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Meet Claire Warr, a senior double majoring in English and music! Warr is also currently composing a senior honors thesis in fiction in the ECL which she describes as “one of the most artistically inspiring experiences of my life.”

In speaking to how these academic interests connect in her own life, Warr found that she is able to use her studies in literature and music to stay balanced when things get stressful. Warr said, “Recently, I hit a tricky spot in working on my thesis, and I found that turning more of my attention to the cello allowed me to get space from my writing while still having a creative outlet. I think I’ve been able to stave off some serious burnout this way.”

Warr added that her studies in literature and creative writing have informed her cello playing as well by allowing her to engage more deeply with storytelling:

“I think being able to look at a piece of music through the lens of a storyteller gives me information that might be overlooked through a merely technical perspective. Understanding the story and shape of a piece of music is a skill, in the same way that analyzing a work of literature is.”

Apart from her creative writing courses, Warr’s favorite course has been Prof. Gualtieri-Reed’s course in Irish literature. It was in this class that she really started thinking about “the cultural and political history that a nation’s literature can tell, which sparked an interest in the ways that storytelling can be used to cultivate a sense of regional identity.” This is now something she explores in her own writing.

Warr believes that her courses in the DOECL have been “a place for me to grow as a writer, reader, and thinker.” The department also impacted her creative endeavors in a “very concrete way, which is that I took my first creative writing class as a sophomore after hearing good things from another student in the program, and now I am working on an honors thesis in fiction!”

After graduation, Warr hopes to pursue a master’s in library science and eventually work in an academic library: “My literature courses introduced me to research in the humanities, which is something I hope to be more heavily involved in as an academic librarian in the future. I am also overall a better communicator and critical thinker, thanks to my DOECL courses.”

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