Clara Yan '17
BA English, minor in Writing and Rhetoric
Summa Cum Laude
When the time came to decide on the college she’d call home for the next several years, Clara Yan ’17 chose to attend Stony Brook University for its affordable, quality education. “When I came to the campus for the first time, my tour guide encouraged me to visit the Department of English offices and speak to some of the professors. It was then that I met Margaret Hanley, the academic advisor for English, who has been so helpful to me over the past years. I just fell in love with the department."
An English major with a minor in Writing and Rhetoric, Clara is a member of the English Honors Program. She is in the Department of English BA/MA program, and so will continue her studies in the spring ‘18 semester as she begins her master’s degree. She plans to pursue academia.
Last summer, Clara won the highly competitive URECA (Undergraduate Research and Creative
Activities) summer research fellowship.
“I pursued a research grant to study Postcolonial Theory with Professor Tondre, a professor I really admire, and it was a wonderful experience,” she says. “I fell in love not just with literature, but with theory and the subject matter. I realized that I want to stay in the university atmosphere forever, so I can inspire students in the same way that many professors here have inspired me."
When it comes to classes, Clara’s favorite was Department of English Assistant Professor Michael Tondre’s class on Victorian Literature. “It was my first Master’s class in the BA/MA program, and I went into it feeling extremely nervous about everything,” she says. “I didn’t know if I could perform up to that level, and I was also unsure about my major, and I was unsure whether I wanted to pursue this 100%. But, on the first day of class, I remember Professor Tondre just lecturing and talking about the subject. He is like an encyclopedia of knowledge.”
Being involved in campus life has been important to Clara, who works part-time at the Writing Center, a position she says helped her realize how much she enjoys working with students. “Helping students improve their skills at any stage of the writing process, whether it is brainstorming, developing ideas, or revision, has been a really great experience for me.” She also works at the Career Center as a Communications Assistant, and is an active member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Council.
Clara is also involved with Alpha Nu Zeta, the English Honors Society on campus. She previously held the position of Public Relations Officer, and she is currently the Treasurer.
For students considering their college path, Clara feels that you shouldn’t judge a school by the perception of others. “A lot of people have the misconception that Stony Brook is a huge public university that won’t offer the same level of education that other smaller schools might,” she says. “I think that’s completely false. My department has been a huge of pillar support for me, in terms of my personal, professional, and academic development. Everyone is there for you and more than willing to help"