Meet the Butler Fellow
Mina Ivanova joined the Center for Writing and Speaking as the Patricia Collins Butler Fellow in the Fall of 2012. She also teaches Public Speaking for the Department of Theatre and Dance. The opportunity to work at Agnes has been a great honor and a joy, because it taps into Mina’s rigorous academic preparation as well as her multi-lingual and multi-cultural background. In hindsight, it seems like years of academic and professional development and a couple of serendipities have led Mina to a position in which she feels connected, challenged to learn and grow, and deeply satisfied with the work at hand.
Presently, Mina is a Ph.D. student in Rhetoric and Politics and a Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant at the Department of Communication at Georgia State University. Originally from Bulgaria, she studied English and Linguistics at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski.” After coming to the United States, she received a B.A. in English from Kutztown University and an M.A. in Communication from Villanova University. Her current work is situated at the intersection of rhetorical theory and criticism, critical theory, identity studies, and continental philosophy. She is concerned with the question of rhetorical agency, the discursive formation of collective identities, and the role of rhetoric in social resistance and social change. She also studies nostalgia as a political emotion from a rhetorical perspective.
In addition to her deep investment in academic research, Mina also has a passion for teaching. At the CWS, Mina works closely with the tutors, providing mentorship and guidance related to all aspects of strategic communication and tutoring, such as presentation delivery and argumentation skills, interviewing skills, and pedagogical approaches to meeting the diverse needs of tutees. Because of her cultural and academic background, she is able to assist international students and tutors for whom writing and speaking assignments present a unique set of challenges, especially if they do not feel confident in their command of the English language or are unfamiliar with the presentation formats typically used at academic institutions in the U.S. These multiple facets of the work at Agnes are a source of great fulfillment, and Mina feels grateful for the opportunity. Looking back, it almost seems as if it was meant to be.
Mina’s introduction to Agnes happened in stages. She first visited in 2009, when the College co-hosted an event with a local refugee-serving non-profit organization for which Mina worked at the time. Quite predictably, she fell victim to the spellbinding power of our campus. It was not just the elegant architecture, cozy reading corners, communal spaces, and inviting classrooms; nor was it the lush manicured lawns or the uncanny, yet delightful, feeling that all the songbirds of Decatur had converged upon Agnes to perform that immediately drew Mina to the place. What impressed her the most were the friendly faces, the doors held kindly open, and the helpful offers for information and assistance from everyone she met.
Little did she know that a few years later she would get to experience and to actively contribute to yet another core aspect of our community: the rigorous academic atmosphere, the inspiring thought-provoking conversations, and the deep and collaborative learning that goes on here every single day. Having already joined the Ph.D. program at Georgia State, Mina was encouraged by one of her professors and an Agnes Scott alumna to apply for the openings at the CWS and the Department of Theatre.
Today, Mina has her own favorite cozy nooks on campus, and can usually be found working with tutors and students at the very heart – and hearth – of campus, the Center for Writing and Speaking.