Graduates in the Spotlight

Leah Begg

Image of Leah BeggHOMETOWN: Newtown, Connecticut

MAJOR: English

WCSU DEGREE: Master of Arts in English

ACTIVITIES: Docent at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, substitute teaching in Bethel and Newtown, Graduate Assistant at WCSU for First-Year Writing and English 108; four full-distance Ironman Triathlons, as well as Boston and New York Marathons

HONORS AND AWARDS: Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award and Most Promising Scholar Award in May of 2017; inducted into Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honor Society



Leah Begg attended the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia on an ROTC scholarship and obtained a B.A. in English in 1991. After spending time in the U.S. Army at Fort Drum, New York, raising a family and the passage of nearly 25 years, Begg decided to return to college to pursue a master’s degree in English at WestConn “because of the convenience and stellar professors in the English Department,” she says. “I enjoy making connections between literature and the real world, researching and writing.” And she found the ability to do that at WCSU.

As a nontraditional student with a wealth of life experiences behind her, Begg had a different perspective than students in their 20s —  but nevertheless appreciated the guidance available from the faculty in her program of study. “Dr. Margaret Murray was a huge influence to me, directing my graduate thesis and helping with my application to doctoral programs,” Begg says. “Dr. Michael Chappell, Dr. Shouhua Qi and Dr. Heather Levy were also inspirational teachers and collaborators.”

Asked what she will remember most about her WestConn experience, Begg says, “Presenting my graduate thesis in April 2018. It was a culmination of a year of research and writing, and I was thrilled to share it with faculty and other students.”

After graduation, Begg says, “I will be a Ph.D. student in English and a First Year Writing Teacher at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, beginning in August of 2018.”

Her advice to new students entering WCSU is: “Get to know your professors! Go to office hours, talk to them after class, and ask them advice. They will be instrumental in not only writing recommendations, but also mentoring you in your journey to a successful career.”