A Never-Ending Education:
Dr. Laura Samal, English Professor
By Felicia Pude and Tabatha Bishop
“I fell in love with the novels of Thomas Hardy when
I was a teenager and never recovered from my infatuation,”
says Dr. Samal, when asked why she chose English as her major.
Dr. Laura Samal is now a professor at Western Carolina University
and could not be more content with her profession. Her job
keeps her waking up every morning anticipating the opportunity
to learn something new. “It’s a wonderful feeling
to wake up every day and know I will probably learn something
amazing that I didn’t know before.”
Dr. Samal claims that learning is one of her favorite things
about her major. She enjoys teaching her students from the
works of some of her favorite writers, as well as learning
from what her students can teach her. Teaching any subject
is rewarding, but some major benefits come from teaching English.
A single piece of well-known or uncommon literature can be
given to a class of students, and a wide array of interpretations
will come back completely different from your own. Dr. Samal
also enjoys reading to discover how others have solved the
riddles of existence. “I have never been disappointed
by their answers,” she claims.
Because I got a degree
Outside of the work field, Dr. Samal experiences the benefits
of her education and degree daily. With her degree backing
her up, she has the tools and confidence to freely express
herself through her own personal writing. She can also expand
the minds of her children, as well as other family members
and friends, by reciting the wisdom of great writers. “My
major gives me a resource to turn to whenever I need advice,
beauty, and joy,” she says proudly.
When she is not at WCU teaching, Dr. Samal enjoys fiction
writing, music, gardening, Italian language and literature,
and spending time with her children and family.
Speaking words of wisdom
The best advice she could give to any student interested
in English as a major or minor is to take your time. Literature
can be very complex and challenging. Take the time to ponder
passages that catch your attention. “Don’t be
afraid to be challenged and changed by literature,”
Dr. Samal concludes.