Honors faculty member Jen Santos, PhD, received her doctorate in English from Arizona State University. She is a published writer who has also worked in the areas of technical writing and conducting research. She has taught a wide variety of English-related courses at the college level for over 10 years. She is currently a full-time English faculty member for the Honors College at Grand Canyon University.
Dr. Santos’ initial love for writing stemmed from a very young age. “My love sort of developed from a natural curiosity and in part from being surrounded by words,” she said. “I knew writing was something that I always wanted to do.”
During her graduate school years, Dr. Santos volunteered at a local animal shelter working with cats. Dr. Santos came to realize that the cat’s bios listed on the website reflected the negative, sad and disabling qualities about the cats. So she decided to take the initiative, with her manager’s permission, and rewrite the bios of the cats with the focus of highlighting their unique, vibrant personalities.
Through that process of essentially rebranding the perception of the cats, the shelter’s amount of adoptions increased. With this experience, Dr. Santos not only aided in the adoption of many more cats, but also found a way to connect her passion for writing and love for cats into a formative cause.
“It worked really well, writing for the cats. It was probably one of the most fun things I’ve done,” she explained. “It was once a week where I got to join those two passions [cats and writing].”
Dr. Santos offers these three key points of advice to aspiring writers:
- Write. If you can, every day.
- When you’re starting to write, don’t try to make it perfect. I think that’s how a lot aspiring writers get frustrated. They aim for perfection on the first try.
- Explore your passions – and look for opportunities.
Learning how to seek out opportunities outside the college setting is a strong skill to possess. We at the Honors College encourage our students to not only pursue success inside the classroom, but outside of it as well. Take initiative in pursuing the opportunities that are around you.
Dr. Santos said smiling, “Follow your passions rather than predetermined paths; sometimes predetermined paths can lead us to passions. Just stay open. Sometimes God reveals His purpose for us in ways we don’t expect.”
Grand Canyon University’s Honors College offers opportunities for passionate and ambitious students to find their purpose. Learn more by visiting our website or contacting us using the green Request More Information button at the top of the page.