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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.

Always learning

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.



These profiles were created by the Karen Greenstone's English 303 class (spring 2009)
and edited for the web by Mary Adams's English 303 class (summer 2009).

Students in Mary Adams's English 303 class (fall 2009) wrote additional profiles.