Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

Student Profiles

Jan Carpenter

Jan Carpenter

Life beyond Reed

After spending her youth as a journalist and lawyer, Jan turned in midlife to mothering and teaching. She recently retired from a large public high school where she taught Shakespearean plays, no matter who wrote them. Jan graduated from the program in May 2014. Her thesis involved a close reading of Anne Carson's Nox.

Academic interests

Pre-Reed, Jan focused much of her academic life on the public and the practical: how to report on current events, how to incorporate law into public policy, and how to teach teenagers. At Reed she has opened the cupboards where she stored her private interests in literature and art. At this point she takes particular pleasure in probing the connections between the literary and visual arts and in using the library to travel in time and space. Two of her favorite MALS courses came from the Spanish department: Argentine Literature and Society, taught by Diego Alonso, and Early Modern Spain, taught by Ariadna Garcia-Bryce.


“In the MALS program, I was able to cross academic borders in concert with others. I especially reveled in the opportunities to join in intense conversations with the fine professors and colleagues who come to Reed from a wide array of cultural backgrounds and life experiences. I enjoyed the mix of ages as well. We MALS students encouraged each other as we explored new intellectual territory.”