By Kaitlyn Fairbanks
Earlier in the semester, Agnes Scott’s English Department began the search for a new English professor to join the department. Following a series of intensive interviews and talks, the department has officially hired Dr. Natalie Villacorta. Starting in Fall 2023, she will be teaching creative nonfiction courses. In addition to this, Dr. Villacorta will also help operate the Center for Writing and Speaking and aid in the management of first-year English courses.
Dr. Villacorta sat down with us to discuss her interests and new position. Originally interested in scientific journalism, Dr. Villacorta began her journey as an English/Biology double major at Brown University, where she was a member of the college’s newspaper. Following her graduation, Dr. Villacorta began writing articles for Politico, mostly focusing on healthcare.
It was during her time at Politico that Dr. Villacorta realized she wanted to pursue writing that focused more on human experiences. This led her to Oregon State University where she received her MFA in Creative Nonfiction and later a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Cincinnati, where she also served as an Albert-Yates Fellow.
Dr. Villacorta states that Agnes Scott’s strong sense of community was a major factor in her decision to come to the college. She was impressed with how dedicated Scotties were to being there for each other. She also mentioned that the student body’s strong commitment to the empowerment of women and gender minorities was important to her decision as well.
In her courses, Dr. Villacorta plans to expose students to a wide range of texts with the intention of broadening their understanding of what creative nonfiction actually is. She states that this will allow her to aid students in discovering and empowering the unique voices and tastes of each student. Her classes will also place heavy emphasis on feedback and maintaining an open dialogue.
As mentioned, Dr. Villacorta will also be managing the CWS starting next semester. When asked about her plan, she mentioned wanting to put a strong emphasis on digital storytelling. She plans to create events and projects that grant the student body a space to explore and improve their creative nonfiction storytelling openly with each other.
But enough about the academics. Who is Dr. Villacorta as a person?
Dr. Villacorta also has a strong love for nature and dogs. She already has a dog named Marty (who loves pets and may become a guest at Puppy Power Hour), but she also loves Ramona and is trying to get a Scottish terrier of her own. She also loves to go on walks, so expect to see Dr. Villacorta and Marty roaming around together on campus!
She has also given us a list of book recommendations:
–The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
–Strangers to Ourselves by Rachel Aviv
–How Should A Person Be? by Sheila Heti
You can also follow Dr. Villacorta on Instagram @writingbeaver.
Welcome to Agnes Scott, Professor Villacorta!
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