Monday, February 18, 2013

February 2013 Graduate Student of the Month Teresa Hancock-Parmer

The Indiana University Graduate and Professional Student Organization (GPSO) and University Graduate School (UGS) congratulate our February student of the month, Teresa Hancock-Parmer!
Teresa is a doctoral student in Spanish and Portuguese and she studies Hispanic literature, specifically early modern nuns' mystical writings.  “I was named after St. Teresa of Avila, who is perhaps the quintessential early modern mystic,” she explains.  “I read some of her writings for my senior undergraduate thesis, so when I came to graduate school I decided to study them, as well as other religious texts from that time period, in greater depth.” Teresa previously studied Spanish at Ball State and spent three years teaching English with the Peace Corps in Kazakhstan.  “My ties to Kazakhstan are still an important part of my identity; I keep in touch with my Kazakh friends, and I participate in Kazakh language and cultural activities here at IU,” she says.  Teresa also runs Grupo de Teatro VIDA, the Spanish-language theatre group in her department, in which she previously also acted.  She reports her accomplishment of which she is most proud is her family.  Her husband, Michael, is a graduate student in Central Eurasian Studies and History, and their daughter, Jansamal (pictured), celebrates her first birthday today.  “Jansamal is Kazakh for ‘soul breeze’,” Teresa explains.  Happy birthday, Jansamal!  In addition to her role as Jansamal’s mother, Teresa helps others’ children in her role of Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children who have suffered from abuse or neglect.  She feels that it is important to maintain a balance while in graduate school, “to incorporate one's academic work into one's life in a way that makes both the work and everything else enjoyable.”  Teresa devotes at least a few hours per day of focused work on her dissertation so she can enjoy other activities such as spending time with her daughter, hiking with her family in state parks, and playing board games.  When asked to break the GPSO Graduate Student of the Month Cake or Pie tie, she declined to take a position, describing herself as “not a dessert person.”  Teresa does enjoy chocolate, however, so she votes for “whichever one has richer, creamier chocolate.”