Dr. Lindsey C. Smith ’98 has been an assistant professor of English at Oklahoma State University since earning a doctorate in English from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2006.
She credits the academic atmosphere at Hendrix with helping her prepare for her career in academe.
“The arc of my career has been rigorous, challenging, pressure-filled, though not overly competitive. That’s the way Hendrix was – and I think getting started early really helps,” she said.
Smith took the Hendrix idea of a supportive community and an open exchange of ideas with her into her graduate studies and professional career.
“I remember studying a lot – talking with my friends about ideas, working on papers together. My friends took ideas seriously,” she said. “We had a community of ideas and that’s the way it should be among faculty in a department. You need that fluid, rejuvenating community to nurture ideas and keep learning.”
Along with the Hendrix idea of community, Smith also took along the memories of the professors who served as role models for her.
“The professors here are rigorous and we – my fellow students and I – wanted to impress them and to be like them,” Smith said. “The experiences I had at Hendrix helped me see what a difference it made to approach teaching with professionalism – to present myself as a professional. That put me ahead of others in graduate school.”
Most of all, after completing her undergraduate studies at Hendrix, Smith had the confidence that she could succeed in her field.
“You do have to have confidence in yourself to go after a doctorate. The attention from professors in a small department helps give you that confidence. I feel like they actually care about what I’m doing,” Smith said.