Cathy Mohrle G’24 on Drew’s Arts & Letters Program

“All of my classes have been student driven and intellectually engaging”

December 2023 – Cathy Mohrle G’24, a high school English teacher, had aspired to obtain her master’s degree for over a decade.

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Cathy Mohrle G'24, left, with Affiliate Professor Liana Piehler

When researching graduate schools, Mohrle was drawn to the Arts & Letters program offered by Drew’s Caspersen School of Graduate Studies. featuring both a Master of Arts & Letters (MLitt) and a Doctor of Arts & Letters (DLitt), the program is unique, interdisciplinary, and flexible—allowing her to personalize her master’s degree to suit her interests and career goals.

The program offers courses in seven concentrations that build on Drew’s strengths in the humanities, the creative/performing arts, religious studies, and teacher education. Through small seminar-style classes that meet in person, online, and in hybrid formats, the program enables students to customize each course of study to meet their individual goals. 

We sat down with Mohrle to learn more about why she chose Drew’s Arts & Letters program to help further her career pathway. Read on to learn more.

Why the Arts & Letters program at Drew?

I put off getting my master’s degree for more than a decade mainly because the timing never seemed right. After Covid, something inside me said, “It’s time.” I felt the urgency to learn something new and return to school. Since I wanted a “brick and mortar” experience (even though Drew has hybrid and online courses, which I fully support), I researched local universities close to my house and where I work. When I looked into Drew, I came across the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies and read about the MLitt program on the website. 

As a high school English teacher, I wanted to pursue a degree related to my field. Literature intersects with so many other subjects in the humanities. Plus, the MLitt and DLitt are rare and specialized degrees—not many universities offer them. Drew’s MLitt program is all about exploring electives that interest students. That flexibility was a huge draw for me because I didn’t want to be limited to a prescribed list of prerequisites. 

I have been impressed with the professors and my fellow students. All of my classes have been student driven and intellectually engaging. The professors make it a point to get to know you and are supportive with their guidance or feedback, which took away any initial apprehension I may have had. The students are fantastic too—I’ve made friends easily. Everyone has been inspiring and encouraging. Without a doubt, the program has enriched my life and it feels good to be a student again!

What are your future aspirations?

My motivation for applying to Drew’s Caspersen School of Graduate Studies, specifically the Arts & Letters program, is two-fold: to broaden my scope in the humanities and to better serve my students. 

The goal of an educator is to prepare students for the future and to give them the tools to be independent thinkers so that they can better our communities with their ideas and innovations. Similar to how Drew motivates me to explore new subjects, I hope to foster lifelong learners in my students. In terms of my career path, I’ll continue teaching English for now, but this degree could open new doors for me too. The possibilities excite me.

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