Sarah Guayante '17C is well on her way to making valuable contributions to the field of eighteenth-century studies in English. She has been accepted to several prestigious Ph.D. programs and has been offered top-tier fellowships to attend those schools. Now, having made her selection, Ms. Guayante will attend Yale University in the fall, specializing in eighteenth-century studies.
In the spring of her sophomore year at St. John’s, Ms. Guayante took Eighteenth-Century British Literature, taught by Associate Professor Kathleen Lubey, Ph.D., and knew it was an area she wished to pursue. “I loved the eighteenth century from that very first survey course, so I kept taking classes with Dr. Lubey,” said Ms. Guayante.
Dr. Lubey helped Ms. Guayante adapt a writing sample from a graduate seminar paper on Samuel Richardson’s novel Clarissa. Most importantly to Ms. Guayante, Dr. Lubey and other English department faculty members encouraged her to think about applying to Ph.D. programs, something she had not previously considered. “It was a matter of saying, ‘This is possible for you,’ and having support from the faculty,” said Ms. Guayante.
“I am over the moon about Sarah’s success in applying to the most competitive English Ph.D. programs and choosing to pursue her studies at Yale,” said Dr. Lubey. “I can’t think of a student more deserving of their fellowship support: Sarah already writes and thinks like a literary critic, and I learned something brand-new and surprising about eighteenth-century literature, print culture, and gender from every paper she wrote in the courses she took with me. I can’t wait to read the work she will publish in the years to come and to see how her perspective on eighteenth-century studies shifts and grows from the new mentoring, coursework, and library resources she’ll encounter at Yale.”
Her experience as a writing consultant at the University Writing Center also gave Ms. Guayante, a 2017 Writing Across the Curriculum Fellow, a taste for an academic career. “Everyone in the Writing Center is constantly sharing ideas and collaborating with each other,” she said. “You can just sit there and listen to new ideas float around the room. I realized that is what a Ph.D. program is for, and what academia is all about.”
While at St. John’s, Ms. Guayante also served as a writing consultant and workshop facilitator at Queensborough Community College, and was a workshop intern with Writopia Lab, a mentoring program for young authors of all ages and backgrounds. She was editor-in-chief of Sequoya, the English department student literary journal, as well as an editorial intern for Teachers & Writers Collaborative, which offers innovative creative writing programs for students and teachers as well as a variety of publications and resources to support learning through the literary arts. She was also chief copy editor for the student-run newspaper The Torch and co-editor-in-chief for the First Year Writing Journal.
“When I came to St. John’s, I was interested in editorial work, but my internship helped me see that office work wasn’t a good fit for me,” said Ms. Guayante. Instead, she will embark on an exciting new opportunity at Yale, pursuing her interests in eighteenth-century print culture, gender and sexuality, epistolary novels, and novel theory.
Ms. Guayante – whose hometown is Temecula, CA – encourages current and future St. John’s undergraduates to seize all the opportunities available to them. “There are so many resources for you on campus,” she said. “You should take advantage of them as much as you can. Everything is here for you; jump into it wholeheartedly!”