This issue of the Exchange features Dr. Caleb Corkery, associate chair of the English department, who is in his seventh year at Millersville.
Q: Where are you originally from/ where do you live now?
A: I was born in Rhode Island, but I really grew up outside of Detroit. I have mostly lived in urban environments. I now live in Lancaster City, which is a small city but I love it there.
Q: What college/ university did you attend?
A: I did my undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University. They have a great program in rhetoric. I was an English major. I did my graduate work at the University of Maryland.
Q: What did you want to be when you “grew up”?
A: I always had my eye on writing. I wasn’t sure in what way I wanted to use it for work, but it always appealed to me.
Q: What drew you into the English department?
A: After working in Washington, D.C., as a researcher and writer, I realized I would need a law degree or some kind of policy specialty to continue there. I was more interested in literature and teaching, so I shifted my focus and started a graduate program in English.
Q: What is your favorite course to teach at Millersville?
A: I love teaching the African American literature surveys. Students typically do not know the amazing books I can expose them to. There is so much to teach in terms of history, literary beauty and rhetorical power.
Q: What is the most memorable moment you’ve had at Millersville?
Bringing Emmanuel Agumah from Ghana into my classes and seeing how his perspective affected me and the class.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about Millersville University?
A: I think the students here are great to work with. They are generally hardworking, interested in learning and down to earth.
Q: What are you involved in on campus?
A: I help out with the English Club and the George Street Carnival. I am on the Commission for Cultural Diversity and Inclusion. I like going to soccer games when I can.
Q: What is the best part about being the chair of the “One Book, One Campus” program?
A: I like trying to figure out ways to bring the campus together. I enjoy seeing students get into the issues of the book and make it part of their world.
Q: What was the best part about meeting Sonia Nazario?
A: Sonia Nazario was great to work with. She gave her all the whole time she was here. She clearly loves what she’s doing and is passionate about connecting with people. When I picked her up at the Baltimore airport at 1 a.m., I was expecting her to want peace and quiet to get ready for the next day, but we had a stimulating conversation the entire hour and a half back to Lancaster.
Q: What is your favorite book?
A: I love rereading If He Hollers Let Him Go by Chester Himes every year, since I teach it every spring.
Q: What is your favorite sentence structure?
A: I do like the chiasmus structure, as in Tupac’s, “They say money don’t make the man but man, I’m makin’ money.”
Q: What are some of your interests?
A: I like to bike everywhere I need to go. I also love the theater and sports. They are much alike in many ways. You just don’t get a workout sitting watching a play.
Q: Do you have any children?
A: I have a daughter at McCaskey High School and a son at Reynolds Middle School. I raised them to be my soccer teammates. We play in Buchanan Park whenever they’ll give me a game.
Q: What was the worst job you’ve ever had growing up?
The rancid smell of working in a kitchen as a dishwasher every summer sticks out to me.
Q: If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
I like where I live, but I would like to try living overseas, maybe in Kenya.
Q: Who was your role model as a child?
My oldest brother was a hockey star and friendly guy who could pull people together.
Q: What is your greatest accomplishment?
Moving to Lancaster and fitting in. I never thought I would here.