Mary Watson, B.A. English 2009, M.A., 2010
As a senior at UD, Mary was torn between her passions for lyric poetry and for rhetoric
and her lifelong dream of becoming a lawyer. While the study of the art of persuasion
truly fascinated her, Mary was inescapably drawn to its practice. Just two weeks after
completing her master's thesis on rhetoric in Shakespeare's Sonnets, Mary began law
school at George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia. Mary graduated
from GMUSL in May 2013, and she now works as a law clerk for Justice Jeannette Theriot
Knoll on the Louisiana Supreme Court-the highest civil law court in the United States.
"It really did not take long for me to realize what an invaluable education I received
at UD. I was using the skills I learned as an English major almost as soon as I started
law school. UD's English program is unique in the country, perhaps the world, in that
our English majors spend so much time with poetry, both lyric and epic. The technical
training in lyric analysis that I first received in Junior Poet and further honed
in later classes provided me with the best preparation for my future career. The myriad
papers I wrote on lyric poetry habituated in me the ability to focus on the small
details and to use those details to develop a persuasive big picture reading of a
text. That is a skill I use every day when I'm reading and interpreting case law."
Mary's love affair with the great works she first experienced at UD did not end with
her decision to practice law. Since leaving UD, Mary delivered a conference paper
at the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) 2011 Annual General Meeting, and
JASNA published that paper in its journal, Persuasions On-line, on Jane Austen's two hundred thirty-sixth birthday.
Mary lives in New Orleans, Louisiana.