Meet Liam Furlong, an English and Comparative Literature and Hispanic Literatures and Cultures double major!
Furlong has consistently loved literature throughout his life. This passion was sparked at an early age, and this was made clear in how he spoke of how books have shaped his life from an early age:
“Growing up, my parents always made sure that our house was filled with books for me and because of that, they will tell you that since the day I started crawling I was crawling toward a bookcase.”
Books have always allowed Furlong to connect with others, which made it an easy decision for him to major in English and Comparative Literature. Deciding on an additional major was a more circuitous process. After trying out several majors, Furlong decided on Hispanic Literatures and Cultures because it taught him that “the stories that are so often out of our reach—through language barriers, geopolitics, general unawareness—do not always have to be. I am certainly not fluent in Spanish, but by double-majoring, I can understand the stories and connect with their authors on and in their own terms better than I ordinarily would.”
Furlong has found many exciting connections between his two majors:
“I took a class focusing on the feminine gothic in Spanish and Latin American media, and my professor, Sandra García Gutiérrez, gave us complete creative freedom with our final research paper. I had enjoyed learning about the precise differences in Spanish words for the weird, the grotesque, and the eerie during class, and these differences reminded me of a collection of theories that I had read for my ECL major. Putting the two in conversation with one another, I began to see just how important these differences in language are and, more importantly, that no one had ever applied these theories to Spanish and Latin American literature before. Being one of the first to fill this gap in the research continues to excite me, and even now I hope to further develop this idea into my senior thesis next year.”
After graduation, Furlong plans to pursue a PhD in literature as he is very excited to research and teach literature. Furlong’s experience as a College Classroom Aide in Professor Liz Gualtieri-Reed’s English 105i class helped him decide on the type of teacher he hopes to be:
“When I noticed that ECL, unlike most departments, did not offer the Undergraduate Learning Assistant (ULA) position, I wondered if I could create something comparable. Thanks to Professor GR’s incredible support and willingness to welcome a new addition to her 105i class, I got my first teaching experience as a College Classroom Aide. I helped answer questions during the semester, built a rapport with the students, and acted on the lesson plans that I wrote to teach the class about improving their visual and vocal presence when giving business presentations. Most importantly, I understood the dynamic I want to create in my future classroom: not that of a monologuist like the English teachers from the famous films, but that of a students-first professor whose class is about them, not about me.”