Faculty Profile: Stacey Mascia-Susice, Ph.D
Title: Professor of English, Humanities Department, NCCC Malone
Education: Ph.D, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; M.A. The College of St. Rose; B.A. The College of St. Rose; A.A.S. North Country Community College
Interests: Music, theater, cooking, reading and writing. Stacey’s first book, Looking Through and Beyond Gaze Constructs: Representations of Performance and (Dis)Ability, was published last year.
Who were some of your mentors when you were a student at NCCC? One professor who really moved me was Bob Brown. I remember going to his Sociology 101 lectures, and just so much laughter and learning. Claire Doyle was my connection to children’s literature. I learned to love it as a genre and now I teach it regularly. Howard Mott and Ken Youngblood were both big influences and the reason why I chose to go into English as my career.
What was it like to go from being a student to a professor at the college? It was surreal because I was still pretty young (late 20s), and we had a lot of nontraditional students who were older than me. I think one of the comments that first semester was, ‘Wait. You’re our teacher?’ Now I’d love to hear that. But I found my groove, it kicked in pretty quickly and it just felt like home.
What’s your approach to instruction in the classroom? Education doesn’t have to be dull. It can be invigorating. It can be insightful. It can be really challenging and outside the box. I bring guest speakers in, have students read texts that are against the grain and try to expand their working knowledge of literature. I do a lot of discussion-based teaching and mix it up so I’m hitting all the different learners – the auditory, the visual, the kinesthetic.
Your book is focused on how sideshow performers with bodies of difference have used their conditions to educate the public. Why did you choose that subject? It grew out of my doctoral dissertation. I had presented quite a few of the chapters at conferences and it was received well so I thought, ‘This needs to be a book.’ I just wanted their stories to be told. I wanted people to see that these performers who were born with bodies of difference have overcome those challenges and used entertainment and education to express how they’re comfortable in their own skin. I think that’s a message that’s lacking today.