Emma Draper-Reich

Thinking Differently

Future neurosurgeon turned writing professor.

Growing up, Emma Draper-Reich wanted to be a scientist. She attended Columbia University and majored in neuroscience. But Emma couldn’t shake the feeling that she was meant to do something else. She decided to add another major; creative writing.

“After I graduated I found myself in a situation where I could have pursued my PhD to become a neuroscientist, or I could have been honest with myself about how much I loved writing,” said Emma. “So I chose to be honest with myself.”

After Emma accepted writing as her true passion, she enrolled in the fiction writing master’s program at NYU (New York University). During that time, she worked at a writing camp for high school students and fell in love with teaching.

“What’s unique about being a writing teacher is getting to see how people think, and that’s really my favorite part,” said Emma. “Everyone writes differently because everyone thinks differently.”

Emma served as an adjunct professor in NYC for 10 years before making the move to Corning – which has been a positive, yet life-changing experience for the Baltimore, Md., native. She joined SUNY Corning Community College as a writing instructor in the fall of 2017.

“This is the first time in my life I’ve been part of a small community, and I’m realizing that small is good,” said Emma. “I’m able to work closely with my students and colleagues, which is so important. Everyone is really united here.”

from teaching children’s literature and fiction writing, Emma’s favorite part about SUNY CCC is the diversity of its students.

“All of the students here have such different backgrounds and stories, and that’s incredibly enriching for me personally,” she said. “I have the privilege of getting to know them through their writing, where many students will take the opportunity to share personal stories. I get to learn from them every day.”

Emma is looking forward to teaching a new class next semester, Writing for Media, which will be geared towards students interested in journalism, marketing, and public relations. She is also eager to get to know the area better and to take advantage of outdoor activities.

“I’ve always lived in a large city and it’s definitely a different way of life here, but I’m really enjoying it,” said Emma. “It’s a good thing. Moving here has made my world bigger.”