English Department Scholar of the Year 2020-2021: Abigail Gindlesberger

Abigail Gindlesberger was named the Department of English’s Scholar of the Year for 2020-2021. Abigail is a full-time student on the Macomb campus, and she is particularly focused on creative writing. The Mirror & the Lamp reached out to Abigail and asked her about her experience in English.

M&L: Why did you choose to major in English?

I’ve been in love with reading ever since my mom taught me how to read with the Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park and had always wanted to spend the rest of my life doing something that involved reading and writing. In my eighth-grade year of school, I started thinking about what I wanted to do in the future and I found out that you don’t have to go into teaching to do something in the English field. After that, my sole plan was to major in English and see where my reading and writing could take me.

M&L: What book has made the biggest impact on you so far?

As is typical with most people in the English field, I have a very difficult time choosing a favorite book and deciding on one book that made the biggest impact on my life is also a daunting task. There are three books that immediately come to mind when I think about that question, the first being The Iron King by Julie Kagawa because it reawakened my passion for reading when I was in junior high school. The second book is A Court of Thorns and Roses, the first book in my favorite series by Sarah J. Maas because Maas’s beautiful way of shaping a world and writing compelling characters has forever changed the way I look at novels. Finally, Virginia Woolf’s essay, A Room of One’s Own, heavily impacted me as a female writer and inspired me to always write fearlessly and with fervor simply because I can.

M&L: What writing assignment are you most proud of?

Even though I prefer to write fiction, the assignment that I am most proud of is a piece that I wrote in my nonfiction workshop with Professor Barbara Lawhorn entitled “The Purple Bathroom” that details my experiences growing up with three older sisters and how witnessing the highs and lows of their lives shaped my own.

M&L: Are you reading or writing this summer?

Absolutely! I make it a point to read every night before bed and there has been a multitude of great books living on my shelves for so long that I’m hoping to get through a majority of them this summer. As for writing, between scholarship essays and the all-too intimidating pages of a novel, I never stop writing, but that’s the way I prefer to live.

M&L: What are you looking forward to this fall?

My schedule for the fall semester is primarily English classes, which is always something to look forward to and I’m able to take a playwriting class in the fall, so I’m very excited to explore that field of writing and see where it leads me. What I’m most excited about, however, is advanced fiction writing with Dr. Erika Wurth because we’re going to be exploring novel writing, which is something I haven’t yet been able to do, so I can’t wait for that!