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Christine Grimes-Topping

The Style and Grammar of Dr. Christine Grimes-Topping

With just a twist of fate, Jefferson’s assistant professor of English, Dr. Christine Grimes-Topping could have easily been astronaut Christine Grimes-Topping. Growing up in Texas and living next to NASA, Christine had dreams of space travel as a child, and it wasn’t until much later in her life that she recognized her true passion lay with her feet firmly planted in a classroom.

Christine earned her bachelor in arts degree in business and English from Regis University in 2000 and thereafter was hired as a manager at Target. Realizing business was not her passion, she decided to pursue her master’s degree and attended Florida State University. “I really wanted to pursue writing, but wasn’t clear on what I could do with it,” she said. “I was offered a graduate assistantship at Florida State and taught introductory composition while earning my master’s degree, and I just fell in love with teaching. It afforded me the opportunity to help students find their voices with their writing and to help them with skills they will carry through their life.”  

Christine earned her master in arts degree in English in 2003 and decided to return to Texas to pursue her master’s in fine arts (MFA) degree at Texas State University where she was able to hone both her writing and her teaching. “I am so thankful for my experience at Texas State where I was able to dive into my writing and teach both writing and literature courses where I felt I made a difference in my students’ lives,” she said.  Christine graduated with her MFA degree in 2006 and was hired at Jefferson in 2007 as a full-time English instructor. Christine has garnered a reputation for being approachable and open with all her students, and works hard to create an inviting environment for her students to come and seek help – an environment that’s often filled with candy! “I want to be a teacher who helps to make my students become autonomous, makes them think and question. Some of my favorite professors were the ones that drove me crazy but really pushed and stretched me, I want to be that person for all my students,” she said. “There is nothing more rewarding for me than to see one of my students understand their potential and rise up to meet it; and if I can help with that, there is no greater feeling.”  

Christine’s passion for writing extends beyond the classroom; she is currently co-chair of the annual North Country Writers Festival (NCWF). “I wanted to be a part of the NCWF from the beginning, it’s such a great way to highlight writers at the College and for them to have access to visiting writers; it is such a wonderful opportunity,” she said.  Christine is always looking for more ways to help students and has recently become the College’s honors coordinator. “I am always drawn to ways to enrich academic experiences through creative means, and the honors program is a great way to do just that,” she said.  “It is my opportunity to add to the enrichment of learning outside the classroom, and I am looking forward to continuing that tradition while creating new and exciting adventures in learning.”

In between her teaching and academic commitments, Dr. Christine Grimes-Topping has also found the time to earn her Ph.D. from Binghamton University and continues to write and read as much as she possibly can; helping to keep her dream alive and well.

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