Mansbridge credits family, faculty for academic success

June 09, 2005, vol. 33, no. 4
By Stuart Colcleugh

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When Joanna Mansbridge gets passionate about something she doesn't mess around. So when the Regina area native became smitten with contemporary English literature at the University of Regina she devoured the subject with a fervor that left many of her teachers awestruck.

In four short years, Mansbridge finished her BA in English at the U of R with high honours - making the dean's list in all but one registered semester - accumulated 11 scholarships, and completed her MA in English at SFU on a prestigious C.D. Nelson memorial fellowship.

"My academic success still remains quite a mystery to me, really," demurs Mansbridge, who graduated from SFU with a 4.00 cumulative grade point average out of a possible 4.33, a scholastic record that earned her this year's dean of graduate studies convocation medal in arts and social sciences. It "has less to do with intelligence and more to do with a fierce focus and a keen desire to learn," she says via email from Turkey where she is pursuing another of her passions - travel.

Mansbridge credits the support of her family, for her achievements, as well as the faculty and staff of the English department, particularly professors Peter Dickinson, her MA thesis supervisor, and David Charlandy.

Instead of leaving SFU last August, Mansbridge remained another semester on a graduate fellowship to gain teaching experience and participate in several graduate conferences. She also refined and defended her MA thesis, a comparative analysis of black, white and Asian masculinities in David Henry Hwang's play M. Butterfly and Amiri Braka's play Dutchman. The result is "stunning," says Dickinson, and further proof that "she is a young scholar of exceptional promise."

The City University of New York (CUNY) agrees. The future literary critic and university instructor has been accepted into CUNY's English literature PhD program.

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