Scott Bartley '12


Scott Bartley Class of 2012

Hometown(s): Baltimore, Maryland-- currently, and I love city life, but I spent most of my life in Mt. Airy, Maryland, a small, rural, very rural, community. I’ve also lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and (though for only brief bits of time) in Huntington Beach, California and Houston, Texas.

Class Year: 2012

Major: English. I came to Amherst, admittedly, with little notion of my “right-fit” major-- Physics? Art History? Math? History?-- but, through the grace of the open curriculum and the guidance of some incredible professors, I have settled into exactly what I should be doing. I look forward to my homework everyday (wow, that sounds nerdy, whatever). You’ll hear me talk more about the English Department throughout my blog entries, considering I work and volunteer for it.

Current Course Schedule:

-Latin 02 Intermediate Latin. Professor Luca Grillo

-German 10 Advanced Composition and Conversation. Professor Heidi Gilpin

-English 42 Reading and Criticizing Novels. Professor William Pritchard

-English 98 Special Topics: The Canterbury Tales. Independent reading under guidance of Professor Ingrid Nelson

Fall 2010 Course Schedule:

 -English 95 The Lyric. Professors David Sofield and Richard Wilbur (US Poet Laureate)

 -English 38 Major English Writers I. Professor William Pritchard

 -English 33 Chaucer's Shorter Poems. Professor Ingrid Nelson

 -Latin 01 Introduction to Latin. Professor Luca Grillo.

 Extracurricular Activities:

 -Research Intern for Associate Professor of English Anston Bosman

The bonds that inherently develop between professors and students in the Amherst community have granted me an internship with one of my favorite professors. Job tasks? There are many, many too many: research, editing bibliographies, sending e-mails, tedious office tasks, event advertisement, organizing his mess of an office. But, it’s more than worth it.

 -Member of the English Department Steering Committee

The steering committee consists of about ten English majors who have volunteered to work toward improving the English-major community, through events and gatherings; the relationships between faculty and students; and the accessibility of the department to the greater Amherst community, town and college, through outreach programs and greater online presence. Yes, that’s a bit ambitious, but we’re passionate enough to do it. We meet about once a week and work between meetings on various projects. Currently, I’m planning an English Department mixer to take place during  pre-registration week this November.

 -German Department Peer Tutor for German 01

I help students on a need-basis in order that they will establish control of their academic performance in the class. Introduction language courses don’t get a fair reputation (“oh, it’s intro!”)-- they’re hard, really hard. I’m happy to have the chance to help my fellow students through the long slog of learning another language.

 -WAMH Amherst College Radio DJ

I’ve had a weekly radio show, Fresh Frootz, for the past two years, and it has been a real blast-- hanging out in the studio, relaxing to some new jams, getting to know other DJs, and spreading the gospel of independent music. The show mostly focuses on modern electronic music that has its roots in soul, funk, and disco. Tune in every Friday from 2 to 4 pm at


Have any questions? Feel free to e-mail me:


Scott's Blog Entries

a quick post on a class

Classes was the promised next post. But it seems I’m always posting about classes--aren’t I? I don’t mean to be boring. I just am. That, and there’s something to posting about classes at Amherst: we’re a college that provides an education, an education which consists of classes, and the classes here are exceptional in the world of collegiate educational classes. There’s fun social stuff too--I don’t think I’m allowed to get much into that here though...--but class can mean alot. An example of the exception that is Amherst:

Every week I attend a class on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The class takes place in the professor’s office. There are two students, including me. The class cannot be found in Amherst’s class catalog because it doesn’t formally exist. We two students arranged the class personally with a professor, and, with the professor’s cooperation and collaboration, designed our own syllabus.

Skip the university you’ve been looking at, because Mr. Famed Professor won’t be at his own class. Strung out grad-student will teach it, grade it, be the face of it, won’t be more than a face to it either, as you, among the couple hundred of other students, won’t get much of a chance to know the person.

Amherst allows you to create any class you can think of, as long as its not available as a class already, and as long as you have a professor’s support. And, that class will be taught by a real Ph.D. professor.

My three other classes this semester--all taught be real professors too, though to a bit of a larger crowd (though not much: my German and Latin classes both have about 5 students)--are ENGL 42 Reading and Criticizing Novels, GERM 10 Advanced Composition and Conversation, LATI 2 Intermediate Latin. So, yeah, that's in addition to ENGL 98 Reading the Canterbury Tales.

My next post won’t be about class.


