In a new series for 2015, we sat down with members of the faculty to learn a little more about them outside of the classroom. We begin with assistant professor of English, Kristi Costello, who also serves as the director for the A-State writing program and writing center.
Place of birth?
St. Louis, Mo.
Why did you choose A-State?
I’ve worked at other universities, but A-State is different. There is a deep-rooted pride in the school and community that you don’t see everywhere else. When I came here for my campus visit, it felt like I passed very few students who were not sporting A-State gear and I didn’t meet a single faculty member who didn’t genuinely seem to love what they do. I had other offers, but I chose A-State because A-State is a great school and there are faculty, students, and staff who are working tirelessly every day to make it even better. Who could not want to be a part of that?
What makes a good professor?
A good professor pays attention and responds to what and how her students are learning and challenges her students while also encouraging them. Also, a good professor’s aim should be to teach her students enough that the professor becomes irrelevant.
What makes for a good student?
The best students aren’t here just to get a grade or a diploma, they’re here to learn about, question, and challenge themselves and the world around them. Not only do they think critically and engage thoroughly with class materials, but they listen as well as they talk.
What’s the value of a university education?
The value of higher education is that it has both experiential and real-world value. It enriches us personally, helping us to be better, more informed citizens, while also enriching us professionally.
Your philosophy on education in seven words?
Don’t teach what to think, teach how.
If you could teach another field, which one and why?
It would likely be political science. I am obsessed with politics and political discourse.
What is the one thing you wish you could teach everyone about your field?
If I could teach everyone something about my field, it would be that rhetoric is everywhere and we are always composing. Every time we communicate, verbal, nonverbal, or written, no matter how trite or important, we have an opportunity to exercise agency. It is our jobs as professors to help students approach these endeavors with sensitivity, rationality, and responsibility.
What music is playing in your car?
The greatest motion picture is...
I don’t know about the greatest, but I am enamored with Wes Anderson films. They are beautifully nostalgic ways that makes me feel immediately at ease.
The last book I read for fun was...
Stuck in the Middle with You by Jennifer Finney Boylan (who will be doing a public reading at A-State this spring)
Four people I’d take to coffee...
That’s really tough. Let’s go with Nick Flynn (my favorite author), Jon Stewart (my favorite satirist), Elizabeth Warren (my favorite politician), and Brandon Marshall (my favorite athlete).
My hobby is...
Cats or dogs?
DOGS! I have two rescue dogs and my husband has to remind me daily that I can’t save every dog that is without a home.
Only my friends know I...
have seen every episode of Gilmore Girls multiple times.
My favorite saying is...
“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master,” said by Ernest Hemingway.