May M. Coryell
“Life is a rollercoaster.”
We all experience different ups and downs in our lives, as May Coryell, professor and ESL program coordinator at Middlesex Community College, can attest. Sometimes, life can feel like a rollercoaster ride with its ups, downs, twists, turns, thrills and anticipation. This is something May can relate to, since she has ridden nearly 500 rollercoasters in the U.S., Mexico, Guam, and throughout Europe.
Many of the highpoints on the rollercoaster of May’s life have involved teaching, learning and helping others. In fact, her career began with one of her proudest accomplishments: serving for three years in the Peace Corps. During that time, she taught English in Zaire and in Palau/Micronesia where she also served as a radio news writer. When her service to the Peace Corps ended, she remained in Palau for an additional year to teach before returning to the States for graduate school, where she had internship teaching ESL in Los Reyes, Michoacán, Mexico.
Prior to joining MxCC in January 1989, May was an ESL teacher with the American Language Academy at Fay School in Southborough, Mass and Lyndon Institute in Lyndon Center, Vermont.
Tragically, May’s lowest point came in 2006 when her left femur was shattered and her right leg was amputated below her knee following a deadly car accident. This slowed May down, but not for long. After many months of physical therapy and recuperation, she continues to live a fully active life enjoying ballroom dancing (and competitions), swimming, snorkeling, traveling and, of course, riding rollercoasters. Those continue to be personal highpoints.
May earned her bachelor of arts degree in speech, drama and English from Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio, and her master of arts degree in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) from the School for International Training Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont. She is a founding member of the ESL Council of Connecticut Community Colleges, and is affiliated with International TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), ConnTESOL (past executive board member), and the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors.
More highpoints for May have been being named to the Marquis Who’s Who in America (2009-2012), Who’s Who of American Women (2008-2009), Who’s Who in American Education (2007-2011), and Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers (2002, 2004, 2005). In 2008, she received the Connecticut Community Colleges Merit Award and the 4 C’s Member of the Year designation from the Middlesex Chapter. She was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the ConnTESOL Board of Directors in 2005, and the MxCC President’s Certificate of Recognition in 2002 and 2003. In 1988, she received the “Beyond War Award” for being a Peace Corps volunteer.
Indeed, May’s life and career as an educator sometimes feels like a rollercoaster ride – and that suits her just fine.