5 Feb 2011

During the last week of interterm and the first week of classes (what a perfect time that is for additional stress), I, along with a handful of other equally egotistical English majors, participated in the department's professorial candidate search--because why shouldn’t the department take my opinion into account when making a decision that will affect the department for decades to come? I actually don’t much think they should. But, as the professors of the department urged student participation in the search and emphasized that student opinion does factor into the decision the department makes, I did participate.

So what though do we do then? Well, four candidates for the tenure track opening, four narrowed down the innumerable applied all otherwise already rejected, visited campus over the course of these two weeks. We students attended lunch with the each candidate on the day which he/she was on campus, and the candidates’ formal job talks. The lunches were casual and informal, and provided the perfect opportunity, for example, to engage one of the candidates, a Yale PhD, in a discussion that is really necessary to have, to take into consideration a potential professor’s potential--a conversation on Lindsay Lohan’s drug-addled past. And what it means for her future. What more does one need to take into account when hiring a professor? The job talks I suppose, but those were significantly more academically focused: the candidates each presented aspects of a current project. With lunches had and job talks delivered, candidates went on their way, and I typed up reflections on each candidate so that the department could review my all-important opinion. Who knows will be hired. All candidates deserve a job. But, I think the best thing about the whole thing is that, as a student, I got to witness and participate in a process significant to the college and the English department. It’s a small college thing. Or an Amherst thing really.

While all this was going on, there were a million or more class-related decisions to make or be forced into making. Classes and all, the start of the semester, will maybe then be the topic of my next post.

Snow and Otherwise

18 Jan 2011

Amherst is some two feet deep in snow, and getting more so--woke up today to see sleet, snow, and everything in between falling to the ground outside my window. Makes one want to stay in. But an addiction to coffee makes one need to get out, makes me need to at least. So I’ve trudged to town, Amherst Coffee, one of my favorite places. And that reminds me to write a bit about Amherst life in general, or mine, I can’t speak for every student. But, about what makes Amherst worth returning to, even in a few feet of snow:

A few feet of snow: If you’re from the sunny south, southwest, westcoast-south, or anywhere really that’s not New England, the winter weather here may seem a drawback, a big one, may make you want to go to Pomona. But don’t. The winter weather is a sort of under-promoted plus about Amherst; it’s surprising that Admissions doesn’t promote it more (they even find good words to say about the dining hall, somehow). Snow on a college campus means you don’t have to maintain anything, no shoveling. The close proximity of everywhere you need to be means you don’t have to drive--no ice-scraping, fishtailing. What you are left with then is the scenery, the snowcovered rolling mountains that can be seen from several spots, the pristine red brick buildings against the snow. And if that sounds too sedate, you’re left with a lot of options for fun too. Every year I look forward to sledding/ tray-ing down memorial hill (I’ve kept a Val tray, shattered from sledding, as a sort of trophy of stupidity), and the more adventurous take advantage of local cross country skiing, semi-local skiing, and the like. Or just stay in, because the snow looks good through a window, like what I see currently from Amherst Coffee.

Coffee: Another thing worth returning to, if you’re into coffee. The coffee shops in Amherst/ Northampton put Starbucks to shame. Every bean has been locally roasted and more recently than any bean you’d find in a grocery store; Esselon Cafe even roasts in-house. Every cup is prepared meticulously, with not a single drop burnt. And top-notch baristas abound. That all sounds pretty ridiculous, and it is, but it’s worth returning to, if you’re into coffee. If not, there is a Starbucks, which is where my friends can usually be found.

Friends: Yeah, high school friendships are great, which is great--I hope you have great high school friends. But college friendships develop more quickly and more deeply more quickly, because these are the people you live with, eat with, study with, party with--every day. In that way, the friends become familial rather than familiar. So you have a family at home, but you’ll have a family here too, and family is always worth returning too, a smart as hell family at that.

There’s a lot more to Amherst, of course, than snow, friends, and coffee--but I’m leaving it at that for now for fear that at this point in a boring entry I’ve lost any reader’s attention anyway. More another time maybe. 

But, a major reason why I’m here, sort of regardless of what’s worth returning to, is taking on significance shortly. The English Department Steering Committee attends the job talks and lunches of English professorial candidates. Four come to campus over the next week or so, and I’ll attend every event to get a sense of who the candidates are and what they’d do for the Department, should they find themselves as part of it. Of course, three won’t, but one will be hired, and, I’m told, the opinions of the Steering Committee affect that decision (small colleges do prioritize students and take them seriously).

