Kimberly Bassler

"While thought exists, words are alive and literature becomes an escape, not from, but into living." - Cyril Connolly

My name is Kimberly Bassler and I love words. That's why I'm an English major here at Virginia Tech. Tech is the third college I've attended and English is the second major I've declared, but I finally feel as though I've found my home. As a child, reading was my first love. Writing quickly became my second. Though I searched for a more "practical" major at first, in returning to my roots I've realized no education compares to one so rich in critical reading, thinking, and analysis. I believe my solid education as an English major will greatly benefit me as I work toward my ultimate goal: a degree in law.


I hope this ePortfolio will help you to understand where I have been, where I aspire to be, and how I hope to get there. In addition, the portfolio will provide you with samples of my work as well as evidence of my growth as both a critical reader and writer. At the top of this page you will find links to:

• Digital Narrative - a brief video focused on how my favorite hobby has benefited me
• Academic Achievement - a selection of works demonstrating my fulfillment of the English major learning outcomes, along with reflections on each piece
• Showcase on Growth - a summary of the process I went through while revising a literary analysis, along with links to an annotated draft and the final piece
• Engagement - a description of my experience as a teaching assistant and a reflection on the opportunity
• Direction - an explanation of why I have selected the Literature, Language, and Culture pre-law option within my English major and why I plan to attend law school after I graduate
• Synthesis - an analysis of the way my undergraduate career has shaped me

If you would like to view my resume, please click here.

Kimberly A. Bassler
An internship in the legal or writing field during which I can provide assistance to your staff while gaining substantive knowledge and experience.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
B.A. in English, Pre-Law option
In-Major GPA: 3.91 | Overall GPA: 3.77
· Sigma Tau Delta – International English Honor Society
· Dean’s List
Virginia Western Community College
A.S. in Science, General Studies
Overall GPA: 3.9
2010 – 2012
2007 – 2009
Professional Writing
Critical Reading
Undergraduate Research/Independent Study
Morality and Justice
United States Government and Politics (Fall 2011)
Sociology of Law (Spring 2012)
Virginia Tech Undergraduate Research Conference
Selected to present a literary research paper on a panel
Leadership Team
Nominated and then selected for a course in which students conduct research, participate in conferences, revise portfolios for the English Department’s website, and review other students’ career portfolios
Spring 2011
Spring 2011
Virginia Western Community College
Biology Tutor
· Provided individual tutoring to students
· Helped students develop effective study skills
· Learned to successfully communicate ideas and concepts
 Virginia Western Community College
 Biology Teaching Assistant
· Assisted professor with both lab and lecture coursework
· Conducted review sessions to groups of students
2008 – 2009
Fall 2008

"Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely." - Karen Kaiser Clark


Change happens every day. As a student, I make the decision to grow each day. The changes I make to adapt to various classes or to improve papers are not growth until I have considered the changes, reflected upon them, and have thought critically about them to perform differently in the future. In looking back, we can truly learn what propelled us forward; we can realize what helps us and what hinders us. As an English major, I have found this to be especially true regarding writing.

I have chosen to showcase the changes between a first and a final draft of a literary analysis. For my Critical Reading course, we were required to craft a literary analysis on The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. My professor encouraged us to focus on how a particular pattern or character affects the story. I took an interest in many of the negative remarks made about women in the novel and decided to examine the roles of Wilde's female characters.

While writing my first draft, my introduction became a bit scattered and my thesis was not clear. It was more of an implied thesis that related back to much of what I'd begun to explain. In writing my final draft, I created a more cohesive thesis statement that could stand on its own. My thesis became stronger and thus guided the direction of my paper, letting readers understand where I was going while still creating a bit of mystery as to what the outcome would be.

Additionally, many of my main points could have used further development through using more evidence from the text along with providing deeper analysis. As I wrote my final draft, I went back through the text to gain more evidence so I could further my analysis of several of these characters. In doing so, my main points became stronger and I was better able to explain why the women in the novel came across the way they do. Such explanation makes for an easier yet stronger read. I was also able to find other connections between characters this way. In my final draft, I also strengthened my conclusion by delving deeper to examine Wilde's use of "static characters" as a literary device. Using this device helped me classify the characters I'd been discussing into a type and helped me make a better conclusion about what the characters ultimately do for the novel.

Annotated First Draft
Revised Final Draft

"Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn." - C.S. Lewis


My Semester as a

Teaching Assistant


As a Teaching Assistant for General Biology in the Fall of 2008 at Virginia Western Community College, I had the opportunity to gain professional, practical experience in the classroom. In addition to aiding the professor in both lectures and labs, I also coached students through lab experiments as well as conducted group review sessions prior to each test.

Though I was unsure what to expect, I was hoping to:

  • learn to effectively communicate ideas and concepts to students
  • interact with a variety of students
  • discover how I felt about teaching
  • gain confidence by speaking to groups of people
  • learn a little something myself!


One of my biggest obstacles with this experience was discovering ways to teach information to my peers. Communicating ideas proved to be much harder than simply memorizing the information. I knew the material well and it made sense to me, but how could I get fellow students to understand it, too? I was overwhelmed by how much time it took me to plan review sessions. I had to find visual aids, make comparisons, and integrate the information creatively. I not only had to know the material; I had to master it and find ways to present it.


