by Kavin Carter, Class of 2018
Providence is not just a place that assists students in their academic goals, but also encourages professors to do the same. Juliette De Soto recently achieved one of her life ambitions by obtaining personal ownership of the title Dr. Juliette De Soto. I sat down with Dr. De Soto and spoke with her about her experience at Providence and her accomplishment of receiving her Ph.D.
About 5 years ago there was an opening at Providence for an English professor. She interviewed for the job, and within just a few weeks she was working at Providence. She taught 10 classes, 8 of which she wasn’t had never taught before, resulting in a kind of trial by fire as she learned exponentially in that year. While at Providence she has been in several positions of leadership.
This year, however, her main focus is English. In the past, she has been the head of the academic resource center and the accreditation liaison. She learned the ins and outs of how a university functions. “Because the school is smaller than others we all wear several different hats as far as responsibility goes”.
When Dr. De Soto was in high school during her junior year, one of her professors told her she should be an English major. Over time and after much reflection she chose to do exactly that. She loved engaging with the aspects of that major: reading, writing about literature, discussing literature, and creative writing.
When she graduated college she was living with a few of her friends, and the working world met them with harsh reality. “I was in data entry and it was a soul killing job, we hated our lives after college so we decide to go back to school.”
“I never envisioned myself being a professor or getting a Ph.D., I just wanted to get out of my 9 to 5 job”. But when she came to Providence she realized that teaching was slowly becoming one of her passions. She loved the culture and the creative atmosphere. That Providence atmosphere was one of the reasons she applied for her Ph.D.
Dr. De Soto attended Claremont Gradate University in order to obtain her Ph.D. For her qualifying exams, she was required to read over 250 works of literature and be able to reference any of them on the spot.
The final step on her path to receiving the title Doctor was her dissertation; her interest in female writers propelled her into the research and study of successful female writers and poets turning to suicide to end their lives, “specifically the cultural impact they had on the 20th century,” said De Soto. It turned out to be a very interesting project. “People asked me if I was really depressed while I was working on it, but I wasn’t at all, luckily I was able to maintain a slight emotional distance”. It took her a year to finish the dissertation and she plans to return to it in the near future and possibly publish her work.
Dr. De Soto is the first person in her family to ever receive a Ph.D. Both her family and Providence are extremely proud of her for her accomplishments and look forward to seeing what she does next in her career.