5 questions with…SAGES lecturer, pre-law adviser, dancer Terri Mester

Terri Mester is no stranger to Case Western Reserve University. She’s a SAGES lecturer in the Department of English and a pre-law adviser in Undergraduate Studies, but the three-time alumna has plenty of experience as a student as well, earning her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees here over the years. Her Spartan pride runs deep, but there are plenty of other activities that keep her on the go—including her celebrity stint in last year’s Dancing with the CWRU Stars.

Learn more about Mester now.

1. What’s on your iPod?
My iPod is a huge eclectic mix. I’ve downloaded everything from Bartok to Lady Gaga. When I’m working out, I prefer anything really fast and rhythmical. So even on the Stairmaster, I’m choreographing dances in my mind. My guiltiest pleasures come from collecting and listening to musicals: Fela, The Book of Mormon, Memphis. I play those repeatedly and the shows come alive all over again.

2. What’s your favorite spot in Cleveland and why?
I have two favorite spots: urban and somewhat pastoral. I love University Circle on both sides of Euclid—the Case quad as well as the art museum and Severance Hall. It’s definitely Cleveland’s cultural mecca and I’m proud to be a small part of it. But when I was a teenager before attending Case, I used to borrow my father’s Buick, stop at the bakery for chocolate chip cookies and drive down Gates Mills Boulevard to Old River Road, even in the winter. At one time, I wanted to live out there, but it would be a long trek back to University Circle.

3. If you could only take three books with you to a deserted island, what would you take?
This is a hard question. The first thing that comes to mind is my Kindle. But the batteries would run out way before I would (hopefully). So to keep reminding myself that I am human, I would pick William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. It is the richest and most heartfelt book I’ve ever read. I’ve taught it a dozen times and never tire of it. Then, I’d probably choose James Joyce’s Finnigan’s Wake because it would take me a long time to decipher. I love words, so for my third choice I’d take the unabridged Oxford English Dictionary with me. I’d need it for the Wake.

4. What one word would you use to describe yourself, and what one word would your friends use to describe you?
I would describe myself as nice. I think my friends would too. But I’m glad you didn’t ask for my spouse’s response.

5. What’s your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve University?
This is an easy one, although I can’t pick just one: first, the students. They are terrific—brimming with curiosity and intelligence. And most of them are also very nice. To see students swarming the quad and crossing Euclid in hordes the first day of the semester is tremendously energizing. Then there is the warm and supportive atmosphere that pervades the campus. My immediate family alone has earned five degrees from Case Western Reserve. I’ve loved being a lecturer and adviser here. But I’ve have to say that what I’m most proud of is being a participant in last year’s CWRU’s Dancing with the Stars. Now where else could I get an opportunity like that?