
Reading books and catching up on TV and movies can always be a fun escape into another world!