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Lone Star College-Montgomery instructor included in “Best American Essays 2017”


"Best American Essays 2017"
Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. An essay by Lone Star College-Montgomery instructor, Sheila Stuewe titled, “Star Struck (1982),” was listed as a notable essay in “Best America Essays 2017.”
Sheila Stuewe studies at the Atlantic Center for the Arts
(Far Left: Mitchell S. Jackson and far right: Sheila Stuewe) Lone Star College-Montgomery instructor, Sheila Stuewe, worked with author Mitchell S. Jackson during a prestigious summer residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts.

Lone Star College-Montgomery instructor Sheila Stuewe and her essay entitled “Star Struck (1982),” ranks among the best, according to “Best American Essays.” The anthology selected her work as a notable essay for the 2017 edition.

“My essay details how I was assaulted in a fraternity house in college,” said Stuewe. “It was a life-changing event. After it, I left school and began working at an international bank. There I was encouraged to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and build a career in finance. Now, I finally found my way back to my first love-teaching and writing.”

There is no application process to be selected for the “Best American Essays 2017.”

“The editors scour magazines, journals and websites to come up with selections, which makes it really cool to be included,” said Stuewe. “It is an honor to be listed even as a notable in the back.”

Stuewe describes herself as an innovative educator and finance executive. She built a career in education after helping take AutoZone and Republic Services public and she served as a vice president of AutoNation. She was a woman working in a man’s world and now she is turning those experiences into a memoir while teaching students at LSC-Montgomery.

“Early in my career, I was swimming against the stream because I was in the male-dominated auto industry,” said Stuewe. “I have accumulated some interesting stories about how men influence women’s lives and that is what I am writing a book about.”

In order to have uninterrupted, dedicated time to write, Stuewe did what many other authors do: she applied for a summer residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. There, she worked with Mitchell S. Jackson, author of “The Residue Years.”

“I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Jackson,” said Stuewe. “He is an expert on making prose sing. From him, I learned a lot about making my words pop off the page.”

The residency was a win-win for Stuewe’s students.

“It was a wonderful summer of learning about writing,” said Stuewe. “Although I earned an Master of Fine Arts in creative writing, I have so much more to learn. It was refreshing working with an author as accomplished as Jackson and trying to glean everything I could. The lessons I learned are something I am passing on to my three sections of English 1302 this fall. I have amazing students and after this summer I am trying to get them to understand better how you pick words. Word choice makes a huge difference.”

After her summer residency, Stuewe has nearly 200 pages of her memoir written. It is tentatively titled “Residual Value,” a finance term that refers to calculations used by companies to estimate what an asset is worth in 10-20 years.

“In my book, I am examining my residual value after 30 years in the business world,” said Stuewe. “I am asking the important question many people ask themselves, ‘what am I worth?’”

Lone Star College offers high-quality, low-cost academic transfer and career training education to 95,000 students each semester. LSC is training tomorrow’s workforce today and redefining the community college experience to support student success. Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., serves as chancellor of LSC, the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area with an annual economic impact of $3.1 billion. LSC consists of six colleges, eight centers, two university centers, Lone Star Corporate College and LSC-Online. To learn more, visit LoneStar.edu.