My name is Chakree Matayanant and I was born in Texas, but grew up in Thailand for 17 years before I moved to West Lafayette, Indiana to pursue my majors in English and Sociology. Growing up I loved reading stories of all kinds, searching for different ways to tell them, understanding the relationships between characters and piecing together the bigger picture. My studies in both of my majors complemented each other in this regard especially with all the reading and the essays I’ve had to write. Some would underestimate the value of an English degree, but I’ve found that it has provided me with skills and unique perspectives that I’ve been able to apply to a variety of fields.
I took a year off and moved back home to Thailand after I graduated to travel and gain some work experience. My travels took me around Asia including Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong; melting pots of different cultures and ideas. I took time assisting with various tasks in a Media and Advertising company in Bangkok learning the film shooting and editing process. The most significant work I did was translating Thai hotel and resort advertisement scripts from Thai to English for the voiceovers. While there were literal translations and drafts, my English degree enabled me to edit them further into poetic and informative narratives that spoke to their intended audience. Figuring out the translations and substituting equivalent ideas inspired me to take up Communication for my Master’s next year and research cross cultural translation. To go beyond the literal and translate whole ideas which can benefit many other fields including international business, politics, and international media. As advanced as our translation technologies are for languages, I think we have only begun to better understand one another!
Who is/was your favorite English professor at Purdue?
I honestly cannot pick a favorite. Every professor I’ve had a class with has helped me to grow in my writing and analytical thinking. Although, if I had to pick maybe two who stand out the most, I’d say Dr. Powell and Professor Robert “Bob” Lamb. Dr. Powell’s class English 301 really challenged and pushed me further in my essay writing ability. Bob Lamb’s class English 379 was the most fun I had listening to his own stories and experiences shoe horned into the texts we were reading.
What is an interesting Heavilon Hall memory (or just one from the campus generally)?
I remember from my freshman year Spring 2011 participating in the Purdue Humans Vs. Zombies tag game with nerf guns. I remember over doing it in terms of packing my gear and using a nerf gun you had to assemble. I remember coming out of class and assembling my gear out of my backpack and strapping extra nerf ammo to myself before going back outside. A couple of students passing by noted that I looked pretty prepared. One came up to me and asked, “Are you in the military or something?” I responded with, “Writers have to survive the zombie apocalypse too.” We both had a good laugh over it!
How has your English major helped you in your professional career?
It has helped me in more ways than one in terms of developing my professional goals and reaching for them. I previously mentioned my work in translating and editing scripts into English. A personal passion of mine which I hope to pursue professionally one day is voice acting. I have found several opportunities to work on informal projects online and my English degree has helped me to further edit scripts and even come up with my own original content and dialogue when I want to submit auditions.
Who is your favorite author and/or what are you currently reading?
I honestly don’t have a favorite author because I’m always open and searching for different narratives and ways to tell stories. Although, I do enjoy revisiting the old series I used to read for fun back in high school such as the Cirque Du Freak series by Darren Shan. Currently though, I’m tearing my way through Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. I know so many references to it from other books and series but never read the actual book. I thought it was high time I finally did so!