Nancy Herschap, instructor of English at Texas A&M International University, has a passion for reading, and for helping others discover the magic and wonder of literacy. (photo)
Her commitment has led her to being a University instructor and an elementary, middle school, and high school teacher, but has also led her to work with Literacy Volunteers of Laredo (LVL), where this summer she was elected president of the board, after service as a volunteer tutor and secretary of the board.
Not satisfied with reaching just the students in her TAMIU classes on great literature and freshman composition, she has chosen to help those who cannot read a job application, or a bedtime story to their children. She explained her passion for literacy and reading developed when she was quite young.
"From the very moment as a child, when I picked up my first book and opened it, I became truly involved in literacy. I read for the joy and the sheer pleasure of it, and I knew, even then, that reading is magical for it opens doors to different ideas and different worlds," Herschap said, "Some things remain unchanged. Literacy links us to life. My mother once asked me when I was very young what I wanted to do with my life, and I answered sincerely and without hesitation, 'Read. I want to read for a living.' I've been doing exactly that ...reading...and sharing ideas and thoughts with friends and students, teaching, and reading for the joy, the pleasure, and the knowledge that only reading brings. Literacy truly links us to life."
Herschap feels both Laredo and the University fully support the work she is trying to accomplish.
"Simply put, LVL is a volunteer organization that teaches people, at any and all levels, to read in English. As president of LVL, I see that the importance of literacy and the promotion of literacy are both recognized and implemented in Laredo and the surrounding areas," explained Herschap.
She said her work at TAMIU is improved by her involvement with LVL.
"Often students come to LVL, unsure and embarrassed of their inability to read. Sometimes life gets in the way and one has to make a living and put one's education on hold. I've found that the inability to read stems from the lack of opportunity, not the lack of intelligence. Students at LVL now have the opportunity to backtrack, to seize the moment, and learn to read and improve their skills," Herschap said, "Many students at TAMIU are the first in their families to attend college and enter the classroom with less than confident steps, also unsure of their reading and writing skills. I've learned various and effective methodologies as a volunteer for LVL and as a teacher and professor, but more importantly, I've learned empathy and admiration for those struggling and striving for literacy."
As a TAMIU professor, Herschap is committed to improving the lives of all community members, and feels she has found an effective and stimulating way to assist those seeking more.
For more information, please contact Herschap at 326.2657, visit offices in the Anthony J. and Georgia A. Pellegrino Hall, room 216E or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
University office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.