Kent Lester '13
English: Literature concentration and teacher certification
What is your life story in a nutshell?
I am a missionary kid from Chimoio, Mozambique. I came back to America for a high school education and then went on to The College at Brockport to study English with a special education certification.
What made you want to pursue your major?
As a child in Africa, education possibilities were clear forecasters for success, and often survival. Those who could get an education (even a middle school education) managed to move up in the world. Those who couldn't get an education had few prospects and often died young.
By the time I had graduated high school, most of my childhood friends, who couldn't get into school, were in criminal gangs or pressed into military service. By the time I graduated from Brockport, all but one had succumbed to AIDS, malaria, or tribal-political conflict.
My high school English teacher, "Big Dave," was a huge influence on me. He was a teacher, coach, and mentor, for not only me, but for many of the kids in my school.
Are there any professors in the Department of English at Brockport that had a big impact on you?
When I came to Brockport, my writing skills were a mess. I wrote the way a politician speaks – a thousand words without saying a thing. With a fantastic faculty of professors (especially Dr. Elizabeth Whittingham), Brockport's English department quickly turned my writing from non sequitur rambling into concise and poignant arguments.
All colleges will teach you the basics of writing, reading, and grammar, but Brockport excels at plugging you into applicable fields of study and work to make your education work for you!
What on-campus activities have you participated in?
Rock and Roll Club, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Tolkien Reader Theater, Jazz Ensemble, Gaming Club, and RAA (Random Acts of Adventure)
What are your dreams for the future?
I'd love to be involved in an overseas school in Africa helping missionary schools and local kids learn English. There are not a lot of initiatives to support these types of programs and the attrition rate is really high, but as I said earlier, in Africa, a child's future depends on their educational opportunities. I would like to do my part.
What are you reading now?
I am really into Patrick Rothfuss at the moment, but I also really enjoy anything by Terry Pratchett, Dan Abnett, Dmitry Glukhovsky and William Seabrook.