Cumberland University


Kaitlyn Gross: Learning to Shape Tomorrow's Writers

Rick Brown

Kaitlyn Gross never had to wonder what she’d be when she grew up. An English and Secondary Education student, Gross had “teacher picked out in her brain” from an early age.

But it wasn’t until she arrived at Cumberland that she realized just what she wanted to teach.

I started out as a History and Secondary Education student, and I wasn’t sure what I eventually wanted to do, said Gross. Professor Rex suggested I try English, so I gave it a whirl. I loved it, and I decided to keep up with it.

The Indianapolis native has done just that she since arrived at Cumberland in the fall of 2008. As President of Sigma Tau Delta and Sports Editor of The Cumberland Chronicle, Gross has come into her own as a writer-scholar. At Cumberland, Gross has excelled in both of her chosen majors, making Deans’ List for four semesters and winning the 2010 English Research Award."

Whether presenting a paper at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte or working as an intern with The Lebanon Democrat, the future teacher lives a busy life, but a rewarding one.

Gross’s diligence has paid off. Studying under English professors like Dr. Michael Rex and Education professors like Dr. Eric Cummings, the senior student has improved not only in her writing, but also in her confidence as a future teacher.

“We went to a local school to do observation hours, and I did seventh and eighth grade language arts,” said Gross. “I figured it would be tough, that they’d think, ‘It’s a new teacher. Let’s bombard her!’ But I made it through, and they were so helpful that it really made it clear to me that I want to be a teacher.”

For Gross, that moment confirmed a life-long aspiration for teaching—a future she trains for each day as an English tutor in Cumberland’s Ace Center. Helping students plan and edit their papers, Gross has discovered a passion for helping students express themselves.

It’s an enthusiasm she has found demonstrated in the techniques of many of her professors, especially Dr. Eric Cummings.

“I had Dr. Cummings for my first Education professor. The way he speaks is so helpful—his assignments always make you think,” said Gross. “I hope to do that with my students in the future.”

Gross is well-equipped to realize that dream. Now planning to attend graduate school to study rhetoric and composition in the fall of 2011, she hopes to one day become a middle-school language arts teacher.

“I like language arts because writing helps children with their future lives,” Gross explained. “If people send a resume to a job with incorrect grammar, wrong spelling, or bad punctuation, they won’t get the job. People don’t realize that writing is so important for our future, and I just want to help kids realize that.”

Having spent years training to help others’ shape their writing, Gross will likely have few problems helping her future students achieve that goal.