Graduating Class: '16

Anna Walsh

Science, Computer Science and Engineering (6-3) & Literature (21L)

What is your favorite lit class you’ve taken and why? I loved taking Modern Fiction with Professor Howard Eiland and Reading Fiction with Dr. Julia Panko. Both focused on twentieth century fiction, which is what I love these days. Kafka! Woolf! Joyce! I also liked that both (excellent) professors were obsessed with Ulysses without ever putting it on their syllabus.

Favorite book or film? I can only ever choose a top three draw for favorite books: Infinite Jest, Beloved and As I Lay Dying.

Why are you a lit major? My freshman fall, I tried to take a philosophy class for my HASS, but I got so jealous of the fiction class my friend was taking I read all the books on their syllabus. I’ve taken at least one, and sometimes two Literature classes every semester since. I’m a literature major because I couldn’t help it. Consciously deciding to become a literature major is a wonderful idea: incredible staff and faculty, weekly teas (everyone’s invited!), literary worlds to dive into to escape daily struggles. Mine, however, was less a conscious choice and more an inevitable pull.

What impact has Lit had on your education/life?0 Cultural/societal/personal context, critical analysis, humor, empathy, richness of experience. It’s all butterfly flaps: I can’t point to something I’ve done and say, “I did that because I read and talked about An American Tragedy.” But sometimes I find myself in a hurricane of human experience, and I don’t think I’d experience life that way if I hadn’t read what I have.

Favorite place on campus?
The second outdoor floor of Stata (behind the ampitheater) or, weather depending, the seats in front of the big windows on the second floor of Hayden library.

Anna Walsh on winning the 2016 Peter S. Donaldson Prize for Excellence in Literary Studies!