An Interview with Elise Martin


Elise Martin is one of the students participating in the Graduate Teaching Assistantship program for the English department at Radford University. As a first-year graduate student, Elise is working under Dr. David Beach to teach a section of CORE 101 this semester and a section of CORE 102 next semester. We recently had a chance to sit down with Elise for an interview where we discussed her background, her time in college before Radford, her teaching style, and what she says will set her classes apart from other CORE classes offered at the university.

Elise says she grew up in a lot of different places. “I’m from the Midwest. I moved around a lot as a kid, but I say the Midwest. I’ve also lived in North Carolina and Switzerland and Boston.” Elise attended Purdue University for her undergraduate degree where she studied English Education. Elise’s traveling when she was younger has influenced one of her biggest goals in life: “I want to visit as many national parks as I can in my lifetime. My honeymoon wasn’t the beach it was Utah and Arizona national parks road trip. I’ve been to Grand Canyon, Zion, Capitol Reef, Arches…”

Elise’s passion for conservation and ecological preservation extends into the classroom and is the one thing she thinks students ought to know when possibly choosing her CORE classes. “We’re doing a sustainability focus in our classes right now. There are seventeen different sustainability focuses and they choose one. So, it’s really diverse so people can kind of fine tune it to them and they can look into it a bit more.” Working with Dr. Beach, Elise said, has made her into a more flexible teacher. She wants to allow students to have a say and an interest in what they’re writing about with regards to ecological issues be it public health, sea life, women’s rights, or climate action. She says that her classes are heavily discussion-based with short writing activities to get students thinking about the topic at hand before the discussion.

Elise says that one of her greatest strengths in the classroom is her ability to foster interpersonal relationships that allow students to open up and feel comfortable sharing their opinions. “I want to be more inclusive in the classroom, so students feel that they have some self-efficacy and their voices are heard. I try to use that as a strength.”