This is part of a series of flash interviews with the English Department faculty. Each post will feature a faculty member who answers five questions that tell us a little about who they are and what they do.
Dr. Amy O’Brien’s research interests include branding, visual communication, and self-presentation. She has designed work for the East Penn Youth Wrestling Association, Paris-Brest-Paris, the Suburban Swim League, and Air Products Golf League. She has presented at numerous conferences on student-run desktop publishing projects, incorporating detailed software instruction into college writing courses, and the professional writer experience. Dr. O’Brien served as the Assistant Department Chair from 2008-2014 and the KU Sesquicentennial Committee.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I grew up in Connecticut. I’m a New England girl.
Q: What made you decide to teach?
A: Not sure, really. I’ve always enjoyed working with people, helping people. I started college as a psychology major with a minor in art. Eventually, I picked up an English major as well. After I completed an internship on a psychiatric intensive care unit, I realized that graduate school in English might be a better fit for me than graduate school for clinical psychology. I was awarded a teaching fellowship in college and realized that I very much enjoyed being in the classroom.
Q: What is your “dream” class?
A: My dream class is full of students who always show up and who always are engaged and enthusiastic. We listen to music while we work, and there is always free ice cream.
Q: What are some of your hobbies?
A: I paint photorealistic pastel paintings. I love to draw. I enjoy hiking with my dog, sailing with my family, and watching my son’s sporting events. I love watching baseball.
Q: Any advice for students?
A: I think students should be as curious as they can be and that they should take risks with their work. Don’t choose the “safe” or easy paper topic. Don’t pick the professors everybody says are easy. Take a couple classes that frighten you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Show up. Take notes. Read books. Be happy with who you are, but always strive to grow and improve.