Dr. Jayme Ringleb joined the Meredith community this semester as an Assistant Professor of English. He sat down with The Herald to discuss his educational experience, his passions and the wisdom he hopes to share with his students.
Dr. Ringleb went to the University of South Carolina for their undergraduate studies. They said they “started as a media studies major but ended up switching to English with a double major in film studies.” While studying there, Dr. Ringleb had a part-time job waiting tables at a local restaurant, and he interned at South Carolina Equality which is a “non-profit focused on LGBTQ+ advocacy within the state,” they said.
For graduate school, Dr. Ringleb first got his MBA from the University of Iowa and studied at their campus in northern Italy. After receiving their degree, Dr. Ringleb decided to get their MFA in poetry from the University of Oregon due to their love of creative writing. While there, he was also an instructor, so he was “teaching poetry while learning poetry.” Additionally, Dr. Ringleb received their PhD in English with a concentration in Creative Writing - Poetry from Florida State University. He was involved with the Southeast Review, the university’s literary publication, as the poetry editor for three years.
Dr. Ringleb said, “English composition — specifically poetry — was a way to express myself at a young age as a self-described queer person who lived in a community where I did not feel like I fit in.” They said their writings “allowed [them] to create [their] own narrative and feel a sense of security.”
When asked about what led him to become an English professor, Dr. Ringleb stated that his students while in graduate school made him interested because he enjoyed connecting with them and building relationships that were not only focused on each students’ intellect but also guiding each student during their time of self-discovery as a person.
Dr. Ringleb chose to apply for a professorship at Meredith College because they found “a remarkable sense of community” where the faculty has similar goals, including being there for students while teaching them. Dr. Ringleb recalls speaking with one student while interviewing for the position who described the campus as a safe place. That statement from the student resonated with Dr. Ringleb which further drew them to Meredith because of how much they felt the school community values safety and empowerment.
The wisdom that Dr. Ringleb wants to pass on to his students is that “they are the only ones who truly know their personal strengths, so it is important for them to use that knowledge in all aspects of their life in order to succeed.”
Dr. Ringleb said they are inspired by people who know how to set boundaries for themselves and define their own means for success when encountering any struggles in life. They admire people who “rethink the systems that try to impose difficulties on them so they can live happily without needing to please anyone or prove anything.”
Dr. Ringleb shared that he loves to cook, especially Italian food since he lived there. He stated that “cooking is something very therapeutic for [him].” Aside from that, Dr. Ringleb said they enjoy going to local trails for hikes with their partner as well as having fun with their dog.
Besides academia and English, Dr. Ringleb is passionate about supporting people for who they are and making sure that people around them have “equity and justice in their lives.” Dr. Ringleb is part of an organization called Pen America, which is a writing-based justice reform program. Currently, the organization is focusing on the prison reform movement and reading poems written by currently incarcerated individuals.
By Rania Abushakra, Staff Writer