Ursinus welcomes back its former graduates with open arms, as seen in past homecoming and alumni events, and Quinn Gilman-Forlini ’15 is one of those returning students. But instead of coming back for a day or two, she is teaching for the 2018-2019 school year.
The classes Gilman-Forlini is teaching this year include Poetry Writing, Intro to Creative Writing, and Television and the Short Story Cycle. She is eager to dive into the course material because she “[loves] opening up the possibilities of what a poem could be, what a story could be, and watching my students’ work change throughout the semester.” Regarding Television and the Short Story Cycle, Gilman-Forlini said, “[it] combines my love for episodic narratives with another excuse to re-watch The Office, [and] nothing beats a good close-reading session!”
Gilman-Forlini is excited to be back at Ursinus and reflects on her time attending the college as a student: “[I] heard about Ursinus because I love JD Salinger and chose to come because there’s such a strong creative writing and English department.”
She also added that Ursinus “valued the arts” and was a “down-to-earth and welcoming community,” and being back makes her reflect on her time as an undergraduate. She commented, “I think it’s important to acknowledge how large—and difficult—that transition [of being a first-year student in a new school] can be, for all of us. In some ways it seems like I’m doing that all over again, but I feel much more prepared for it this time. I’m building a new relationship with the campus than the one I had as an undergraduate, and I feel very lucky that I’m in a place where I can gain that kind of perspective.”
Gilman-Forlini graduated from Ursinus before Dr. Kara McShane of the English Department met her. However, McShane says that “[Gilman-Forlini] has immediately become a really strong part of the community. She’s an example of who students can aspire to be.”
When she was a student, Gilman-Forlini was an English major with minors in Creative Writing and French. She was also involved with the theater program. In addition, she was a Writing Fellow and a Senior Fellow in the Admissions Office, and these two on-campus jobs prepared her for her work outside of college.
After graduating, Gilman-Forlini began working in Baltimore Country in the admissions office at a Montessori school. She said, “I assisted in recruitment, putting on events for prospective families, admission-related communication, and enrollment.” She then attended the University of Virginia for graduate school where she taught courses in creative writing while also working at the school’s Writing Center.
Besides teaching, Gilman-Forlini has been working on a poetry manuscript for the last two years. She calls it City of Imaginary Numbers. She describes it as “getting closer to the refinement stage.” She continued, “I’ve been starting to work on new poems—and I’m not sure where they’re going yet! I like working on multiple things at once that are in different stages of the drafting and revision process.”
Even though her time is now mostly dedicated to teaching, Gilman-Forlini feels “incredibly lucky to be at Ursinus” and advises her students and others to “say hi and hang out in Olin 322!”