Eileen Pollack

Professor

University of Michigan - Helen Zell MFA Program

Find me online:

“I teach English/creative writing at the University of Michigan and I write about women in science.”

MY ROUTE:

The Curved Road

MY WORK LIFE:

Professor

foundation interest 1 interest 2

My work allows me to combine the foundation of BEING CREATIVE and the interests of WRITING and EDUCATION.


DAY IN AND DAY OUT

I get up early, eat breakfast, check my email, and read the New York Times. Then I get to my desk and spend the morning working on my own material, whether it's a novel, short story, or piece of creative fiction. In the afternoon, I switch my brain over to my students: I go to campus, teach a class or two, and hold office hours. On a good day, I don't have too many administrative tasks or meetings and I can spend most of my time working with interesting, enthusiastic young writers.

SKILLS, TRAINING, OR EXPERIENCE NEEDED

I've gained most of what I know through reading—not necessarily assigned reading—and being around wonderful teachers who taught me how to think and what might be important to think about. My training was as a scientist—my undergrad degree is in physics—and then I worked as a reporter; both of those experiences taught me that if you have a question, you have to honor it. Never feel stupid for asking a question; life is about figuring out what you don't know and what you're really curious about.

EDUCATION TO GET HERE:

Professor

I RECOMMEND COMPLETING:

  • High School
  • Undergraduate -
  • Graduate -
  • Doctorate -

What I studied STRONGLY RELATES to my work...

MY EDUCATION

  • High School - Liberty Central High School
  • Undergraduate - Yale University, Physics, General
  • Graduate - University of Iowa, Creative Writing

SOME HELPFUL FIRST STEPS FOR SOMEONE IN COLLEGE

If you want to be a writer, it's not always the best idea to get an undergraduate degree in writing or English; of course you should take some creative writing classes, but you should also immerse yourself in something like history or science. That way, you will know something about the world, and you can come to your writing career with a unique perspective. For example, I'm able to write fiction and non-fiction about scientists because I'm very familiar with that realm.

HURDLES I OVERCAME

THE “NOISE” FROM PEOPLE

“How could a girl succeed in physics?”

HOW I OVERCAME THE “NOISE”

Even when I did well in my physics classes, I rarely got any encouragement from my professors; no one ever told me I could succeed in physics, so I pursued writing instead. To this day, there are still very few images of women physicists in the media, and the depictions we do see perpetuate this idea that science isn't "cool," or women won't get dates if they go into STEM. This is the focus of my book "The Only Woman in the Room," because this sort of discouragement is still so pervasive.

Send us your feedback

(all fields are required)

Give Feedback!
Submit feedback button