“An exceptional student,” said Dr. Jamie Dessart, chairperson for the Department of English and Foreign Language, as she described working with senior English literature major Elizabeth Kalansky over the past four years.
Her freshman year, Kalansky was set on studying English literature, however she had her doubts about her choice in school.
“I debated transferring to a university closer to home throughout my freshman year, but the professors, students and environment of the campus made me choose to stay,” Kalansky said.
Kalansky is from Homestead, Pennsylvania, and soon faced a life-changing conflict in the middle of her college career.
“A major challenge I faced during my time at Waynesburg was being evicted from my childhood home in the middle of my junior year,” Kalansky said. “From that experience, I learned to become more self-reliant and power through no matter what was happening to finish my degree.”
Kalansky picked up both business and history minors, and was the Poetry Genre Editor for Muse & Stone. With many interests, Kalansky wants to take her talents and pursue a master’s degree in literature.
“I am inspired to study literature in the pursuit of being able to make connections between literature and the world around me so others can find new ways to connect to books and reading and hopefully develop a new love for literature or at least a new appreciation of it,” Kalansky said.
Dessart, one of Kalansky’s instructors and mentors throughout college, helped her find graduate schools and encouraged her to step out of her comfort zone and attend the Pop Culture Association National Conference.
“I’ve greatly enjoyed watching her develop as a scholar and writer over her four years,” Dessart said. “Last year, she presented her work at the Popular Culture Association National Conference in Washington, D.C. where she represented Waynesburg University well. I was so proud to see her hold her ground on a panel with professors and published authors.”
Kalansky may not have the typical ending to her senior year of college, but she found solace in last year’s commencement for the class of 2019 and had a moment of realization.
“I will always remember attending graduation this past year for the 2019 graduating class. It finally hit me that all the senior friends I had were done and moving on with their lives outside of Waynesburg,” Kalansky said. “I realized we were reaching a point where we were all choosing the different directions our lives were going to take us to continue to grow and change as people.”