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Dec. 12, 2019

Love for words leads alumna to teaching at Stanford

By Grace Niemeyer, communication assistant


A love for words led Northwest Missouri State University alumna Robyn Brinks Lockwood to pursue her passion for writing and publishing and eventually to teaching at Stanford University in Stanford, California.

Lockwood graduated from Northwest with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1991 and a master’s degree in English in 1993.

“I wanted to be able to teach and I just love words,” Lockwood said. “Writing them and reading them and the combination of English and journalism let me broaden the different types or writing and reading I could do. Northwest had become a home for me that let me broaden my horizons.”

After graduating from Northwest, Lockwood worked for publishers McGraw-Hill and Elsevier in St. Louis, Missouri, before moving to California to become a lecturer at Stanford.

Lockwood is the American Language and Culture undergraduate summer program coordinator at Stanford and teaches courses in English listening, speaking and writing for international graduate students.

“English as a foreign language in graduate school is a much different concept of what people typically think of ESL (English as a second language),” Lockwood said. “My students speak beautifully and are very advanced learners of English. What I teach is this very fine-tuned, high level of English — helping students get published and prepare to defend dissertations.”

In addition to teaching ESL students, Lockwood writes textbooks and researches teaching methodology, specifically flipped learning in the field of humanities.

“Flipped learning is this fantastic concept,” Lockwood said. “The very short answer is you flip homework for classwork and classwork for homework. The things that used to be homework are now done in class and what used to be done in class becomes the homework.”

Her experience at Northwest, from living in Hudson Hall to hashing out papers with former English faculty members Dr. Virgil Albertini and Dr. David Slater, produced fond memories for Lockwood. The mentorship of Slater and Albertini inspired two chapters in one of her textbooks.

“I did a whole chapter in one of my textbooks on Willa Cather for Dr. Albertini,” Lockwood said of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author whom Albertini has studied extensively. “He made me love her.”

Lockwood also was involved in Sigma Society, a Northwest service organization that remains active on the campus today.

“That really inspired me to stay in community service,” Lockwood said. “I work with a homeless shelter, helping to set up an ESL program. My husband and I have done some work with them, and I owe that to Sigma Society.”

Lockwood credits Northwest for the success she enjoys in her career.

“If you work hard, you can accomplish things,” she said. “I thank Northwest and I have these amazing parents who actually were both teachers, who were very supportive and encouraged me. My mentors at Northwest and my experience at Northwest made me believe that I should just work hard and you can achieve.”


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704