As a first-generation student, Alexander Lowe McAdams didn’t have much of a plan when she arrived at the University of Mississippi as a college freshman. She sampled coursework in art, religious studies, gender and sexuality studies, classics, and journalism before finally finding a home in the Department of English. Her avid interest in early modern literature led her to pursue a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Massachusetts Boston and eventually a doctoral degree from Rice University, a nationally ranked institution located in Houston, Texas.
At Rice, Alexander has had the distinct privilege to work closely with tenured faculty to pursue her interests in the intersection between early modern literature and science. In 2016, she secured more than $8,000 in funding from the Dean of Humanities, the Humanities Research Center, and the Department of English to attend the City University of New York’s Summer Latin Institute. She has continued to hone her skills in Latin studies and was invited to speak at the inaugural Our Voices: A Conference for Inclusive Classics Pedagogy, a weekend-long open forum that centered inclusive pedagogy and equitable access to classical education in secondary and post-secondary classroom settings.1
Alexander’s studies in classical and early modern New Latin have aided her original research that marries English literature, the history of cosmology, and religious debates surrounding the history of science and its uneasy relationship with pagan Roman philosophical and religious beliefs. This work has similarly been fruitful for her studies outside of dissertation research at Rice. She was selected as a graduate research fellow for the 2017-2018 Rice Seminar, Forgery and the Ancient: Art, Agency, and Authorship—an honor reserved for only two Rice graduate students per year.
Alexander remains committed to providing accessible teaching strategies for university students, especially students from populations that have traditionally been excluded from the academy. Alexander teaches her students rigorous research techniques and writing skills via accessible pedagogical formats. In this way, Alexander is able to marry excellence and access, two ideals that pedagogical theorists often position as mutually exclusive of one another.2 She is able to accomplish this goal by incorporating interactive technologies, hands-on in-class activities, and projects geared toward the student’s capacity to think both critically and creatively in the classroom.
Alexander served as an editorial fellow at SEL Studies in English Literature 1500–1900 for 4 years before transitioning to Program Manager of the Civic Humanist Program through Rice’s Public Humanities Initiative. She continues to hone her specialized skills in journalism, communications, and graphic design, some of which are detailed on the employment and portfolio pages.
1 You can view the recorded live-stream of her lecture here.
2 See Neil Lerner, “Writing Center Pedagogy,” A Guide to Composition Pedagogies, ed. Gary Tate, Amy Rupiper Taggart, Kurt Schick, H. Brooke Hessler, 2nd edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 301-316.