Professor Profile: Volansky Enlightens Classes

By Sarah Masker

Elm Staff Writer

Michele Volansky, associate professor of drama, is not the type to succumb to peer pressure, yet somehow she was sucked into the family profession and began teaching full time at Washington College in the fall of 2004.

“I come from a very long line of teachers,” she said. “My parents are teachers, my two uncles are teachers, my brother is a teacher, and my three cousins are teachers. It’s a crazy, crazy, crazy teaching family.”

Having majored in English at WC and obtaining her M.A. at Villanova University, Volansky is currently working on her dissertation as she earns her Ph.D. at England’s University of Hull. She said, “By the end of the year, I will finish that thing and be Dr. Volansky.”

Although she considers herself part of the “artsy-fartsy” group at WC, Volansky warns that she will insist on the proper title, at least for a while.

A self-proclaimed pop culture maniac and sports fanatic, Volansky also enjoys a comfortable, give-and-take relationship with her students. Volansky especially loves students who are not afraid to participate.

“I love the fact that…you’re not confined to the relationship of ‘I am a teacher and I know’ and ‘you are a student and you don’t know.’ Being around 18-22 year-olds keeps me young. It makes me learn a little bit more about Lady Gaga, a little bit more about Jon Stewart,” said

Volansky. “I’m really proud of our students. They’ve pushed me as much as I’ve pushed them…a teacher can’t ask for anything more than that.”

When she is not teaching or cheering for sports teams, Volansky reads. Although she does not have a favorite book, she does reread F. Scott. Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” every year.

She said, “I love the idea—and this is probably why I’m a drama professor—I love the idea of telling stories. I think that whatever’s on my nightstand at a particular moment is my favorite book…I just love how writers are capturing the world that we live in, whether it’s a novel, or a poem, or, in my discipline, a play. And they’re really doing a bang-up job of it. It’s pretty exciting.”

Between educating others, watching Sunday Night Football, and perusing literature, Volansky barely has time to deal with certain essentials; her photo on the WC website is sadly out of date. “I am so due for another headshot,” she said.

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