KUWomenofDistinction

Giselle Anatol, Ph.D. (Middle Left)

Giselle Anatol, Ph.D. (Middle Left)

Honors, achievements, and special recognition:

  • Haines Faculty Research Fellowship, 2013-14

How I became interested in my area of study:

I enrolled in college as a biology major; I was intent on becoming a pediatrician. My passion for literature and language, however, made me switch over to an English major within two months. I kept up with the pre-medical track until the second semester of my junior year, mostly because I was afraid of disappointing my parents and I couldn’t think of what career I might develop as an English major.

As for my field of specialization, my family is from Trinidad, but I never read any Caribbean literature as a child or teenager: my parents had been raised in a British colonial educational system and only the “classics” of European and U.S. literature were taught in my high school. I became fascinated with the materials when I read my first novels in this area—they reflected my experiences like nothing I had read up until that point.

An honor, achievement or accomplishment that is most meaningful to me and why:

Mabel S. Fry Teaching Award – because I was nominated and voted upon by students.

Someone who has been a role model for me and why:

Professor Maryemma Graham—she is a dynamo in the world of academia: she remains active in research, publishing, conferences, grant-writing (and grant-winning!), community service projects, and professional networking. She continually provides me with sound advice and opportunities for advancing my own career, but also grounds me with her family stories and guidance on my role as an active and engaged mother.

My favorite KU memory:

Standing on the Hill and watching, greeting, and cheering the graduates after my first year of teaching

When times get tough, something that helps me get through it:

Deep breaths!

An important life lesson I have learned:

To fall back on a now overused expression: “It takes a village”—not just to raise a child, but for any big project. I get emotional, intellectual, and physical support from family, friends, colleagues, and staff who believe in me, contribute innovative ideas and novel approaches to tackling a problem, read drafts, provide feedback, sign forms, scan documents, etc., etc., etc.

If I had a sister just entering college, I would want her to know….

College is for learning about the world, life, and yourself—you learn as much from people and experiences as you learn from what’s in your textbooks.

A favorite quote or saying and why it is meaningful to me:

Be good. And if you can’t be good, be safe. ;-)