Getting to know Christa Tiernan

(Contributed by Bailey Hoffmann)

New to the English Department, Christa Tiernan has much to offer the UWEC community as an educator and the Assistant Director of the Center of Writing Excellence.

Christa holds a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of California, San Diego and an MA in English Literature from the University of Virginia. She completed a PhD minor in Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is in the final phase of a PhD in English Literature. Christa has worked in writing centers for the past eight years. Outside of academia, she has worked as a copy editor in the psychopharmaceutical industry.

Christa’s areas of interest include Victorian literature and culture, museum studies, material culture, and writing center theory and practice. Christa currently teaches Writing 114 and 118: The Material Culture of Memory. Next fall, she will teach English 397: Writing Center Theory and Practice, and Writing 114: Museums Today, which will examine how museums use rhetoric to overturn the misconception that they are “obsolete places where objects go to die.”

When asked about her passion for museums and material culture, Christa shared that while growing up in San Diego, she spent much of her time wandering around the Balboa Park museum complex. There she felt a sense of fitting into history.Thanks to a unique opportunity to study abroad in London while earning her MA, Christa was able to frequently explore museums, and she fell in love with them all over again.

Though she greatly enjoys both studying and visiting museums, Christa sees her career developing most substantially within the writing center field. Christa’s dedication to her work was obvious when she explained, “ The work tutors do in writing centers matters right now—today—in someone in particular’s life. When a tutor is sitting right next to a student—on the ‘same side,’ so to speak—and devoting their undivided attention to helping that student achieve their writing objective, they’re delivering an incredibly valuable service. She continued by stating, “Writing centers have always been my academic home. They’re where I belong, and I try to make others feel as welcome in them as I do.”

Christa described her experience participating in English 397 last fall as one of her favorite memories since coming to Eau Claire. Watching Writing Assistants in training have “light-bulb moments” was something that she greatly enjoyed. Christa explained, “I felt privileged to be in a room with students who are so dedicated to helping their peers. Many of the conversations that we had in that class were mind-blowing for me.”

Regarding her move to Eau Claire, Christa said that the city is much different from San Diego, but she enjoys the small-town feel. Laughing, she mentioned that she appreciates being able to see many of her students and colleagues when she goes to Festival Foods. (So if you see her there, be sure to say hello!)

Christa’s hobbies include visiting museums, working out, and eating Mexican food. Once she finishes her PhD, she plans on procuring a Corgi that is as adorable as the one named Winston Churchill that holds a place of honor as her laptop wallpaper.