Finding Greatness: Dr. Sara Hughes

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Monday, April 3, 2017 1:26 PM
Categories: Pressroom | College of Arts and Sciences | Finding Greatness | Faculty/Staff

Macon, GA

Award-winning poet Dr. Sara Hughes inspires students with her creativity and personal triumphs.

Full Name: Dr. Sara Hughes.

Full Title: Lecturer of English.

Degrees: Ph.D. in English from Georgia State University, Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Georgia College & State University, Bachelor of Arts in English from Mercer University.

Describe your service to Middle Georgia State University and the community at large.

“I am going to use this opportunity to plug the Arts Festival at MGA. This year, I worked with my colleagues Lee Simmons and Tisha Simeral to invite artists to MGA’s campus, and I was thrilled about the lineup – poet Anya Silver, Georgia’s Author of the Year in 2015, book artist Amy Pirkle, and artist Dan Keplinger, whose life was the subject of the Oscar-winning documentary King Gimp. Bringing a diverse group of artists to campus is important to the cultural vibrancy of student life. I hope our students were inspired and engaged by these wonderful people.

“In terms of my own accomplishments and service to the community, since being hired at MGA in 2015, I have consistently published poems and interviews in literary journals, and I regularly present at local and national academic conferences. Last summer I was invited to participate in a highly competitive Artists-in-Residence program in Connecticut called I-Park (the program only accepts 7 percent of applicants), and I have just accepted a residency for this summer from the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences. Finally, I served on the Susan G. Komen Central Georgia Foundation’s 2017 Community Grants Peer Review panel, which determines which organizations in Central Georgia will receive funding to pursue breast cancer education, screenings, and treatment.”

What attracted you to a faculty/staff position at Middle Georgia State University?

“I moved to Macon when I was 18 to attend Mercer, and ever since, Macon has felt like home. So, its location was a major selling point for MGA. But, when I interviewed and met the other wonderful faculty in the Department of English, I felt an even greater sense of home. The support and kindness that I experience on a daily basis from my colleagues is incredible.”

What do you like best about teaching at Middle Georgia State?

“Because I’ve taught at the college level for 13 years, some people might believe the job would have gotten stale. But, it’s actually the opposite. Due to the diversity of the student population at MGA, in one semester I can have five entirely different classroom dynamics, and I am challenged to be the type of instructor each class needs. And the students are so inspiring! I can teach a story 10 times, and then a student will say something during discussion that makes me feel like I’m reading that story for the first time.”

Describe some of your recent research or creative work.

“I am a poet, so most of my publications are in the field of creative writing. My first book, The Disappearing Act, just won the Adrienne Bond Award for Poetry and will be published in 2018. I am working on my second book now, which I anticipate will be a collection of essays rather than poems. I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer two years ago, so a lot of the writing I am doing now explores the impact that a cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment have on a young woman’s life and relationships.”

In your opinion, what does it take for students majoring in your discipline to be successful these days?

“Ambition and creativity. Earning a degree in English can prepare a student for pretty much any career because the major stimulates critical thinking and improves communication skills. An English degree tells the world that you have the tools to effectively express yourself through the written language. Paired with ambition and creativity, this degree can open just about any door a student wants to walk through.”

What would students be surprised to learn about you?

“I have an identical twin, and some of the crazy experiences we’ve had would shock the students. Once, when my twin and I were in our 20s, we went to a taping of Jimmy Fallon’s show in New York and we got pulled out of the audience to be on the show for like three minutes. It was hilarious and fun, but we looked so dorky. That clip exists somewhere on the internet, I’m sure, but I’ll never reveal where!”