Macon State College MVPs is a web feature that profiles notable students, alumni, faculty and staff.
Full Name: Monica Young-Zook.
Originally From: Sacramento, Calif.
Family: Spouse, Dan Zook; son, Connor Zook; two cats, Hicks and Fig.
Job Title: Assistant professor of English.
Degrees: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from California State University, Sacramento; Ph. D., English, New York University.
Year she joined the Macon State faculty: 2003.
Some of her teaching career highlights are … “Publishing my article in ‘Victorian Literature and Culture,’ advising the ‘Fall Line Review,’ advising the Women’s Studies Association, getting to teach in London in 2005, teaching gender studies, publishing a book article on Sensation fiction, teaching the ‘Monster’s Ink’ and ‘Madness and Mayhem in Literature and Film’ courses, and starting the Crossroads Literary Conference with my colleagues. Not only do I love teaching at Macon State College, but I love the varied opportunities for students and faculty to do so much interesting work here and with the local artists, writers, and musicians.”
She enjoys teaching at Macon State College because … “This is a good school in every way. We have high standards for our courses, our faculty are very intelligent and committed, and our students are earnest and hard-working. We have a lot of opportunities that larger universities have for our students, but more intensive one-on-one teaching moments. We have a lot of hard-working students who are getting good degrees and changing their lives. I love being a part of that.”
Her favorite course to teach is … “I love the ‘Special Topics’ courses that I get to teach because that’s like writing the stats to my favorite playground. Of the other courses I teach, though, I love English 1102. It is, I think, the best of what I do: solid writing instruction mixed with some very good, fun, and thorough literature exploration. There’s nothing about this course that isn’t good for our students and fun to work with.”
One thing people don’t know about Macon State is … “How solid the coursework we offer is and the quality of the education we provide. I went to five schools for my undergraduate degree and had a chance to see how they differed from community colleges to big universities. I know what was expected in some of those larger universities is no better really than what we provide here. In fact, many of us taught at those larger universities and have brought and tailored those courses to be solid, slick, and efficient for our students here. Word on the street is that you don’t come to Macon State over the summer to pick up a course that’s easy; you pick up a good course for less money.”
One thing people don’t know about her is … “I was in the Air Force during the time I began working on my undergraduate degree. I was a pharmacy technician at a major hospital at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio and made the rank of sergeant before I finished my four-year enlistment. This was during both the Panama invasion and Desert Shield and Desert Storm. I left to resume my education.”
In her spare time she likes to … “Read, watch movies, cook, eat, play with the baby, and talk with friends on my porch – about books, movies, food, and ideas. I keep the company of a lot of other great talkers.”
The one person she’d most like to meet is … “Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. At 17 she had a better education than most modern day literature professors. She and her stepsister, Claire, ran off with her husband-to-be Percy Bysshe Shelley and his friend George Gordon, Lord Byron to the Villa Diodati. She wrote one of the world’s most famous books and traveled a great deal. I wouldn’t want to be her (she had a hard life), but I’d love to have her and a few friends to dinner.”
If she wasn’t a college professor she would be … “A librarian or bookstore clerk. I cannot imagine my life without books, one way or the other. I suppose that it’s the books that drew me to this profession and then I realized that I really enjoy the students, too. For me, it’s the best of both worlds.”