the Toni Libro Medallion Award Winner:
by Rachel Barton
Every year, the Toni Libro Medallion is awarded to a Master of Arts in Writing student who demonstrates outstanding course performance, exceptional writing ability, and strong professionalism. Dr. Antoinette Libro, former dean of the College of Communication and Creative Arts, sponsors this award. In order to be considered for the award, a student must have a GPA above 3.6, be in good academic standing, be expected to complete Seminar II and participate in Symposium, and have writing that shows promise of publication.
This year’s recipient of the Toni Libro Medallion is Myriah Stubee. I corresponded with Myriah to find out more about her journey through Writing Arts at Rowan. In her experience, we can see not only what qualified her for this honor, but also what advice she can share with other students.
When asked what made her deserve this honor, Myriah says the most important quality for success of any kind is a willingness to work hard.
“There is no way to be really successful as a student if you are going to cut corners and not give your work the time it deserves. You can’t get more out of your education than you put into it, so if you are serious about learning, about writing, and about your program, my advice is to put your all into it. That doesn’t mean just showing up to class and doing all your homework, it means participating in events, looking for opportunities to get involved on campus, and really engaging with all that Rowan and the MA program has to offer.”
Among those opportunities, Myriah recommends that students pursue the internship through Glassworks, the literary magazine run within the MAWR program, the doorway to which is through the Masters course called Editing the Literary Journal, which senior WA students can take through senior privilege
In regards to pursuing Rowan’s MA in Writing, Myriah says she was “just in the right place at the right time.” The place she mentions was graduating from Rowan in 2015 with BAs in English and Writing Arts. At that time, Rowan announced the beginning of the Teaching Experience Program. Myriah applied and became part of the inaugural cohort.
Her journey was not always a smooth one. Myriah learned quickly that she needed to take a hard look at the way she managed her time. She also faced some difficulty in TEP: “I don't think I fully realized how much work professors put into the day to day stuff. Planning lessons, developing activities, and trying to come up with ways to get students engaged.” However, that challenge helped her realize that she loves teaching.
Her love for teaching blossomed slowly. Myriah found that she was discouraged by the news and the problems in the world. Ultimately, she felt guilty for not doing more for the causes she believed in. Teaching became the way that she could bridge that gap: “Even if I’m unable to fight for all of my causes, I am helping my students develop the tools they will need to fight for theirs.” She considers each day “an opportunity for [her] to try to teach more interactively, more creatively, and more meaningfully so that [her] students can get the most out of class.”
As you can probably guess by now, Myriah cites the Teaching Experience Program as the most rewarding aspect of her MA in Writing.
She struggled to pick out one specific course that was most helpful or interesting. Instead, she chose several. Teaching Practicum with Dr. Jennifer Courtney provided Myriah with not only technical knowledge, but also personal support as she began TEP. Through Editing the Literary Journal with Katie Budris, Myriah gained hands-on experience in the world of editing and publishing. She also enjoyed all of her classes with Marya Hornbacher: “Her support and enthusiasm helped me to care about my story and to keep writing even when I felt like I had no more words to give.”
In fact, Myriah cites those women as some incredible mentors and role models. The list also includes Lisa Jahn-Claugh and her second reader, Megan Atwood. To these women, Myriah says “I aspire to be as wonderful as you all when I grow up!”
As she grows up, Myriah is doing great things. For her MA project, she is writing a fiction piece described as a “community narrative.” The narrative encompasses a variety of perspectives, including characters living in a retirement community. This project actually began in Writing the Novel under the guidance of Marya Hornacher.
Myriah is currently looking into MFA programs to continue her education. After that, she is considering a PhD in Composition and Rhetoric or a related field. “And lots of writing,” she adds. “Of course.”