Alexandra L. Milsom, M.S. Ed., M.A., Ph.D.

Being a tourist at William Blake’s birth site (now a curry restaurant).

I am an Assistant Professor of English at Hostos Community College, CUNY. I specialize in Romanticism, Victorian Literature, and tourism.

The Highly Chronological Autobiography That You Neither Want Nor Need:

I was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, moved to New York City when I was two, spent most of my childhood in Cleveland, and returned to New York City at 16. After spending my last two years of high school at the Cleveland Institute of Music as a pianist in its Young Artists Program, I attended Yale College where I majored in English, joined the Yale Guild of Carillonneurs, led Freshman Outdoor Orientation Trips, biked cross-country twice as part of the Habitat Bicycle Challenge, and stopped playing piano for 5 hours a day.

My professional career began very nobly with  a six-month stint as a barista in an Upper East Side Starbucks, which I liked because it was around the corner from my grandfather’s old church. After an ill-fated turn as an assistant to an assistant of a high-end lingerie designer (I called it “being the square root of an assistant”), I decided to become an English teacher after all.  I spent 3 years teaching high school English at Harry S. Truman High School in the Bronx as part of the New York City Teaching Fellows program. I received an M.S. in Adolescent English Education at Fordham along the way and then trained in facilitating a peer-mediation and conflict resolution program at Truman. In 2006, I was named one of NYC’s “Educators of the Year” in Education Update Magazine.

I left the Bronx to spend a year chopping vegetables and learning how to curse in French at a Buddhist retreat center in Limousin.  In 2008, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my Ph.D. in English at UCLA, focusing on Romantic and Victorian literature, tourism, and musicology. I worked as a Teaching Fellow for UCLA’s English Department and Writing Program, and I held a two-year fellowship as an Instructional Technology Consultant at UCLA’s Center for Digital Humanities. At the CDH, I developed websites for the university, taught professors how to use educational technology in the classrooms, and helped Robocop scan images for his dissertation project.

I love dogs, so during my years in Los Angeles, I chaired the community education program for Karma Rescue, a non-profit in West Los Angeles. For seven years, I visited local schools, juvenile detention facilities, and high-security prisons leading discussions about dog-fighting, adoption, and the importance of spaying and neutering pets. Here’s a video about one of my rescue adventures. Here’s a video about the prison program that I worked with.

After completing my Ph.D. and after spending another year back in the high school classroom in the Bronx, I became an Assistant Professor of English at Hostos Community College, a CUNY campus located in the South Bronx. I love this school. I am the faculty advisor to the Hostos English Club.

I reside in Yorkville with my partner and our daughter. I enjoy gardening (but I’m bad at it), reading historical fiction, making fun of “literary fiction,” and watching real housewives on television. I’m working on a book about tourism and Catholicism, but I’d also like to finish my fantasy YA novel that takes place during the end of the world and features a heroine who lives in the trees.

People always ask, so I’ll say right here that my favorite books are Middlemarch and Howard’s End. I love them so much that I can’t read them any more.