Fulbright sending Wenger to Turkey

Emily Wenger of Silver Cliff, Colo., who double-majored in English and creative writing and theatre at Cornell College, plans to do more than just teach as she takes part in the Fulbright-Turkish Higher Education Council English Teaching Assistantship Program.

Emily Wenger ’14 will teach English in Turkey as part of the Fulbright program.
Emily Wenger ’14 will teach English in Turkey as part of the Fulbright program.

She will be assisting a professor teaching English, but she also plans to incorporate theatre, especially the work of Adalet Ağaoğlu, into her teaching. In fact, Ağaoğlu, a Turkish feminist author and playwright, is one of the reasons Wenger applied to the program in Turkey. She discovered Ağaoğlu’s work as she was choosing which Fulbright assistantship to apply for, and she plans to study Ağaoğlu’s work further.

This won’t be the first time she’ll combine her love of literature and theatre. During the spring, she directed a production of “Edward II” by Christopher Marlowe, as part of the Student Theatre Council. It was a new step for her, having previously designed costumes and acted—including as Lady Montague in the theatre department’s production of “Romeo and Juliet.” Theatre professors Mark Hunter, who died unexpectedly in 2011, and Jim VanValen were both major influences on her, helping her both adjust to life at Cornell and to grow as an actor.

The experience of directing was great, she said, not only because it was something new, but because she worked with a play she loved.

“I’ve been thinking about this piece for years,” she said, “and I finally got to do something with it.”

English and creative writing professors, including Katy Stavreva, Wenger’s advisor, and Leslie Hankins, who taught Wenger’s senior seminar, had a major impact and influence on Wenger’s Cornell experience. It was Glenn Freeman who, when she was still deciding what she would do after graduation, talked to her about how she didn’t need to rush, and that it was OK to take her time figuring out what to do. And one person who had a tremendous effect on her, including helping her choose Cornell College in the first place, is Chris Tabb ’92, who was her director in a Shakespeare festival in Colorado, became her stepfather, and has also taught and directed shows at Cornell during her time on campus.

Now that she’s found her next step, she’s grateful for the advice and support from both the entire English and creative writing department and her sisters in the Alpha Sigma Pi sorority, and ready to start her new path.

“My time at Cornell has opened my eyes to new worlds, politically and academically, and encouraged all of my endeavors, helping me to realize my dreams are attainable,” she said.