STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Jaya Bharne

How did you come up with the idea for your research?
My curiosity for country house literature began when I encountered Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall” in a class I took with Professor Robert Kusch during my freshman year. The poem speaks, among many things, about the desire to build and maintain residential walls between neighbors. What excited me about the poem was the profound and delicate presence of nature against the human practice of maintaining barriers. I mark this reading as the moment I felt a real attachment to exploring the role of the “natural” in modern poets.

In conducting your study, what experience have you had with the faculty at Rutgers?
I first met Professor Michael McKeon as a sophomore in a Rutgers College Honors seminar on the early modern period. There were about six students in the class, and for three hours every week, we discussed some of the most intriguing issues in early modern studies. The following year, I enrolled in a class on travel narratives taught by Professor McKeon. I discovered that I had grown as a critical thinker from taking these classes. So I asked him to serve as advisor for my thesis. I trusted him as a mentor and felt I could really grow with him throughout the project.

How has Rutgers prepared you for life after college?
Along with the experience of taking a graduate level course during junior year, and acting as a mentor to younger students as a tutor at the Plangere Writing Center, Rutgers, and the English department in particular, has helped me develop a way of thinking about the world I live in. It is a way of seeing that I cultivated over the last four years under the guidance of some exceptional faculty members. In addition to Professor McKeon, I have benefited from the guidance of Professor Ann Baynes Coiro and Professor Jacqueline T. Miller during junior year, and Professor Richard Diesnt during senior year. Rutgers helped bring to fruition my ability to think about the choices I make in my life, so as to arrive at the most fulfilling destination. This is, perhaps, the best thing I could have for life after college.

When you are not studying or tutoring, how do you enjoy your free time?
I’ve made wonderful friends in the English department, and we try to get together once every week to share what we have been reading and writing. It has been surprising and pleasurable to watch our academic interests slowly transition into a set of social interests among friends.

What is one of the most memorable experiences you have had through Rutgers?
There was a moment during my senior year when I was walking up the path to Murray Hall late in the evening after a tremendous rainstorm. I stood for some time there and remember feeling overwhelmingly fulfilled, knowing that so much language and thought had existed in that building. It was in this moment of silence that I was able to fully appreciate having been part of a program that believes in growth through active dialogue.