Snowy Frost



Frost in the Snow (12 Jan 2011)

Cohan and Otherwise

7 January 2011

Happy New Year! And to those of you admitted to Amherst via Early Decision: Welcome to the greatest college in the world! I'm not joking. It's a damn good place. 

Break is about midway, and the past semester is slipping away slightly in the memory--its stress less now that it’s not part of the present. But, I want to take a minute to look back on the past semester, establish some background for the year, background left out by the blog that starts well into fall (they took a long time to review and hire us, took longer for them to make the blogs live). So, a little about my general Amherst, maybe where I live is a good topic for this post. Others will follow.

I live in Cohan dormitory (have you visited campus?), which is not one of the prettiest dorms on campus, inside or out--that honor probably could be claimed equally by any of the dorms on ‘the Triangle’--but it’s a great place to live, for non aesthetic reasons. Since Amherst doesn’t permit off-campus housing, not that there’s anywhere to live off campus anyway, the dorms in which upperclassmen tend to live, like Cohan, have more of an off-campus feel than the first-year dorms: Cohan is at the very edge of campus and consists largely of suites rather than single rooms. I live in a six-person suite with five friends, four seniors and another junior (my roommate since freshman year and, since day one, one of my closest friends). The suite consists of six single rooms, so no roommates in your space (a plus), our own hallway, two private bathrooms, and our own living room. It’s a great setup for social life: suitemates always hanging out in the living room, which is carpeted with pizza boxes at this point. Suite socializing usually starts our weekend nights, when somebody finally stops playing Xbox or Gamecube, music starts, drinks served. After that? There are parties around on campus. Not stellar. But around. The suite is also a great setup for academic life: some suitemate to accompany, always looking to get out of the suite to study. 

A few of my suitemates are already back on campus, back for a few days, hard at work (that’s the hope at least) on their senior theses. I drive back up at the beginning of next week to start working away for the English Department and to enjoy Interterm.


my dorm, Cohan:

a dorm, Mayo-Smith, on the The triangle:


21 Dec 2010

Amherst is going late this year: the last round of final exams is tomorrow. But, campus is emptying quickly as students hurry home whenever they’re finished their own exams, essays, and everything. Of course, what is most important: I’m finished. And how much work have I finished with---how many pages of writing, hours of studying? In order that I don’t scare off potential applicants and attendees, I won’t say. The point is that it can be done; it sounds more scary in numbers than it does in the process. 

I wish I had something exciting to share about the past week, but I don’t. So I’ll look to the future instead. Winter break is about four weeks this year, was longer my past two years. Included in the break is a mini-term, interterm. Attending interterm is, of course, entirely optional, and the courses offered during it are non-credit, none ‘courses’ in the sense of what’s offered during the semester. They’re often more practical (how to research a thesis, use excel, that sort of thing) or entirely impractical (I took a hip-hop class interterm 2009). I’ll be back for interterm, not to take any course, but to assist during the English Department’s search for a drama professor. Of course, whatever brings one back to campus in the middle of January, that whatever isn’t the whole reason to come back, not even the main reason. Campus without real classes is really fun: no stress, plenty of sledding, no study-hang-outs with friends, just hang-outs with friends. The best way to ease into another semester.

 But for now, back to Baltimore, where await a family I care about and a holiday I don’t.

Starting to End

14 Dec 2010

First snow of the year, Crossett Christmas TAP (The Amherst Party)--It’s beginning to look a lot like final exam period. Crossett Christmas TAP, which was this past weekend, is the last hurrah of the Amherst social calendar. It compresses any social time students could be spending during final exam period into a single night, because a night of insanity is probably good for overall sanity.

Classes end this week, tomorrow officially. I think the way in which a professor decides to end a class somehow says something about the semester as a whole. For example, for the course Chaucer’s Shorter Poems, the professor surprised us with pastries from the Black Sheep Bakery in town. Chaucer doesn’t have anything to do with pastries. And, I think this is how pastries relate to studying Chaucer: by the end of a semester reading lengthy works in Middle English (yeah, lengthy: “shorter poems” means well upwards of a thousand line when it comes to Chaucer), most students don’t want to have anything to do with Chaucer, or at least for a little while--I’ll be interested in taking another medieval literature course again by next year. For the course Major English Writers I, for any course Professor Pritchard teaches, Professor Pritchard devotes the last class period to a lecture, but rather than one literary specifically, it’s one literary generally: Pritchard pulls together what we’ve read, reflects on his life of reading, and exhorts students to keep reading, for the hell of it and love of it, rather than for the cultural-theoretical-analytical-performativical-visual-historical-whateverical reasons which currently guide the academic field of English. The introductions and conclusions of Professor Pritchard’s classes motivate me to keep studying English, and to keep taking his courses. 

