Jon (right) and Arya (left) taking a cat nap.

Hello everyone! My name is Maura O’Neill, and I’m so excited to get to know all of you! This is my first year of grad school, so I’m looking forward to learning from each other this semester. I’m a Spanish teacher at Colonia High School, and I live with my husband (we got married in August!) and our two cats, Jon and Arya (pictured above). 

Originally, we’re all from Scranton, PA (yes, like The Office); I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Scranton at Marywood University, where I double majored in English/Secondary Education and Spanish. After that, I spent a year as a long term substitute teacher in northeastern Pennsylvania, teaching high school and middle school English. When my then boyfriend (now husband) got a job in New Jersey, I followed suit, finding my current position as a Spanish teacher at Colonia High School. 

As you can probably tell from my very Irish name, I’m not a native Spanish speaker; I studied the language not because I wanted to teach it, but because I wanted to learn how to speak it. I also love learning about different cultures, and I hope to someday travel to numerous Spanish speaking countries. (I’ve already visited Peru and the Dominican Republic—Spain’s next on my list.)

As much as I love the Spanish language and Hispanic cultures, my true passion is English. I love the intricacies of English grammar, the beauty of English literature, and the process of writing in English. That’s why I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in English Writing. Still, I hope to incorporate some of my Spanish knowledge into my studies, and perhaps continue the research I conducted in my undergraduate thesis, in which I explored how code-switching works by Latino authors could be taught in high school English classes. Ultimately, I hope to find a career path more suited to my love of writing in English. 

In addition to my academic English writing, I also enjoy writing fiction and poetry. I have other hobbies, too: I like to draw (lately, I’ve been experimenting with Procreate); I collect—and eventually read—used books (I just finished a 1903 copy of Heart of Darkness that I bought for five bucks); and I binge-watch Netflix (currently, I’m making my way through Shameless). 

I look forward to getting to know all of you this semester, and I hope we can learn a lot from each other about the field of electronic literature!