Alumni Spotlight: Annie Falor Watson, MSU Class of 2008

Annie Watson 2021

Alumni Spotlight: Annie Falor Watson, MSU Class of 2008

By Annie Falor Watson

 

     “In August of 2004, I arrived at Mississippi State University in my yellow Ford Ranger. I was 18 years old and 1532 miles from home,” said Annie Watson.

 

     The Flagstaff, Arizona, native came to MSU to run on the cross-country, indoor track and outdoor track teams.

 

     “I always felt welcome, and I came to the South to learn things that I couldn’t have learned anywhere else,” Watson said.

 

     “I spent most of my days running and reading. My intertwined athletic and academic aspirations filled my days. On humid fall mornings, we ran at 5:00 a.m. After practice, I took Honors English Composition at 8:00 a.m. with Dr. Holly Johnson. There were only eight students, and I knew without a doubt, that my heart belonged in Lee Hall.”

 

     As a D1 athlete, Watson said she wanted to “run fast.” As an English major, she wanted to write something “that mattered.”

 

     Watson said her favorite study spot was any table by a window in State Fountain Bakery where she would buy two cookies for 50-cents.

 

     “In the sunshine of that café, I highlighted and annotated Shakespeare, Dickens, Milton, Chaucer, Whitman, Dickinson, Hurston, and Faulkner. Shout-outs to Dr. Anderson, Dr. Claggett, Dr. Dodds, Dr. Johnson, Dr. Raymond, and Dr. Polk: You taught me how to craft an original thesis, how to infuse my own writing with a snippet of a quote, and how to close read a text with a feminist lens. Your homework gave me something to think about on 10-mile tempo runs at Noxubee Wildlife Refuge and long bus rides through Arkansas. Most importantly, you taught me to analyze the world. You welcomed my analysis, gave specific feedback, and showed, constantly, how much you cared. You offered me a space for criticality—a space where my identities and my family were welcome. You helped me find community and voice, and I am forever grateful for the difference you made in my life.”

 

     In 2019, Watson authored her first children’s picture book, “Is 2 a Lot?” which was named a Mathical Honor Book for its exploration of number sense and comparative quantity. Note the bulldog on page 10!

 

     In 2021, Watson authored her second picture book, “My Monster Moofy,”—which features figurative language or a poetic device on each page—that received a Kirkus Starred Review.

 

     After graduating from MSU in 2008, Watson returned home to pursue a master’s degree in English and secondary education. She taught high school English in public schools for nearly a decade. Watson then worked for the College of Education at Northern Arizona University teaching future educators. She currently is pursuing a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Northern Arizona University with plans to graduate in 2023.

 

     “The theoretical framework that I bring to educational research—one of critical pedagogy, cultural responsiveness and social justice—is largely inspired by the foundational work that was cultivated in English classrooms at MSU,” Watson said.

 

     “As an MSU alum, I felt prepared for every academic and professional opportunity. My future likely is filled with some mix of writing, teaching, research, publishing and running. I always knew that it would be. I aspire to be impactful and authentic in all that I do, just like the mentors and friends that I found in Lee Hall. Hail State!”


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