“Speaking Their Minds” is a column dedicated to conversations made with Point Loma Nazarene University staff members and faculty. Karina Westra has been a professor at PLNU for 12 years who teaches literature and college composition writing classes. Westra has an M.A. in Rhetoric and Writing Studies from San Diego State University, and a B.A. in both Psychology and English from Calvin University. She is a huge fan of Jane Austen, has a love for cats, and has a passion for people that is evident in her persona and teaching.
What led you to become a writing and literature professor at PLNU?
I actually started working here as a Department Assistant in what was then LJML. I started a Rhetoric and Writing Studies MA program at SDSU with the plan to work for a non-profit or political organization. However, I started to wonder about teaching, and Karl Martin (chair at the time) was kind enough to offer me a college comp class. I thought I’d teach for a year or two, but that was almost 15 years ago. I discovered I loved being in the classroom and working with college students.
What has been your favorite subject to teach?
I teach a LIT 2000 on Jane Austen and modern adaptations, which I really enjoy. This semester I am teaching Women Writers for the first time; I think it’s my new favorite.
If you could be any animal, what animal would you be and why?
Anyone who knows me will assume my answer would be a cat. I am a crazy cat lady. However, I think I’d be a sea otter; they’re like the kitties of the sea. I love how they roll through the water and that they hold hands so they don’t get separated.
What is your favorite book to read, and why do you love it so much?
This is a really tough question for someone who loves to read. I have to go with Pride and Prejudice. Read it the first time for the romance. Read it again (and again) for the social commentary. Witty banter and social critique? It doesn’t get much better.
Any hobbies or special talents you have that you’d like to share?
I resisted Wordle for a while, but I love a good word game. Also, I’m not sure it’s a hobby, but I’ve managed to build quite a shoe collection. I love funky, colorful shoes– probably not surprising for an Enneagram 4.
Written By: Claire Plath