Julie Stein, a wonderful woman, teacher, and humanities advocate

Interviewed and written by Ashleigh Gamboni-Diehl
June 19, 2017
Expected publishing date August 2017 in the UC Merced Writing Project Anthology Summer 2017 edition

(Names and places have been changed to protect privacy.)

Helpful and warmhearted, Julie Stein lives in Arizona with her husband, eight cats, and two dogs.  Julie teaches high school English, and AP English at a historical high school.  Her husband coaches and is a sports nut, Julie is not.  Looking happy and beautiful in her hand-made wedding dress, Julie and her husband eloped in Vegas.  Since her husband is Jewish, but she is not, they were unable to get married at the synagogue, but had a Jewish wedding at the New York, New York Casino chapel.  

Julie’s students are lucky. Her perfectly balanced personality is a blend of laid back bohemian and classic practicality. She firmly believes that the arts are a vital part of education, and fears, if the arts disappear from the curriculum, students would not be getting the best education possible. To compensate, for the lack of arts in education, Julie is sure to schedule a yearly field trip to the theater. She explains, “It is my best opportunity for getting the kids well rounded; they have a narrow world viewpoint because of the humanities cut back.”   

Choosing to schedule a trip to the theater is no surprise because Julie is a huge Shakespeare fan.  Her favorites are As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Taming of the Shrew, and Macbeth, and she attends festivals regularly.  

Julie was a literature major in college and loves to read.  I asked her how much she reads and she said, “I am a book junkie!”  Her love for literature began when she was a child and Victorian literature became her passion in high school. At the university she majored in literature with a minor in French literature.  

Her specialties in literary criticism are feminism, gender studies, the psychological, character development, and motivation.  Not exactly sure what she meant by feminist criticism she explains, “Discovering gender roles of characters are one way we can find out about women's role in society in the world of this work of literature.” Fascinating.  

More fascinating was finding out Julie can be clever with a  splash of rebellion.   

Let me explain: A paper was due about Othello, a Shakespearean play, but the TA was known to expect an off-the-wall analysis of the work.  Slightly annoyed, Julie decided to show the TA “what she’s got” and ended up writing an interpretation of Emilia’s role in Othello that she thought initially was “outrageous.” Surprisingly, an interpretative argument she began as a joke worked, and she received full marks.  

After studying literature, Julie went to take classes to become certified to teach secondary school while earning an MA in English and might have pursued a doctorate.  She wanted to take some literature classes for electives,  but her schedule was closely controlled by her adviser.  However, Julie found a way to  sneak in one Victorian literature class, and the professor suggested she pursue a Ph.D.  Declining a future at the university, she continued to work towards her teaching career.  

Julie’s love of the humanities reaches beyond literature and teaching. Her hobbies include soprano singer, historical costume maker, musical enthusiast, and Arizona landscape photographer.

I am pleased to introduce Julie Stein.