In 1995, Dr. Joyce Boss’ life her journey took her to Wartburg as an English professor.

Boss is originally from two places. She was born on a naval base in Japan since her father was in the U.S. Navy stationed in Japan and her mother is Japanese. She lived in Japan until she was 8. Then, after her father’s retirement, she moved to San Diego, California. 

A powerful quote she said she lives by is an old Japanese: “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” 

Boss originally heard this quote from her mother every time she would get discouraged to persevere through the challenges she was or may face in life by getting up and continuing to move forward. 

“Just get up and it doesn’t even say succeed on the eighth try, you know that is not guaranteed either, just get up you know, that is the first step to keep going on to keep persevering and see where that journey takes you,” Boss said.


Boss lived there until she earned her bachelor’s degree in English from San Diego State University (SDSU).

Boss credits great literature she read in a high school English class, specifically “Beowulf,” which really drew her into the field. 

Growing up, science fiction interested Boss, and she went to many conventions and comic cons in the San Diego area. 

Another activity she was interested in was fencing, which she participated in for a college physical education class. She still has the gear, including her helmet, jacket, practice foils and weaponry. 

After getting her bachelor’s degree in English from SDSU, Boss served in the Peace Corps as a secondary English teacher in Kenya at a rural school in a poor neighborhood.

 “It was a wonderful experience and despite all the challenges, including teaching literature without books because my school didn’t have textbooks, so we huddled together as a class and read it out loud together, it was a great experience,” Boss said. 

This experience helped solidify Boss’s decision to become a teacher and continue her education to get her master’s and doctoral degrees from UCLA. 

A role model of Boss’ is one of her college professors, Dr. Bonnie Zimmerman, who taught in the SDSU English department.

 “Her teaching was my inspiration to look at literature written by people outside what we consider the mainstream literary studies,” Boss said. Boss has become her own Dr. Zimmerman on campus, continuing the work she learned from her having a positive influence on and being a role model to students at Wartburg. 

Becky Amaro, a fourth-year German major, was taught and advised by Boss her first year and has been taught by Boss throughout college.

“She’s very dynamic.he will let you process the information like she explains and then she starts to ask questions and tries to relate them with you.It is like a conversation between the teacher and students,” Amaro said. 

A goal of Boss’ as a teacher is to have a positive impact on her students by preparing them for what lies ahead for them in life being a continued education and or career. 

 “What is even more important is what students take away from my class, that become relevant and applicable in other classes, in [a] future career and in personal lives and professional lives, to have at least a little bit of an impact not a huge impact that helps students to meet the world,” said Boss 

Amaro said she appreciated what Boss does for students on campus. 

“She cares about the student’s perspective. She considers our schedules, how we are feeling, so she tries to not make us not feel overwhelmed when we have big assignments for her class. She tries to make us feel that it is going to be OK, she talks with us about what we think, so it is natural to ask questions,” Amaro said.






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