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Justin Lerner ‘18
BA English

JLerner Justin Lerner ‘18 is a true transfer student success story, having transferred to the College of Arts and Sciences at Stony Brook University after receiving his associate’s degree at Suffolk County Community College. He chose Stony Brook for several reasons, including its reputation, location, and research opportunities.

Undecided at first, Justin eventually chose English as his major after discovering and developing his passion for literature and writing while at Suffolk. “Literature is an excellent way to learn of issues and facts of society and history,” Justin said. “It can reveal elements of and lessons on faith, family, gender, politics, and is exciting to interpret and discuss with others.”

One of Justin’s favorite classes was Professor Douglas Pfeiffer’s EGL 205: Survey of British Literature I, in which he studied British literature ranging from Old English to Renaissance texts. This was the class in which he discovered the writings of Renaissance poet George Herbert, who ended up being the topic for his English Honors thesis.

An English Honors student, Justin has received many awards for his outstanding academic achievements, including the 2018 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence (he received the same award while at Suffolk), the English Department Award, and the 2017 Stony Brook University Academic Achievement Award. He has also regularly made the Dean’s List since Fall 2016, and is graduating Summa Cum Laude. Following graduation, Justin plans to go to St. John’s University for his PhD in English. “My goal is to become a professor of English with the intent on inspiring a drive for academic and personal excellence within future college students,” he said.  

Outside of academics, Justin has always been very involved on campus. In addition to being Vice President of the Brothers and Sisters in Christ (BASIC) Club, he has also served as an Orientation Leader, a Commuter Assistant, a tutor at the Writing Center, and a Teaching Assistant for both a transfer advising course, and EGL 205. He also writes for the Statesman , and is the Historian for Alpha Nu Zeta, Stony Brook’s chapter of the International English Honor Society. Justin greatly values the experiences he has had due to being so involved. “I’ve been blessed to work with students of diverse backgrounds, needs, cultures, and faiths, and have learned and grown immensely thereby,” he said. Justin also enjoys anything having to do with music. He records and plays the drums, and takes pleasure in analyzing song lyrics. Once he has earned his PhD and becomes an English professor, he plans to bring lyrics to the classroom.

Justin’s favorite aspect of the college experience is the sense of community on campus. “In my clubs/organizations, major, and courses, I have often found myself surrounded by incredibly supportive peers who are eager to work together toward something greater,” he said. He suggests that incoming freshmen get involved on campus, and take full advantage of this sense of community. “ You’ll meet many friends, become connected with faculty, and it will continue opening doors to other invigorating opportunities.”

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