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Student Spotlight: Anastasia Selby '15

Student Spotlight Series

May 9, 2014 | Article by: Sarah Scalese

Anastasia Selby '15


When Anastasia Selby ’15 enrolled in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences, she had already logged eight years as a professional firefighter and a nanny. Moreover, her mother, who had raised Anastasia almost singlehandedly, had just passed away. College is a “dream come true” for Anastasia. At SU, she has parlayed her talents into work with Salt Hill, the creative writing program’s award-winning literary journal, and SU Literacy Corps, where she tutors scholastic students in urban and community-based settings. Equally important has been the opportunity to engage with world-class writers—from professors Mary Karr and George Saunders G’88 to alumni Cheryl Strayed G’02 and Stephen Dunn G’70. We’re pleased to feature Anastasia this week in our special “Student Spotlight” series.

1. Where are you from?

I was born in Los Angeles, but moved often as a child. I lived primarily in the suburbs of Seattle and graduated high-school in Olympia, Washington.

2. Tell us a little bit about life before Syracuse University?

Before I came to SU, I was working as a wild land fire-fighter. I worked on a helicopter, as well as on a couple hotshot crews with the United States Forest Service. I also worked as a nanny in San Francisco, Denver, and Bakersfield, California.

3. Why did you choose Syracuse University?

I chose SU because some of the writers I most admire attended school here as graduate or undergraduate students. Also, faculty here is incredible.

4. What’s your favorite thing about attending Syracuse University?

My favorite thing about attending SU is the phenomenal liberal arts education I am getting here. The professors and my fellow students help me to think critically and deeply about whatever it is I am studying.

5. What’s the best way to spend free time as a Syracuse University student?

Free time? If I happen to have free time, I usually spend it having coffee with a friend, working out at the gym, working on my own writing, or taking long walks.

6. In what extracurricular activities are you currently participating?

I am currently a Remembrance Scholar, and that will be the main focus of my last fall semester here at SU. (Editor’s note: The Remembrance Scholarship is one of the highest awards a SU student can receive and is awarded to senior undergraduate students on the basis of distinguished academic achievement, citizenship, and service to community. These scholarships honor and remember the 35 students studying abroad who were among the 270 people killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on December 21, 1988.)

7. What’s your major?

I am an English and Textual Studies major, with a secondary focus in Hindi.

8. What do you hope to do after graduation?

I will be applying to be an English Teaching Assistant in India for the Fulbright program, and also intend to apply to MFA creative writing programs across the United States. That was my goal in coming back to college.

9. How is Syracuse University helping you to achieve your goals and aspirations?

SU has changed my life. There is an incredible amount of opportunity available if you are willing to put in the hard work. In the past two years, I have become a better writer, feel more confident expressing my views, and have a deeper understanding of how our government/society works. Before I came here, I was simply a fire-fighter who wanted to write. Now I am a writer.

10. What are some of the activities you like around CNY that aren’t Syracuse University affiliated?

I love to do yoga, go to the parks around Syracuse, take pictures, and hang out with friends. There are some great museums and lots of interesting art installations in and around Syracuse. I really love to be outdoors, so try to get out to state parks as often as I can.

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Contact Information

Sarah Scalese
315-443-8085
sescales@syr.edu