But with classes ending, the reality of exam period sets in: 25 pages of writing, 2 exams, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.


5 Dec 2010

I realize that my last post is about Thanksgiving break. Really? That seems so distant, and yet I only arrived back on campus a week ago. Breaks from school fade quickly in the memory, because the reality of what must be getting done now--the papers, the readings, the whatever and everything--to be ready for what’s coming up--always exams, essays and everything to be prepared for--doesn’t leave much space in the mind for the memories of break. What is getting done now? School work that’s not worth getting into on a blog. But, as always, there’s a bunch of other stuff going on.

This past Thursday night, Richard Wilbur gave a poetry reading to a totally full, standing-room-only lecture hall. While Wilbur does co-teach one of my classes, the reading was not to be missed even by his students, or especially by his students--he doesn’t read his own poems in class (usually, though this Tuesday we will be discussing his poetry in class). And, a reading feels different than class: it’s not about anything obligatory. The reading was amazing, as he read poems serious and silly, always a performer in addition to a poet--controlling the audience with his humor and sharp wit. Look into his new book Anterooms to read some of what we heard at the event.

To change subject entirely, from the inspirational to the social, this weekend was GAP (the gay Amherst party), a twice-a-semester party, always one of the most attended, always one of the most lively, attended by students across the spectrum--gay, straight, and everything in between. While straight students attend the party in large numbers, the gay-ness of the party rests in the comfort with which a gay student can attend, can dance with somebody--something that should be more-than-ok at any party (and is at most Amherst parties), but something that is stressed when it comes to GAP. The dancefloor at a GAP looks like a conservative midwestern high school principal’s nightmare prom. It’s great, very Amherst. Next weekend will be TAP (the Amherst party), another regular party at Amherst, and the last of its kind before break.


27 Nov 2010

Campus empties quickly for Thanksgiving break, many Friday, more Saturday, and the few stragglers on Sunday. (Know though, no, campus doesn’t close over Thanksgiving break, and some students, international and otherwise, spend the break at Amherst.) I was asked to stick it out with the stragglers until Sunday by Professor Bosman, for whom I work, to organize his office with him over the weekend.

But what to do, then, when normal weekend plans don’t happen for lack of students? On Friday night, a friend and I went to Amherst Brewing Company for dinner and, of course, beer (yeah, we’re 21; everywhere in town cards). Even when Amherst, the college, is empty, the town is always happening: ABC was packed and lively--I do wonder where these people come from, our town seemingly so small but always busy. It made for a refreshing Friday night, a fun bar rather than dingy dorm, great fresh-brewed beer, greasy pub food. 

Saturday the office work started, and Sunday it continued, with progress made but much left to make (maybe that’ll be accomplished over interterm). While filing papers is never fun, the weekend was well worth it, and fun despite the filing: hours of office work provided time to talk with Professor Bosman about graduate school, becoming a professor, teaching, and everything else that’s becoming increasingly important to me to think about as life after Amherst looms...though still a year away--not that conversation was merely self-serving, what he’s done is incredibly interesting in its own right (from studying in Cape Town to California, to teaching in Massachusetts, and researching at the Folger Shakespeare Library in DC).

Back to Baltimore for break, where I had maybe not the typical American holiday--a dinner in the city with just my parents. And, I don’t eat turkey, vegetarian for a few years. But, it was nice (who likes those massive family gatherings anyway?), and I return to Amherst refreshed, at least a little, and I sure need to be: we’re entering the last two weeks of class, when finals papers have already been assigned, though not yet written...or planned...or considered...or anything. It’ll be busy.

A Lunch

A food-centric visit to the little town of Amherst surprises: sushi, Asian fusion, cheap pizza, Italian, New England regional--a lot of it organic, farm-to-table or some combination of these favorite foodie catch phrases. The French bistro Chez Albert, though, stands out among all the fare, with recipes straight from France and food straight from the local farms. Of course, we students rarely, almost never if even ever, eat at Chez Albert. But, this past Tuesday I got the chance to lunch at Chez Albert with two fellow students. 