Through the use of PowerPoint, I was able to create my own presentations to use for my review sessions. In this way, I could incorporate visual components, bullet points with pertinent information, and page numbers to corresponding parts of the textbook. The presentations made both teaching and learning more effective. Additionally, since the students were required to memorize the steps involved in certain experiments, I brought lab equipment into the classroom so they could better recall what steps they took in performing experiments. I also quickly discovered how much confidence is required to teach to a classroom full of students. Standing up there for the first time was rather unnerving, so I had to adjust quickly.

Skills Gained

Through this experience, I learned how to effectively organize and present information. This skill not only allowed me to become a better teacher, but also a better learner as a student myself. Additionally, I quickly discovered how to adapt to different learning styles. I had to gauge how various students understood information and then adjust my communication of the concepts to better suit them through the use of presentation slides. I also became familiar with speaking in front of groups, which had been a huge challenge for me beforehand – and actually still is! After having to do so as a teaching assistant, though, I feel much better prepared to deal with giving presentations in front of groups.


Being a teaching assistant for a semester really helped me gain some insight into teaching. At the time, I was a sophomore in college and I was still keeping several options open for potential careers. I had considered teaching off and on, but I really wasn’t sure if this career was for me. Despite enjoying the opportunity and feeling as though I was able to help a lot of students, ultimately this experience made me realize I did not want to be a teacher. There was nothing wrong with the experience; I just didn’t have the passion for it that I think all great teachers have. I knew I needed to look elsewhere to find what I truly wanted out of a career.

"Success isn't a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself
  on fire.
" - Arnold H. Glasow


While my love of reading and writing led me to become an English major, it was my interest in sociology, philosophy, psychology, and law that led me to pursue the LLC pre-law option in preparation to attend law school. I can’t claim to have relatives who were lawyers or even to have known this would be my path at an early age. Rather, my interests and talents led me to realize how beneficial and fulfilling a career in law would be. I like to view issues from many different perspectives, and I have been told many times that I “over think” issues. Most of the time this quality isn’t very productive, but when studying law and working in the legal field it is quite an asset.
Immediately after graduation, I would like to secure an internship over the summer to gain more professional experience. Though I am greatly interested in studying environmental law, I would also like to explore other fields of law. Gaining practical experience in a few different areas would help me open myself to different paths within the legal field. The fall following graduation, I plan to attend law school in Virginia, Washington D.C., or Florida.



-noun, plural -ses

  1. the combining of the constituent elements of separate material or abstract entities into a single or unified entity.
  2. in philosophy, the combination of parts, or elements, in order to form a more complete view or system. The coherent whole that results is considered to show the truth more completely than would a mere collection of parts.

When I was a freshman in college, I had a variety of interests. Each interest gained me knowledge or experience in a different field. As a freshman, my interest in biology led me to jump at the opportunity to go on an environmental studies trip to the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. As a sophomore, I worked as a biology tutor and accepted an offer to become a biology teaching assistant. My involvement in the biology department also afforded me the opportunity to complete related service work. I volunteered to aid one of the professors in organizing and holding educational seminars for young Girl Scouts at a local creek to teach them about ecosystems and the environment.

Though my love of biological and environmental sciences remains, ultimately I knew I had to be an English major. I missed writing, literature, and critical reading and analysis. In addition, my trip to Costa Rica changed me in a way I had not expected. I had always wanted to go to law school, but the uncertainty over what area of law I'd be interested in held me back. Traveling to a place like Costa Rica was the missing piece. By becoming more knowledgeable about the problems the Osa Peninsula faces regarding conservation and compliance, I became incredibly interested in advocacy. I knew how I wanted to help, and I knew how to do so: environmental law.

Changing my major to English also opened up a lot of opportunities for me that utilize my talents. After taking professional development courses such as The English Studies ePortfolio and Professional Writing, I've spent summers interning as a professional writer at The Arts Council of the Blue Ridge and helping friends perfect resumes and cover letters. After my ePortfolio class ended, I was nominated for a follow-up course centered on research and leadership. As a part of this class, I refined my portfolio, prepared papers for submission to conferences, evaluated other student portfolios, and worked on a group project to create video tutorials for future students to use while creating portfolios.

For a long time, I saw my undergraduate career as a group of discordant experiences from different fields that couldn't be interconnected. After reflecting back, however, everything seems connected; every experience seems important. Each activity I invested myself in helped me grow, showed initiative, and built confidence. When I look back, I can't focus on any one element that led me to where I am today. Rather, my involvement in a multitude of activities reveals the truth: I've worked hard, seized opportunities, and figured out where I want to be.

Learning Outcomes for all English Majors

  1. Not Yet Posted: Multicultural Context
    • Ability to read critically and compose an effective analysis of a literary text (hide/show)
      • View a critical analysis from English 2604: Introduction to Critical Reading. Submissions must come from English courses at the 1000-2000 level.
      • View my reflection on this project. (hide/show)
    • Not Yet Posted: Effective Research

      Learning Outcomes Specific to the Literature, Language, and Culture Option

      1. Not Yet Posted: LLC Analysis of Literature and Culture
        • Not Yet Posted: LLC Knowledge and Understanding of Contexts
          • Not Yet Posted: LLC Research and Engagement of Critical Discourses

            My Featured Project(s)

            1. Not Yet Posted: Featured Project(s) Selected by Author

              "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." - Maya Angelou

              Creative writing has been a part of my life since I first learned how to put words on paper. It's something I still make time for even amid countless exams and papers because the world just doesn't feel right to me unless I am writing.

              The digital narrative below will introduce you to how I started writing and why I can't stop.