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Department of English
University of Mississippi

English Student Ambassadors

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Tharangi Fernando

Tharangi FernandoTharangi Fernando, Student Ambassador for the Department of Classics

Tharangi is a whirlwind on UM campus, and is involved with many groups, including Rebel Writers, Hip Hop Rebels, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and Girl Up, and the UM Soccer Club, among others. Her creativity and energy inspire students and professors alike.


What made you decide to study English?
I decided that I wanted to be an English major in the sixth grade. I have always had a love for books and writing, and it seemed like the one thing that would make me happy for the rest of my life.

Why did you decide to study English at UM?
We have an atmosphere that encourages creativity. I am constantly inspired by the people and the environment. The UM English department has teacher who are working professionaly in their fields, creating books, movies, plays and poetry.

What do you plan on doing after graduation?
I’m going to go to grad school to get an MFA in creative writing. I’d like to teach at a university and write books.

Have you done any study abroad or other activities beyond the classroom?
I studied in England and Scotland for a week during spring break last year. The trip was part of a semester-long course on fantasy fiction. We visited the castle that was Hogwart’s in the Harry Potter movies.

Do you do any community service work?
I love animals, so I’ve volunteered at the local humane society. I’ve also volunteered for several years at a camp for mentally and physically disabled kids and adults, Camp Sunshine. I’ve also been a tutor at a local elementary school.

Annabelle Harris

Annabelle HarrisAnnabelle Harris

Annabelle Harris –a classics and English double major -is a writer of young-adult fiction, a motivational speaker, and a journalist. Her novel, Ode to Rebellion, was on the state bestsellers list of her native Oklahoma. She has given inspirational talks at high schools about the craft of writing and the importance of “following your dreams.” On campus she writes for the Daily Mississippian, the award-winning student newspaper and is vice president of Cover-to-Cover.


Why did you decide to major in English?
I decided to major in English because of my love of writing. I know that there is still so much to learn about creative writing, and majoring in English: Creative Writing is the stepping-stone to becoming a better writer.

Why is the UM English department a special place?  What do you love about it?
UM English department is a very special place because of the literary ties that exists here at Ole Miss. There is also such an amazing fostering of ideas here, and inspiration everywhere. I especially love how the UM English department helps students nurture their ideas because there is a story in everything; it is just waiting to be told.

Are you doing any activities related to your English major?
My main focus the next few semesters is to take the many creative writing courses that are offered here at UM. I hope, with the help of these courses, to finish my next novel in my Ode to Rebellion series.

Is there a moment that you felt empowered as an English major?
Just this semester I took a creative writing course that was very poetry centered, I have never been fond of writing poetry because it did not come as easily as prose. However, in this class, I was able to explore poetry as a writer and not a reader, as there is a huge difference. I ended up writing several poems of which I am particularly proud. Now, I am not afraid of poetry.

Is there an experience you can share about a professor being particularly supportive or mentoring you?
My new exploration of poetry is thanks to Professor Hobbs, who taught the Intro to Creative Writing class I took. I would never have been able to write poems I was proud of without her help. She offered amazing critiques to my classmates and me. This allowed us to workshop our writing then edit and make it even better than before.

 What do you enjoy doing outside of academic pursuits at UM?
Other than my academic pursuits, I love to write. I also love crafting (scrapbooking and painting). I like to listen to music, binge Netflix, and read!

What is your go-to meal in Oxford?
My go-to meal is cheese quesadillas and a chocolate milkshake or coke float at Cook Out.

What are you binge watching?
The Mandalorian! I have to be ready for the next season!

Kellie Smith

Kellie Smith

Kellie Smith is a Mississippi Gulf Coast native with a passion for the written word. She has been an ace journalist for the College of Liberal Arts, creating articles about professors and students for the UM website. Kellie is aiming for a career in book publishing, an ambition supported by a publishing emphasis offered within the Department of English.


Why did you decide to major in English?
I dreamed of being a book editor one day, and I was aware of the rich literary community within our department. It seemed like the perfect fit for me to accomplish that dream.

Why is the UM English department a special place?
Each English professor I have ever had has been invested in my success. They have been so willing to help me succeed in their class as well as in any endeavors outside of their classroom. I also found a supportive community among my fellow English majors.

Are you doing any activities related to your English major?
I am currently serving as the president of Cover-to-Cover, which is an organization that works closely with the English department to encourage lovers of English to get to know one another and become involved in the literary community whether on or off campus.

Is there a moment that you felt empowered as an English major?
English classes are small enough that all of my professors know my name and work. I always feel comfortable asking for their help and speaking up in class. It feels empowering to know that I am not just a nameless face in this department.

Is there an experience you can share about a professor being particularly supportive or mentoring you?
The whole reason I joined the English department in the first place was because of Dr. Pfrenger as he helped me see that English classes could not only be informative but fun. His classes were so enriching and entertaining. He was always willing to stay after class to answer any questions and email back and forth to sort out any ideas I had for papers.

What do you enjoy doing outside of academic pursuits at UM?
I really enjoy taking the time to set up a small picnic at Lamar Park, where I can socialize with friends or crochet or simply enjoy being outside.

What is your go-to meal in Oxford?
Guacamole from El Agave!

What are you binge watching?
I am currently watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the first time!