But, all this talk of food is leaving out something far more important: we had been invited to lunch at Chez Albert by Professor David Sofield--to lunch with him and Richard Wilbur. So for all the fantastic food, I can’t say I was particularly impressed, didn’t notice it I admit. Richard Wilbur is twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award winner, and former US Poet Laureate (1987)...and Amherst alum class of 1942. Even with all his honors, a lunch with him, though maybe great for bragging rights, wouldn’t be that great if Wilbur weren’t a genuinely great guy--but he is. It wasn’t as if I were sitting at lunch with the country’s most celebrated living poet (I was), but as if I were sitting at lunch with a family member or old friend. He has that warmth. And Professor Sofield is the type of professor any student should want to know: he will endlessly support his students and possesses a sincere spirit. He’s, largely, why I’m an English major. After my first year here, I had largely given up on studying English, turned away by a general distaste and motivated by better grades to major in some sort of math focused major. My advisor recommended, before I give it up entirely, to meet with some Professor Sofield, who graciously gave a student he had never seen before an hour of his time to talk about what it means to study English. I study English, conversation a success.  

I had a great time at lunch, and can’t, for fear my drift will be scarcely apt, really get at what it was like for a student of English, this student of English. But, I think I can get at what it means about being an Amherst student: having professors that care about you and invest in you. It’s about incredible opportunities: I was blessed with an afternoon that just wouldn’t happen anywhere else. It happens here.


Pre-registration is upon us, that time of the semester when students try to figure out what courses to take next semester. At this time of the semester, schedules are a favorite topic of discussion, and everybody always seems to have what they should be doing more figured out than you do. So what to do? 

Well, the week before pre-registration officially started, the English Department Steering Committee (of which I’m a part: read my bio above) organized an English Department open house at Johnson Chapel, where faculty and students could mingle and discuss next semester’s courses over hors d’oevoures and desserts catered by the fantastic Bistro 63. The English Department is one of the largest departments here--potentially the largest (some 30 faculty members?)--but, like everything at Amherst, it’s small enough to feel friendly: students and faculty socialized. And the whole thing was pretty productive: the hundreds of students that attended over the course of the afternoon came to the open house with questions about next semester and left with answers. Informed by casual conversations with the professors themselves--that’s the best way to make decisions about which courses to take. 

Though I have yet to pre-register (the deadline is a few days away), I currently plan on taking English 76 Old English and Beowulf with Professor Chickering, who is the authoritative voice on Beowulf (if you read a Beowulf translation in high school, it was probably his. Though, for this course, we’re not reading a translation, but reading the original Old English); English 42 Reading and Criticizing Novels with Professor Pritchard, to be my fourth class with this legendary Amherst professor; Latin 02 Intermediate Latin; and, potentially, German 25 Romantic Couples or English 34 Renaissance Drama. We’ll see, I’m still sort of up in the air. And that's ok, because the best part about pre-registration is the "pre" part. We have over a week after the start of the next semester to test out schedules, picking and choosing which classes to stay in and which to drop. 

And a big by the way: it’s homecoming weekend. I’m sick, so I have to skip out on most of the goings-on (I’m bummed), but make sure you check out the blogs of my fellow bloggers--I’m sure they’ll have plenty of homecoming updates.

That's it for now, but I'll have another update soon.




Interested in what I've been talking about? Look up the course offerings. What would you take?

The English course offerings are here:

First Entry

The benefits of living in the small yet vibrant town that is Amherst are numerous: the variety of restaurants with a table free for you, the quiet coffee shops constantly open (at least as late as our library...), an almost entire absence of traffic--and all this convenience is inconveniently suspended during family weekend, this past weekend, as our tiny town is overrun by out-of-towners, of which my parents were two. 

I guess it’s apparent that I prefer our town and campus on the less chaotic side, but I don’t want to discount how fun family weekend is up here. There are innumerable events, as every organization--our a capella groups, the orchestra, the jazz band, the academic departments, the improv comedy group, sports teams, and more--seems to have something planned. My parents and I took advantage of the offerings, attending the jazz band concert Saturday during the day and the play Our Lady of 121st Street at night. Both featured friends of mine more talented than I. Both were great. One was remarkably vulgar (no, not the jazz band), to the offense of octogenarians and other old folks in the crowd. I don’t know what goes in your high school as to what they can put on stage, but my guess is that it’s not along the lines of Our Lady. Artistic censorship ends pretty suddenly, thankfully, at Amherst. 

The beginning of this week comes, and I’ve, of course, not worked, another downside of family weekend. So, writing this on Tuesday, let me apologize for the brevity: I'm trying frantically to catch up on work. And, as far as what work goes, I'll fill you in with everything about my classes as it comes up.