As a die-hard literature lover, romantic and classics enthusiast, Natalie Bradford has always known that English would play a role in her college experience.
“I have always known that I wanted to do English. I did not take an English course in my first semester freshman year and I was incredibly sad,” Bradford said. “I then took English 265 (English literature before the 1800s) and it was amazing and I have never looked back.”
This passion stems from a childhood surrounded by books and literature. Bradford has always been immersed in a world of books. Specifically, Victorian culture has always spoken to Bradford. The subject pertains to English life for the Victorians of the period.
“There are so many interesting things to talk about with books — especially with Victorian classes,” Bradford said. “The Victorians are so weird and I could talk about them all day.”
Bradford will be furthering her education as a double deacon as she is pursuing a master’s in English at Wake Forest. Her time here is not over yet, and she is excited to continue her education and immerse herself further in English duties.
While reflecting on the past four years of Wake Forest, Bradford recalls one of her favorite projects — an independent study between her classmates and Dr. Joanna Ruocco, a creative writing professor, on romance novels. The study delved into the genre of romance novels and Bradford enjoyed studying the history along with understanding the unique aspects that make up the genre.
The days spent up, awake at 4 a.m., mark stressful days for Bradford in the semester as she recalls writing endless essays. However, these memories are also associated with pleasant times as she learned to develop critical thinking skills and a true understanding of the source material beyond the surface level.
“Any day being able to talk about fun books and fun people marks a good day for me,” Bradford said.
The professors and faculty that Bradford have interacted with over the years at Wake Forest have served as guiding mentors for her academic experience, and she is grateful for her experiences with them. Dr. Jennifer Pyke, an associate teaching professor, stands out in particular as a dedicated and passionate individual that Bradford looks up to. Dr. Pyke’s classes were memorable for Bradford, because of the professor’s interesting rhetoric and dedication to the subject matter.
“I have absolutely loved getting to know Natalie over these years,” Dr. Pyke said. “In class, Natalie is hyper-focused. You can see it all being processed and contemplated — each point raised is sparking ten new thoughts. She is a reader and writer who also sees beyond the edges of classrooms and institutions. She makes room for the world and other kinds of ‘sense’ in what she knows. She is preternaturally focused but also down-to-earth, at the same time. And then she walks into your office and you realize she is also very funny. I will miss her!”
In her free time, Bradford enjoys creative writing, embroidery and cross-stitch.
She also enjoys being able to experience nature and literature by cracking open a good book while on a hike, a frequent hobby of hers.
After graduating, Bradford hopes that her experiences will land her a job in education and she will be able to spread her love and passion for English.