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Eastern Welcomes a New English Professor: Adjunct, Professor Sunshine, discusses the importance of relevance in papers, essays and Christian conversations

      Originally hailing from Long Island, New York, Professor Sophia Sunshine Vilceus, Professor Sunshine for short, has made her way to Eastern as an English professor for Fundamentals of Writing as well as College Writing.

      Sunshine also teaches similar introductory English courses to eager students at West Chester University. This affiliation with West Chester allowed her to first learn about Eastern.

      “I didn’t even know Eastern was a Christian college,” Sunshine said when she first applied to teach at Eastern.

      Within her first semester at Eastern, Sunshine has made it her duty to implement current events into her essay prompts for students. 

      “If we aren’t talking about relevant things, what are we doing?” Sunshine expressed this after explaining how she will stay up late at night in order to revamp essay prompts and topics to be the most current to the country’s climate.

      She sacrifices her time after seeing the perspectives of her students shifting. She loves watching students engulf themselves in topics that may be uncomfortable for them to discuss but are important to hold conversations about. These topics include the recent attempted bombings of notable Democrats and the hearings of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford among others.

      As a Christian woman, Sunshine also expressed the importance in discussing how we as a community should be aware of certain public tensions in order to protect the marginalized, similarly to Jesus and his actions. Even though Sunshine also teaches at secular institutions, she is extremely blessed that she can openly incorporate her faith into the topics she discusses in class. She enjoys the ways that she and her students are able to integrate faith into real life topics.

      Before teaching at Eastern, Sunshine attended Cuny City College of New York as well as Howard University. In New York, she got a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Ethnic Studies, and in Washington DC for her graduate degree, Sunshine studied Media Studies and African Studies.

      Apart from teaching, Sunshine likes to read memoirs, write for a Christian website and spend time with her dog, Bizoux (French for “kisses”) who is a Maltese-Shitzu mix. Sunshine confessed that the last powerful book she read was The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton. In this memoir, Hinton discusses how he was arrested in 1985 and was sent to death row for a crime he did not commit. In addition to memoirs, Sunshine is also a sucker for a good poetry collection, especially if written by Maya Angelou. If not reading, Sunshine puts her mind to writing, often creative nonfiction. Sunshine is a freelance writer for the Christian lifestyle website called The Praying Woman. In addition to this, Sunshine expressed the importance of writing.

      “I began writing as a maneuver to talk about my grief,” Sunshine said. She lost her mom as a teenager. After this, she took her middle name of Sunshine as her identity to be closer to her mom and to honor her. Due to this, she knows that teaching was not a mistake for her.

      “It is not random… the writer and educator part of me has merged,” Sunshine said.

      Sunshine also expressed the importance of students, especially those struggling with grief, having writing as an outlet. Being able to put your story into words is something that Sunshine herself has found especially healing, and she hopes that students can find healing in this as well.

      Eastern’s community is extremely blessed to have Sunshine on our campus. Her passion for relevance has the power to elevate Eastern to an even more 21 century community.

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