Superman: Brian Henderson Does It All
By Kayla Beauduy
Jack of all trades
Ambitious learner, nurturing father, avid reader, passionate
writer, and adventurous outdoorsman — Brian Henderson,
WCU graduate student alumnus, seems to do it all. He is married
and has two children, ages 7 and 2. Like most English majors,
Henderson is also an avid reader: he reads on average a book
a week. Along with recreational reading, his other interests
include hiking, running, playing the guitar, and traveling.
He is a jack of all trades, enjoying many facets of life as
he progresses on his journey.
Henderson’s area of concentration lies in the field
of rhetoric and composition. When asked about the importance
of writing in his life, he replied. “Writing has been
my constant companion, although not always a friendly one.”
His most rewarding experience here at Western Carolina University
was his master’s thesis. It was very helpful in advancing
his education and willingness to improve.
Henderson stayed motivated by the possible “political
and ethical ramifications of his work, pure intellectual curiosity,
and the potential to impact others.” The encouragement
he felt from the staff and fellow graduate students was overwhelming
and extremely helpful to his success. It helped catapult him
to his doctoral program at the University of South Carolina,
where he is writing a dissertation.
One man’s journey
Some of Henderson’s favorite memories in Cullowhee
are working in the writing center, being a teaching assistant,
and sitting in on conferences. He was involved in the graduate
student English organization. Members met regularly and got
locally involved in literary meetings. For Henderson, it was
easy to make friends with other graduate students because
they had similar scholarly interests. Western's network of
support students and professors provided encouragement and
a “support system” he could rely on.
Henderson also found it easy to interact with the professors
who helped guide him in the right direction. One teacher in
particular, Dr. Marsha Lee Baker, had a huge impact on his
time spent at Western. Henderson says that Dr. Baker’s
“class on composition pedagogy was a life-changing experience
that eventually led to [his] current career path.” Western
opened up his eyes to multiple career possibilities.
The one piece of advice Henderson has for up and coming English
majors is to find something you enjoy doing and “be
savvy about the job market.” In other words, plan ahead.
If there was one thing he would change if he could do it over
again, it would be to get more involved with conferences and
other literary opportunities. Those he did experience fundamentally
changed his view of writingfrom “a solitary to a collaborative
process.” Apparently, even Superman needs some outside