Finding Greatness: Dr. Crystal O'Leary-Davidson

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Monday, October 28, 2019 12:00 AM
Categories: Faculty/Staff | Pressroom | Finding Greatness | School of Arts and Letters

Cochran, GA


The director of the recent Warner Robins Little Theatre play “Dracula,” Dr. Crystal O'Leary-Davidson, English professor, shares her love of pop culture, film and literature, and all things goth with her MGA students.

Full Name: Dr. Crystal O'Leary-Davidson.

Title: Professor of English.


• Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre (Acting) from The University of Mississippi.

• Master of Arts in Communication Studies (Speech) from The University of Alabama.

• Master of Arts in English from Winthrop University.

• Doctorate of Philosophy in English (American Literature, The Gothic, and Film Studies) from The University of Louisiana Lafayette.

Describe your accomplishments while at and your service to Middle Georgia State and the community.

“I have enjoyed making connections between the University and the surrounding communities. Recently, I directed a play, Dracula, at the Warner Robins Little Theatre, and am excited to bring my experiences with literature and acting to local theatre and to give our students opportunities to see live theatre, and to encourage them to get involved in the future.

“One of my proudest moments was writing and receiving a grant in 2012 for the National Endowment for the Arts’ Humanities Big Read. The grant underwrote a month-long community-wide read of Tim O’Brien’s Vietnam-era collection of stories, The Things They Carried. Big Read events in Bleckley County included book discussion circles, memoir writing workshops, film showings, a concert of American music, and our college library archiving Vietnam Veterans’ stories of their experiences. It was exciting seeing those connections forged between college and community, all connected through reading!”

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

“I actively looked for a position with an institution that would have a diverse student population. I enjoy that many of our students are nontraditional, particularly the first-generation college students and dual-enrolled students.”

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

“I love the positive energy and the nerdiness of our faculty and staff - many gamers and pop culture fans among us! “That positivity also leads to working collaboratively. I love working with other faculty members on scholarly projects, such as conference panels and writing. Dr. Lisa Wenger Bro had the idea to publish a book on monsters because we had such successful panels at conferences on the topic. With Lisa and Mary Ann Gareis, we edited and published a collected volume of essays with Cambridge Scholars Press, Monsters of Film, Fiction, and Fable, that included essays from faculty at our institution, other Georgia schools, and from around the world. So much good work can be achieved through collaboration, and the great people at our university make that possible.”

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

“Taking time to read - deep and sustained reading. Making reading a daily habit for school and for pleasure is important, and reading both in your favorite genres and outside your normal choices is also important. Reading not only develops a person’s critical thinking skills, but it also develops a person’s empathy for others. Reading should be for all people, really, not just English majors.”

What would students be surprised to learn about you?

“I’ve been playing tabletop role-playing games since high school. I’m an old-school Dungeons and Dragons player.”