Javier Jimenez

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Jimenez, Javier
Literature

Biography

Undergraduate Institution: Columbia University

Graduated from SFSU: MA in English Literature, Summer 2004

Current employer: Georgetown College, Georgetown University, Assistant Dean (advising undergraduate students)

After earning my master's in English Literature at SFSU, I entered the Comparative Literature PhD program at UC Berkeley. There, I enhanced my studies in literature and focused on Latin American literature, specifically of the nineteenth century and the colonial period. In 2012 I graduated with my doctorate from Berkeley and "won the prize" of a tenure-track position in Spanish (my job market field) at a small liberal arts college in southeastern Ohio. However, after being there for three years, I chose to move into the alt-academic. I became a student advisor, specifically an advising dean, at Georgetown College, Georgetown University.

At heart, I am an educator, and this position allows me to work with students untethered from a particular discipline or field. Instead, I help students from a more macro perspective, helping them make decisions about classes and their future. I also help manage a program at Georgetown geared toward first-generation college students. Working with these students individually and also at the administrative and policy level is deeply rewarding. Moreover, in my position I still get to teach classes. This past year I taught a composition class to first-year students, and next year I will be teaching a class on U.S. Latino Literature and Culture.

My MA from SFSU has been instrumental for where I am today: it provided the training and critical thinking skills in the discipline of literature; I also use these skills in working with students every day. Like many of the MA students at SFSU when I attended, I have varied interests and pursuits, and it wasn't always clear to me what the best path forward for me was. This is still true to this day, I'm just more comfortable with uncertainty. I did know at the time, however, that doing the Master's at SFSU was the right thing for me. Having majored in a social science in college but intensely curious about literature and culture, the English Literature classes I took at SFSU taught me how to be a reader and critic of literature. I learned how to fall into a page, into its language and context, and enter into a critical dialogue with it. I knew at the time that this was vital for me not only as a person but also, later on, as a scholar. My research, writing, and teaching are informed at their core by my learning at SFSU, both from the skills I honed as well as from the impact of the wonderful faculty that guided me through diving deep into literature. In many ways, my life after SFSU has not been a straight line, but the unifying themes have been educating myself and others and continuing to develop as a critical and strategic thinker. Without the lessons I learned at SFSU, I would not be where I am today.