Assistant Professor and Director of Liberal Arts Education
B.A., Providence College
M.F.A., Long Island University – Southampton College
John Brush currently serves as the lead faculty member for LIU Riverhead’s B.A. in Communication Studies – New Media and also provides academic advising for all of LIU Riverhead’s undergraduate students. He received his M.F.A. in English and Writing from Long Island University - Southampton College.
John’s current areas of interest include emerging trends in both writing and digital communication. His formal writing training began in the area of prose poetry where he studied genre blending and works that pushed the boundaries of convention. He was later selected as the recipient of the Philbrick Poetry Award for Chrysalis, a chapbook of prose poetry. Currently, John is transforming his love of storytelling and simple, poetic language into works of children’s literature.
When he isn’t thinking about his next project, John is probably enjoying one of his many hobbies or having fun with his family.
Area(s) of Specialty
Professional Writing, Creative Writing, Children’s Literature, Digital Storytelling, Poetry
Contributor, poetry in Proteus, Genie, VOX, and Wavelength: Poems in Prose and Verse.
Lectures and Presentations
Presenter, “Writing an Effective Resume,” Hampton Bays Public Library (2015)
Presenter, “Navigating the Teacher Certification Process,” Suffolk County Community College (2015)
Presenter, “Technology’s Influence on Writing,” Teaching of Writing Festival, Suffolk County Community College (2014)
Presenter, “Understanding the New NYSTCE Exams,” LIU Riverhead (2014)
Presenter, “Writing an Effective Resume,” Cutchogue-New Suffolk Free Library (2014)
Presenter, “Screencasting,” Teaching with Technology Institute, LIU Post (2013)
Presenter, “Getting the Most out of PowerPoint,” Teaching with Technology Institute, LIU Post (2013)
Presenter, “Technology and Writing,” Center of Creative Retirement (2012)
Presenter, “The Process Essay,” Developmental Writing Retreat, Suffolk County Community College (2009)
Honors and Awards
Recipient, Philbrick Poetry Prize, Providence Anthenauem
Member, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
Writing Coach, Kids Are Writers
John Brush answers some of the student’s questions:
- What is special to you about LIU Riverhead?
There are so many things. One is certainly the bonds that are built here – both between students themselves and between students and faculty. I often joke with my students that just because they graduate doesn’t mean they don’t have to hear from me again. I like to check in. I like to see how they are doing. I’ll often have graduates stop in just to say “hello” and visit with some of their old professors.
We also have a strong desire to be different. As professors, we are often asking, “What can we do that is new? What can we do that is exciting? How can we provide better learning opportunities for our students?” We talk about this all the time.
- How long have you been at LIU-Riverhead? What brought you here originally?
I came to LIU in 2004 as a graduate student to pursue my M.F.A. in English and writing. To help pay for tuition, I took a job in the registrar’s office. It was there that I learned to love working in the field of higher education. There’s something about working with students on a college campus that is invigorating. There is so much life here. While I enjoyed my time working in the college office environment, teaching was my ultimate goal.
In 2009, I was hired as a professor at LIU Riverhead. I still remember my first class. I taught Advanced Creative Writing to the first group of undergraduate students at LIU Riverhead (there were only graduate students up until that point). I’ve been here ever since.
- What made your profession appealing to you? Were you influenced by anyone/anything in particular?
I was always taught to pursue what you love. It’s a message I pass down to my students today. I followed this path myself and consider it a blessing to work in a profession I truly enjoy. There are many reasons I love what I do, but the most important is that I get to help others. There is nothing better than watching students grow while they are here and then watching them flourish after graduation.
I think, as teachers, we are all influenced by those who taught us. I try to remember what it was like to be a student. I think about what teaching styles I connected with and which styles didn’t work. Then, I try to incorporate the effective styles into my own practice.
- Have you recently achieved something you’re proud of? Is there anything you’re currently working on that you are excited about?
Yes! I am currently working on a children’s book titled How to Find Love.
- What is your favorite class to teach and why?
Digital Storytelling. Of all the classes I teach, this one allows students to have the most creative freedom. In this class, students create a number of digital projects (videos, audio recordings, animation, etc.). I love seeing their ideas come to life through the use of technology.
- Being able to get a job after graduating college is a big priority for students. What types of learning opportunities does your department offer to students to help them increase their chances of getting a job after graduating as well as help advance their careers once they are in the field? What does the future of your field look like for students who are just getting started?
College is a major investment of both time and money, so our main focus is to help ensure that our students are ready to flourish after graduation. The most obvious method of helping our student advance their careers is our internship program. What sets our program apart from others is that we design each of the internship experiences around the employment aspirations of each particular student. We work with our students from the moment they begin their studies to try to get to know them and understand their career goals. We then place them in internships designed to give them the experience they need to move forward in their desired field after graduation. It’s a very personal experience, and I think our students benefit greatly from the care we put into selecting their internship placement.
- What types of projects do your students participate in that benefit their learning experience beyond the classroom?
To be honest, almost everything we do inside the classroom is designed to help our students outside of the classroom. The real-world application of class assignments is something that we see as vitally important to our program and to the continued success of our students. Many assignments feature freedom of choice which allows students the opportunity to complete assignments, not only for the professor, but for themselves. For example, a student may be given the assignment of creating a website. There will likely be certain prescribed requirements (number of pages, active links, etc.), but the content for the website will be the decision of the student. We have seen students build businesses through these assignments and encourage each student to create assignments that not only count for a grade but hold personal or real-world relevance as well.
- What are students surprised to find that they learn in your class?
That it’s important to be yourself. It’s a theme I intertwine into a lot of my creative projects. I try to stress the importance of taking chances, the importance of exploring, and the importance of being different. I think once we learn to be comfortable with ourselves and project confidence, it can open a lot of doors in the professional world.
- What is the most important piece of advice you would want future students to know about the Communication program offered at LIU Riverhead?
That it’s designed for many different types of students. Our graduates include those who have moved on to pursue careers in business, sales and marketing, writing, broadcasting, graphic design, library science, and a host of other fields. The skills you learn in this program are transferrable, meaning that you will have many options available to you after graduation.
I think it’s also important to know that you will be entering an LIU Riverhead community that truly cares about you. Our mission is to ensure that each and every one of our students finds a fulfilling career. We will do all we can to help you from the moment you enter our doors.