Cassandra primarily teaches in the First-year Writing program (FYWP) and between 2014 and 2019 taught community-based learning (CBL) courses both in a prison and a drug addiction/psychiatric rehabilitation center. Since 2017, she has also facilitated a course called The Prison Reading Project in the Pennoni Honors College (with the support of Dr. Paula Cohen). The course’s overriding objectives are to bring to the classroom formerly incarcerated individuals and other experts in the field of criminal justice, all of them speaking to students to foster their awareness of the state of mass incarceration. Prior to Covid-19 lockdowns that shut down prison education programming, the Honors students corresponded with incarcerated learners to discuss literature, while they learned about trends toward and away from criminal justice reform.
When teaching any course, whether in the FYWP sequence, Honors College course, MFA program, CBL setting, or other creative writing courses in the Drexel classroom, Cassandra encourages her students to find and use their voice in conversation and on the page. Whatever the genre, she focuses her teaching on guiding students to use integrity when their voices and experts’ voices combine in research-based writing. These objectives have guided her teaching since she began at Drexel University in 2008.
Prior to teaching in Drexel’s writing programs, Cassandra was a freelance writer of human-interest stories for regional periodicals and wrote travel pieces for a Canadian travel magazine. She spent years writing an historical novel, Under the Linden Tree, which was published by a small Canadian indie press in 2012.