After graduating from Mason with an MA in Foreign Languages (Spanish), Dr. Milacci completed a PhD in Spanish Language and Literature at the University of Maryland. He was then hired by Liberty University where he teaches Spanish language/grammar and Latin American culture and literature. Dr. Milacci spoke to us early in his career about his job and how his Mason degree prepared him to succeed.
What do you like about your career?
Teaching in a field that I am passionate about is a privilege that I do not take for granted. I enjoy the variety of classes that I get to teach, from introductory Spanish grammar courses to upper-level literature classes for majors. This semester I have had the opportunity to teach a class at the master's level. What is more, one of the aspects that I find particularly rewarding is the opportunity to mentor students via the Spanish Honor Society, by serving on undergraduate honors thesis committees, or through other avenues. It gives me immense pride and satisfaction to witness a student's growth first-hand.
How did your degree prepare you to do this work?
The program at Mason very much prepared me for not only my career, but also for my doctoral program. The classes I took were rigorous and highly relevant to the field, and the faculty took an active interest in investing in my growth. In a way, they modeled many of the practices that I now use. Lastly, my experience as a graduate teaching assistant allowed me to gain valuable experience in the profession.
What advice would you give current students about developing their careers?
Now that I am on the other side of the proverbial teacher's desk, I realize that a key component to graduate study and preparation for one's career is precisely the relationship you form with your professors. In my search for a doctoral program, my mentor at Mason played a key role, and when looking for a job, I relied heavily on the expertise of my dissertation chair: both of them were constant editors and sounding boards for many ideas. In short, take interest in your professors' classes and research, and take advantage of the experience and wisdom of these professionals around you who have already "been there and done that."