Margaret R. Borders lives in Lawrence, Kansas and works as the Student Success Coordinator for the University of Kansas TRIO SES & STEM programs. Borders is currently working on her PhD at Kansas State University, and previously she earned her B.A. in English, with a minor in Women’s Studies from the University of North Texas in 2010, and was a member of the Honors College. She received her M.A. in English from Kansas State University in 2012.
What brought you to the University of North Texas (UNT)?
I grew up in Denton, and didn't know what I wanted to do after high school, so it was an easy decision.
Why did you choose to be a member of the UNT Honors College (or program) during your studies?
One of my friends in high school recommended I apply so I could enroll in classes earlier than other freshmen. It sounded like a good way to ensure I could get the classes I wanted.
What do you remember enjoying about the Honors College?
The smaller classes that were more advanced. I was able to take my composition and world literature classes through the Honors College, which allowed me to learn from talented professors who were able to use the freedom to present interesting lessons.
How did your experience at UNT and in the Honors College shape your career path?
My experience helped me see that I wanted to teach English at the university level. The Honors College provided activities for those of us who were interested in graduate school so we could learn more about those options. My parents have B.A.s; I had no idea how to go about applying until I started attending these events.
What was the most valuable lesson – inside or outside the classroom – that you learned at UNT?
Through acting as a supplemental instructor at The Learning Center, I learned how to speak to large groups of people ranging from 50-150. I also became a stronger educator, which helps me today in my work as an English instructor.
Please share a memorable moment or experience from your time at UNT and the Honors College.
My friends and I drove our Resident Assistant nuts by sword fighting in the Honors dorm hallway. We were the first residents in that dorm and I was in 111A, so I can understand why she needed to shut it down. It was still an excellent moment though.
What did you do in the year immediately after graduation?
I began graduate courses in English at Kansas State University.
How would you describe UNT, the Honors College, and Denton?
Denton has become far more liberal and hip since I moved in 2010. It helped me figure out my academic and political identities.
If you could go back and do it all again, would you still attend UNT? What would you do differently, if anything, during your time as a student?
I would definitely still attend UNT, though I would participate in more of my department's graduate-related activities. I wasn't entirely sure what graduate work in English meant when I was at UNT; knowing more about that might have better prepared me for my first semester of graduate school.
What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
I've presented several papers since beginning graduate school; my most recent was about graphic memoirs. I was inspired to look into this field in 2009 in Dr. Marshall Armintor's “Topics in American Literature” class; I am working on Ph.D. applications to continue my research on it in the fall.
Did you pursue any other career paths prior to your current occupation? If so, please describe your occupational history.
I looked into copywriting but did not find it as satisfying as this.
What advice/insight do you have for UNT alumni and students interested in your field?
Churchill said it best: "Never, never, never give up." If someone does not appear to be interested in seeing you progress, find another friend or mentor who does encourage you to be better than you are today. Talk with graduate students and professors, who want the best for you, about how to strengthen your research.