Kate Raynor

Major/Minor(s):  English

Estimated graduation date: June 2018

English+ experience(s): Scottish Parliament (2016), Brussels: European Government and Society (2017)

Language requirement: Tagalog

Hometown: Santa Cruz, Ca/ Modesto, Ca

Favorite book(s):

Despite my major, I am not a big reader.  I do however enjoy podcasts and Audible on a daily basis.

A Short Stay in Hell (Steven Peck):  Incredibly interesting! Steven Peck is a professor at BYU who premised his book on the idea that the Mormons (and most other faiths) were wrong. He sends his main character to a particular type of hell based on Jorge Borges’ “The Library of Babel.”

Bossypants (Tina Fey): Nobody does it like Tina. ‘Nough said.

Also, if you haven’t listened to the Serial podcast…. You should get on that.


Favorite author(s):

            Jack (Judith) Halberstam: Gender theory—Halberstam, Dr. Horrocks, and Hannah Pugh taught me that I was a closet feminist. Who knew?

            Tim O’Brien:  Dr. Rowan’s 295 almost ruined this book for me, but Tim prevailed.  O’Brien’s Vietnam War stories are laden with heavy imagery and fascinating concepts. The book also gave me a reason to watch Forrest Gump, which made it all the better.  Love it—the book, not the war…. I am still very confused/upset about the war….


What have been a few of your favorite classes within the English major and why did you like them?

            Any class ever with Dr. Horrocks? My first English class was with Dr. Horrocks and she really helped teach me how to be proactive and successful.

            Dr. Rowan’s English 295: This was such a difficult class, but I have never learned so much.  There was a lot of persistence involved, but it was so worth it.  I recommend this class to literally everyone that hasn’t taken 295. Dr. Rowan’s class was fabulous.

            Any class with Dr. Boswell for style or Dr. Wilcox for medieval lit—great professors, great people, great classes.


Do you have any favorite non-English classes? 

            History 201 with Craig Harline: I took this class concurrently with Dr. Wilcox’s 371 (Brit Lit to 1500) and the overlap between the two courses really contextualized my learning experience for both classes.

            Geography 110 (Geography and World Affairs)


Tell us more about your experience in Scotland… in Brussels?

            The English Department is so great about internships.  Trina Harding (the internship coordinator) is a fantastic individual.  Both of my internships were supervised by Dr. Mason (another gem).  I was previously an International Relations major, European Studies minor, and International Development minor and so my focus for my English+ internships has always been somewhat political and very international.

          The Scottish Parliament was the best internship that I have completed.  Dr. Horrocks (my faculty mentor) encouraged me to apply after taking her 198 and 251 and introduced me to Dr. Mason.  I was lucky to work with a brand new MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament), who was short-staffed and gave me many extra opportunities.  I ended up doing a lot of speech-writing and Brexit research. I also had the incredible opportunity of working with a non-profit to establish a parliamentary action group to help end peacekeeper violence.  

            When I returned to BYU, three major events occurred successively inspiring my decision to go to Brussels just 4 months after my return from Scotland.  I was sitting in 295 when someone asked Dr. Rowan to explain the purpose of studying the humanities. His response was that the world needs more people who care about other people and the humanities teach us how to understand humanity. That same day Dr. Horrocks explained in 398 (the English career Prep course) the importance of keeping your resume up to date and not letting the last thing on your resume be years old. The next day I met with Dr. Mason and Trina Harding and Dr. Mason told me that he had a position open at Human Rights Without Frontiers Int’l (HRWF) in Brussels that would open the following month. I cannot stress enough how helpful and great both the faculty and staff are in helping students prepare for their futures through the English+ program.

            My work at HRWF was much more grounded in research. I spent most of my time attending events at the EU Parliament and researching country-specific laws that were being used to unjustly arrest religious minorities.  Brussels is an exciting and vibrant capitol.  The diversity and unique culture of the city really made this internship memorable.


What have you learned from your major? 

            How to ask good questions? That there are some questions that don’t need to be asked?


What advice would you offer to a newly declared English major? 

There is so much that I would say…. but I will narrow down my response to three things.

Take English 198 as early as possible. It teaches you so much about the English program and how to be a proactive student.  I was never the type of person to go to office hours or talk to professors (I am a back of the room kind of student), but 198 basically forced me to step outside of my comfort zone which really altered my experience within the department.

This probably depends on the student, but this is the best advice that I have received in terms of scheduling courses. @therealHannahPugh once advised me to always try to choose courses based on professors, not content. I have found this true to an extent. I have yet to have a bad experience in any of my classes, but I generally choose to take courses from professors that I already know and love.  That being said, if you really want to take a course based on content, do it. I chose my 295 section based on the content of the course and it turned out pretty well (probably because of Dr. Rowan, the TA, and some of my classmates—you know who you are, but still).

Best kept (or unkept?) secret: Study in one of the alcoves on the fourth floor of the JFSB. It is way easier to force yourself to go to office hours or ask questions if you are already near your professor’s office. But please don’t take this advice until the Fall, I don’t want my study spot taken this week.