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Becoming the mentor she once needed

| Anthony Wallace

Dr. Sarita Mizin is an Assistant Professor in English and a Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies affiliate at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. An Indian American scholar and teacher with a specific interest in 19th Century comparative literature and postcolonial feminism, Mizin completed her Ph.D. in Philosophy and English Literature at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Mizin began her work in Eau Claire in August 2020 amidst the pandemic.

“It was certainly tumultuous; my students dealt with mental health issues during the pandemic when we were online. For me, the WGSS community saved me as  a new instructor.”

As a WGSS affiliate, Dr. Mizin serves the program in various capacities ranging from teaching WGSS/ENGL cross-listed courses, supporting the program through administrative work, and assisting with institutional labor through committee service. Mizin has played an important role in the Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) program’s process of proposal to become and transition into the Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department (REGSS).

To Dr. Mizin, the WGSS community’s impact on her Blugold experience is invaluable, “They gave me this school’s history, the institutional knowledge I needed to help me strategize who the UWEC student is. Who’s most vulnerable? What are strategies of support? They have been crucial to me doing a better job and becoming the faculty member I needed when I was a student.”

With diverse work experiences in residential life, tutoring, student affairs, and as an accomplished student and scholar, Dr. Mizin works to give students more than the power of language. “Especially coming off the academic job market, I have been given so many resources about what the humanities and English job market looks like for graduates—I wanted to use that knowledge to support folks.”

Mizin currently serves as an advisor to the Magliocco Scholars cohort. The $1,000 Magliocco scholarship for incoming students with a declared English major or minor began last winter thanks to the generosity of John and Jill Magliocco. The Maglioccos are the parents of two Blugold graduates, one of whom completed both a B.A. and Master’s in English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The award was created to support English undergraduate students and targets students from underrepresented backgrounds.

As the cohort advisor, Dr. Mizin works to guide, advise, and mentor the students throughout their academic journeys.

“I wanted to give the students more. Like, how do you know to apply for an internship when you’re juggling so many things? How do you know which emails to open, which opportunities are good ones?”

Mizin also works to integrate mentorship in the classroom, where she approaches literature with infectious enthusiasm and instructs with depth and levity. Whether in her work as an English faculty member, a WGSS affiliate, or as the Magilocco Scholars cohort advisor, thankfulness underscores Mizin’s work, “I feel so lucky! I think that’s the part that motivates me. I truly feel lucky to have a job in this area. It was not something I expected when I started my journey.”

Dr. Sarita Mizin is both a well-regarded professor and a thoughtful, understanding mentor who has not only become the faculty member she once needed but an inspiration for the Blugold community to remind us to think rigorously and care deeply.