Chris Ivy: Master of Transitions

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Chris Ivy has plenty of experience with transition. He began his higher education journey as a biology major with a pre-health emphasis and an English minor. English isn’t so minor in his life anymore, however, as he is now completing his first year in the English graduate program here at Western Illinois University. Ivy has nothing but praise for Western and the English Graduate program. “I do believe WIU was the best possible choice for me; they made the transition to an unfamiliar territory easy, and the faculty here really cannot be beat. I wouldn’t trade my experience here for the world,” he says.

Not only did he transition from majoring in biology to studying graduate level English this past year, but Chris Ivy also is the newly appointed president of the English Graduate Organization (EGO) at WIU. As he finishes up his first year, he is starting to feel comfortable in his new role as leader of the organization. When asked what his title entails, he responded, “It honestly depends from week to week, but normally I am planning out a future agenda for the organization—like planning the graduate conference—in addition to coordinating with other faculty on fun events we can do.”

In addition to a shift in disciplines and added responsibilities, Chris is also getting used to the change in scenery. Having completed his undergraduate degree at Central Methodist University (CMU) in Fayette, Missouri, Ivy says, “I’m really enjoying all of the people and awesome faculty [Western] has to offer. Believe it or not, WIU is much larger than CMU, so it is nice having a bigger campus too.” Ivy has high hopes for his future after graduating this program as he aspires to “get my Ph.D. and continue as an instructor in academia.”

When asked for some advice to students, Chris said to “always go to your professors to ask questions if you need anything. They have already been through the process and can help in so many different ways.” As an English 180 instructor, Ivy knows this better than most. For graduate students in particular, Ivy hopes students will look past the daunting years ahead and enjoy it. “I do believe that the experience is what you make it. Yes, graduate school is busy, but I think WIU is a really good place to attend and learn.”

As a parting sentiment, Chris urges all English students to take advantage of Western’s many opportunities, such as the English Graduate Organization. Every fall, EGO hosts a graduate conference where faculty and students are invited to come present research they have been conducting and participate in scholarly conversations. The organization is currently making plans for the next conference, which will have the theme of “English at Play.” Ivy encourages anyone who is interested in learning more about the conference or helping plan it to contact him at ca-ivy@wiu.edu. EGO meetings are every other Wednesday at 4:00 in the Simpkins Hall Writing Center and all are welcome to come join in the discussion.