First-year students enrolled in ASC 101: Introduction to University Life will share the common experience of reading Hidden America: From Coal Miners to Cowboys, An Extraordinary Exploration of the Unseen People Who Make This Country Work by Jeanne Marie Laskas.

The goal of this common reading program is to create a shared learning experience that fosters student engagement, retention, and personal development beyond the classroom. In pursuing this initiative, CSU joins college campuses throughout the country that make this part of the freshman year experience. Although directed primarily at freshmen, we hope to engage the entire campus in this reading experience through promoting the book in other courses and sponsoring campus-wide activities to highlight the reading and its intersection with different disciplines and issues.

The book selected for 2015/2016 is titled Hidden America: From Coal Miners to Cowboys, An Extraordinary Exploration of the Unseen People Who Make This Country Work, written by Jeanne Marie Laskas who tells the stories about the people from all over our country who make our lives run every day.

Jeanne Marie Laskas is the author of six books. Most of her longform journalism now appears in GQ, where she is a correspondent writing about everything from concussions to migrant workers to hit-men. Formerly a contributing editor at Esquire, and a weekly columnist (“Significant Others”) at The Washington Post Magazine, she has been writing for national magazines for twenty years, with work appearing in The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, O: The Oprah Magazine, Allure, Ladies Home Journal, and many others. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Best American Magazine Writing 2008 and Best American Sportswriting 2000, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012. She has won more than a dozen Gold Quill awards for Excellence in Journalism, and her piece on coal mining, “Underworld,” was a finalist for the 2007 National Magazine Awards. Her earliest essays and features are compiled in The Balloon Lady and Other People I Know (Duquesne, 1996). Laskas serves as Director of The Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh, where she teaches creative writing, and she lives on a horse farm in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

To learn more, go to the 2015/2016 Common Reading Experience web page.

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2015-2016 Academic Year