Profile: Selena Anderson

By Alexis Meehan & Lance Wyndon

Join us in welcoming creative writing assistant professor Dr. Selena Anderson to the English Department. Originally from Pearland, Texas, Dr. Anderson completed her B.A. in English at the University of Texas, attained an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing at Columbia University, and finished her Ph.D. in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Houston. Her stories have appeared in Glimmer Train, Kenyon Review, Joyland, AGNI, and The Best of Gigantic Anthology. She is currently hard at work writing a collection of stories and a novel.

At a very young age, Professor Anderson developed a strong passion for both the written word and teaching. “I always wanted to be a writer and a teacher,” she says. “I couldn’t think of any other job. I liked to learn, and I loved being in a classroom where people would learn to articulate their ideas.”

As a writer, Professor Anderson strives to immerse herself in other cultures.  As one of the most diverse campuses in the United States, SJSU became the ideal place to teach.

“I like being around a really diverse group of students, that’s who I think about when I write,” she says.

So far, Professor Anderson says the most rewarding part about teaching is seeing her students grasp new and complex concepts and then develop their own ideas.

“The most challenging part is motivating the students to find their own unique creativity. You just have to be able to ask them the right question to target those creative facilities,” she observes. “Like asking them, ‘How would this story be different if the situation changed?’”

Her recent move to California from Houston was a major undertaking. “It has been exciting as well as chaotic,” Professor Anderson says. “It was crazy because it was right when Hurricane Harvey happened.”

With friends and family still living in Houston, she’s naturally concerned about them. While hurricanes are not uncommon in the Houston area, Professor Anderson says this was not a typical storm. The damage was devastating.

“I was feeling almost guilty that I’m in this really pretty area, and they’re there having to deal with that,” she says.

When she has time, Professor Anderson relaxes by doing yoga, which she says is a great stress-reliever. She also loves to travel. Recently, she went to Belize, where she and her husband relaxed on the beach and enjoyed the country’s lush beauty. She hopes to see more of the world when time allows.

In her next few years at SJSU, Professor Anderson looks forward to making an impact on campus, both through her teaching and her writing: “Books, books, and more books!” she says. We know San José State will provide a creative home for her.