Jessica Young

Jessica Young

( She/Her/Hers )
Literature Alumnus


Undergraduate institution: Reed College

Graduated from SF State: MA in English Literature, 2010

Current Employer/Position: Graduate Student, Department of English, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

I am currently a doctoral candidate in the English department at the University of Illinois, where I study memory and trauma in postcolonial and global Anglophone literature. At Illinois, I co-founded my own reading group called The Future of Trauma and Memory Studies which has allowed me to organize many exciting events such as international conferences, guest lectures from professors, poets, and activists, as well as a documentary film series where I interviewed the director of The Act of Killing, Joshua Oppenheimer. I also design and teach my own composition and literature classes, including most recently the department’s postcolonial theory course and an introduction to fiction course that explored the theme of “terror” in British and American literature.

SF State gave me the critical thinking and professionalization skills to pursue an academic career. The program’s diverse classes gave me a solid foundation that allows me to teach and research on a variety of texts, from Shakespeare’s The Tempest to Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Additionally, the opportunities and faculty mentorship provided by the program gave me the skills to navigate my future as an academic—from editing and publishing papers in Interpretations, applying for and presenting at conferences, attending various professionalization workshops, and even working with different faculty members as a TA, I learned what it meant to pursue an academic career and that it was indeed right for me. What is more, I made invaluable connections at SF State with students and faculty that continue to this day.