Former Echo Editor-in-Chief enjoys his new role teaching EMU students writing

Bryan Alfaro enjoys the latest copy of his favorite newspaper

Bryan Alfaro is feeling lucky to have found employment after graduate school. He obtained his master’s degree in written communication from Eastern Michigan University in August 2014 and began teaching for his alma mater’s English department.

“I feel very lucky to have walked off the commencement floor with a degree in hand and be employed immediately after,” the Ann Arbor native said.

Fresh out of high school, Alfaro attended Washtenaw Community College for about three years while changing his major three times.

After leaving school to raise a son, he returned after 15 years to complete his transfer to EMU where he also obtained his bachelor’s degree in English language with a minor in journalism.

“I decided I was tired of dead-end job after dead-end job and not feeling like I was giving back to my community at all,” he said. “I just wasn’t doing anything that was satisfying to me.”

But he knew what he wanted this time. He wanted to be a writing instructor and reach opportunities to get exposure to various mechanics and genres of writing that were available at Eastern.

“I wanted something that was writing intensive -- editing, revising, you know, just different processes of writing,” Alfaro said. “So I looked at journalism as a supplement to my English language degree; that I thought would be beneficial to my students and myself.”

Upon learning that he hadn’t been selected for a graduate assistantship, he applied for the editor-in-chief position at the student newspaper. But he credits Carol Schlagheck, the journalism program coordinator, for pushing him in that direction.

“I encouraged Bryan to become more active at The Echo and to run for EIC not only because he is an excellent writer and a thoughtful journalist, but because he is a strong leader,” Schlagheck said. “He has very high standards and a solid work ethic. I knew he would have a lot to balance with his graduate work, but I'm glad he was willing to take it on.”

According to Alfaro, his work at the paper gave him valuable experience in editing and revising and while it didn’t make him an expert in anything, always reading articles gave him a little knowledge about everything.

“I’m constantly doing lesson planning, so I’m not done reading articles,” he said. “Over the break, I read about 12 journal articles.”

Though he’s always looking for ways to ensure student success, he still finds a little time to work on a family genealogy project and make Sunday evening nachos with the lady in his life. But, admittedly, he hasn’t found much to write.

“I have a novel on the back burner that I haven’t touched in about three or four years,” he said. “But that’s a project that I’ll eventually return to.”

For now, thoughts of an additional degree aren’t registering. He says he’s happy with where he is in his life, with his family and friends and doing what he loves.

Alfaro recently joined the Eastern Michigan Writing Project-Family Literacy Initiative where Title I schools in southeast Michigan welcome the project to present workshops to varied audiences of educators, parents and students.

“I saw a rapid transformation from journalist to teacher, with an increasing curiosity about how students think and write,” Director of the Writing Project, William Tucker, said.

Alfaro’s professional memberships include:

  • First-Year Writing Program Committee, Eastern Michigan University, 2014-Present
  • First-Year Writing Program Website/Online Resources Subcommittee, Eastern Michigan University, 2014-Present
  • National Council of Teachers of English, 2012-Present
  • Two-Year College English Association, 2014-Present
  • Society of Professional Journalists, 2012-Present
  • “I think between lesson planning, teaching my classes and working with the Writing Project I have plenty to keep me busy,” Alfaro said.

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