Alumna Profile: Lia Calhoun

January 18th, 2022 § 0

The Department caught up recently with Lia (Sloth) Calhoun, one of our alums.
Upon graduation from SPU, Lia went on to complete a Ph.D. in American literature at Boston University, specializing in twentieth- and twenty-first-century multiethnic literatures of the U.S., Native American literature, and spatial theory. Her dissertation focused on issues of spatial justice in twentieth-century American lit.

While dissertating, Lia and her husband moved back to their birthplace, Homer, Alaska. Hoping to pick up teaching as an adjunct instructor, Lia applied to the Homer campus of the University of Alaska, only to learn that a full-time, tenure-track position was opening up. Lia was offered and accepted the job, and balanced dissertation, new-motherhood, and helping on her husband’s fishing boat for several years.

“I really am fortunate to have found this work in my small community that is literally at the end of the road,” writes Lia. “Both my family and my husband’s family are here, so our two boys (ages six and almost three) get to grow up with almost all of their extended family.

“My husband runs his own salmon seining operation,” explains Lia, “so the boys and I spend much of the summer at our beach house in a village on Kodiak Island, where we can explore even more rural and secluded beaches, trails, and adventures.”

Meanwhile, Lia has shifted her research interests to the scholarship of teaching and learning. “I’m fascinated with research about high-impact practices and other tools for student success,” she explains. “I work with many students who haven’t had the educational privileges I have, and one of the most fulfilling aspects of my work is walking alongside these students until they come to truly know that they belong here” on campus, she says.

Congratulations and best wishes, Lia!

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