Growing up with five siblings, parents, grandparents, a cousin, aunt and uncle all under one roof, Mary Sosa learned the meaning of the idiom “it takes a village.”
“From taking turns caring for her sick grandparents to her uncle picking them up from school, to seeing her mom and aunt ensure that everyone ate well, Sosa fostered a deep sense of communal responsibility and how necessary it is to band together to solve issues,” Sosa said.
While she was attending her first semester at Fresno City, Sosa decided she wanted to be an English professor. She decided it while in her remedial English class, which she believes was a “mark of shame” for an English major, but much like what she tells her students now, “it’s not where you begin that matters, it is where you choose to finish.”
Mary Sosa is the 2022 Graduate Dean’s Medalist Nominee for the English Department.
“She always had her eye on a larger goal of becoming a community-scholar—a public intellectual, really that draws upon her own experiences of the first-year college writing experience, and she uses that as a means of improving opportunities for others,” says Dr. John C. Beynon, Professor of English and Graduate Coordinator of the M.A. in English Program.
Sosa has been a teacher’s assistant since the Fall of 2019, where she teaches first-year writing with the focus of creating opportunities for her students to conduct qualitative research in their home languages. She devoted her thesis research to working with Fresno County Public Library’s Adult Literacy Center, where she collaborated with Literacy staff and created a professional development curriculum for adult learners.
Professor of English Dr. Ginny Crisco said, “Mary’s expertise is highly valued in the area where she decided to conduct her research. It is rare to see thesis research have such a big impact so quickly and so comprehensively during the research phase and after the work has been completed.”
She has also worked as Assistant to the Director of Composition. She conducted research, worked with instructors to perform program assessments and helped improve the curriculum for first-year writing students.
“I have devoted my professional and academic work to supporting positive change within my community and I hope to continue my work at the City college level after graduation. Working to support one another and fostering a sense of agency, be it in formal or informal learning contexts is intrinsic to humanity,” Sosa said.