Texas Tech University

Alumni Testimonies

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Don Webb Expresses His Gratitude to Dr. Christiansen

Don Webb currently teaches high school English by day and Creative Writing – “Writing the Science Fiction Novel” for UCLA Extension.

"In 1983, I took an Honors class from Dr. Peder Christiansen in "Writing the Science Fiction Story." Since then I've written a few hundred stories -- over 70 of which have made various "Best Of" lists. I've had worked published in Asimov's, Analog, Interzone, F&SF, Weird Tales, Amazing, Science Fiction Age etc. I just wanted to say thanks for getting me started."

"My interactions with Classics did influence my schooling at UT. I majored in English and minored in historical linguistics. My first book, Uncle Ovid's Exercise Book, shows some classical roots. The first story I ever wrote (back in Christiansen's class) will be included in a 30 year retrospective of my "Lovecraftian fiction" due out at the end of this year from Hippocampus Press. I have had twenty books published ranging from mysteries from St. Martins to nonfiction studies of magical practice of Late Antiquity."

Caitie Dalton Chapman – BA RLAS 2008

“The ability to speak Russian has greatly impacted both my career and my personal life. For employers, the ability to utilize another language isn't just a unique skill, it signifies the ability to learn and problem solve in a unique way. In my personal life, I've been able to make friends with whom it would've been otherwise impossible for me to communicate. Thanks to a great teacher, Dr. Qualin.” Caitie was a private duty home care administrator for several years and is currently a part time liaison for the same company.

John Scott Kemble, Jr. – BA Political Science, Minor Asian Studies 2011

Kemble, a current master’s student in Chinese politics and foreign policy at Fudan University, Shanghai, first president of the Tech Chinese Language Association, reflects on how his choice to take Chinese set him on an unexpected life course.

“It’s funny how something you do that seems small can set the wheels in motion to change your future. The “something” I am referring to is my experience with the Chinese language. When I first saw it as a course to take at Texas Tech I thought it might be interesting. I told my parents “I am thinking of taking Chinese”. They looked at me with puzzled faces thinking I was just jumping head first into another crazy thing without really thinking it through. To be honest wasn’t’ really thinking it through but I was attracted to the idea of leaning one of the most difficult languages in the world and to look eastward at a new culture that was so different from mine. I decided to take Chinese the spring semester of my sophomore year. I met Wang Laoshi (teacher Wang) who later became more than just a teacher but a friend. She offered to tutor me 2 times a week to help me get a grasp on this difficult language. Her kind and patient nature filled with positive energy made it a joy to learn about the Chinese language and culture.” After the summer time I took Chinese officially my junior year. During my junior year, Wang Laoshi asked if I would set up the Chinese Language Association of Texas Tech and be the president which made it possible for me to be more involved at Texas Tech and to make friends from both the Mainland of China and Taiwan. You could say that from just learning Chinese language I was also learning more about myself. I applied to study aboard in Chengdu, China, Sichuan province for the spring and as it turned out, I was the first student from Texas Tech to go the TTU Affiliate - Sichuan University which proved to be life changing… Two weeks after graduation I left again for China not knowing when I would return to America. The first year was spent in Zhenjiang where I taught English at a middle school. Working in a foreign country proved to be much different than studying in one. A Chinese host family made me a part of their family events and holidays. Year 2 took me to Shanghai where I continued teaching…. I just finished the first year of a Masters in Chinese politics and foreign policy at Fudan University. My next ambition is to get a job at the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai. The point of all this is that by just starting to learn Chinese I am on an amazing journey around the world and inside myself. So if anyone is thinking about Chinese go for it! The road will be very difficult but usually in life the journey is sweeter than the reward.”