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Seasider Spotlight: Joe Plicka

Joseph Plicka, associate professor of English in the Faculty of Arts & Letters shares about his life, interests, and pursuits.

Portrait of Joe Plicka
Photo by Monique Saenz

Name: Joe Plicka

BYUH Employee since Fall 2012.

My job at BYUH is... an associate professor of English in the Faculty of Arts & Letters.

I grew up in... Davis, California. It's a town near Sacramento.

I'm currently working on... various projects, such as a book of essays, creative essays, and personal essays that examine things related to the spiritual life.

I chose to teach at BYUH because... it's the BEST job in the world. Getting a job as a professor is hard, so I feel fortunate to be here.

My favorite thing about teaching... seeing students work and display their intelligence and critical skills. I also love to see students reveal themselves creatively, and I get to see their talents and souls.

The best-kept secret at BYUH is... the stir fry at the Seasider.

The best advice I've ever received about teaching... was to help students see themselves as writers. If you can help them think of themselves as a writer, they see past themselves and it blesses them in any profession. When writing, they're on a journey, it's not just a class.

My advice to graduating seniors is... don't worry about doing what you love, first focus on doing something that you're good at. We can do what we love in any part of our lives. Don't put pressure on yourself to find a job you love; do what you're good at. There will be time to do what you love outside of work.

My favorite course to teach is... English 315. I just redid the curriculum for the class, and it is now called Literature and Literacy for World Religions. Approaching religion from a literary standpoint connects us to people throughout the world. I'm excited about it.

Being surrounded and nourished by books as a kid...sparked my interest in my field. Books mediated my connection to the outside world and to myself.

On Saturday mornings, you'll find me... walking my dog on the beach.

You'll never find me without... a hat for my bald head.

My favorite holiday tradition is... spending the Fourth of July in Crouch, Idaho. The experience is lawless and loud.

If I could travel anywhere, I would go to... Sri Lanka because... one, we have family that live there and would love to visit them in that place. And two, there's a ficus tree called the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree. there. It's the most well-documented historical tree.

The title of my autobiography would be... "Gotta Taste It All."

One item on my bucket list is... owning an outrigger canoe and getting into paddling.

Something found in my freezer... chocolate chips.

Do you collect anything? I started collecting Virgin Mary icons after serving in Honduras.

What's one thing that can instantly make your day better? A good sandwich.

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Mint chocolate brownies.

Podcasts I'm currently listening to... Faith Matters Podcast. They have a lot of thoughtful content.

Some of my hobbies include... playing the guitar, playing Nintendo (Zelda and Mario), listening to live music, and cooking.

My favorite quote is... "An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered." -G.K. Chesterton

A fond childhood memory... spending time in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California.

My best joke is... "Two antennas got married, the wedding wasn't much but the reception was great."