A Thank You to my Mentor: Mary Kupiec Cayton

I’ve been writing about my undergrad alma mater, Miami University, this week. I thought I would take this opportunity to send out a congratulations and thank you to Mary Kupiec Cayton as she finishes her last semester at Miami.

I had many classes with Mary when I was an undergrad. She was a lecturer in the Western College Program and a great teacher. She taught a course on American Protestantism (And I will always remember the question in seminar: “Did any of you wonder why the course on American Protestants is being taught be two Catholics and a Jew?”) She taught a course on creativity, where among the topics  we looked at was quilt making and we made a quilt. (It was because of that class that I have three short stories published about quilts.) And she led my senior project workshop.

During my junior year, Mary granted me an amazing opportunity. I was an undergraduate teaching assistant for one of her classes and I helped the students create a publication from the class. While at the time, I still wanted to write comic books, I had always had teaching in the back of my mind as something I would like to do. This opportunity made me realize that yes, I would like teaching.

If I look back on who has influenced my teaching style the most as a positive role model, it would have to be Mary. She engaged the class in the subject and often interspersed humor into the discussions. I knew the she cared about me as a student. Even though the creative writing classroom is much different than our Western seminars, I still know I have Mary to thank for my success in the classroom.

So here’s to you Mary! Enjoy your semi-retirement and thanks for all you have done through the years!

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