Jamie Adams' Story

Meet Jamie Adams! See how this Oswego alumna started from being a student to being a beloved screenwriting teacher on campus and the sustainability department’s coordinator.

So what got you into sustainability?

Before I moved out to the Oswego area, I had a small farm with chickens and pigs with a small garden. I grew up country, where a common phrase was, “Use it up, wear it out. Make it do or do without.” Waste was always something that struck me on a personal level because there was no need for it. It bothers me.

After I graduated from Oswego, I got into sales because that’s exactly what a person with a creative writing degree does. After years of this, I was brought on by Amy Shore [Film Theory professor]. I got into writing grants, got really into that and then ultimately stumbled upon science grants. And then a friend of a friend found me and said we needed a coordinator for sustainability and here I am.

Sustainability is more than just being green or thinking about clean energy. Sustainability means the ability to sustain one’s self or one’s lifestyle. Our culture isn’t going into that direction currently and it's alarming to look at it in a big picture.

I like to keep sustainability, especially among our student groups, open to questions, discussions and solutions. Make it fun! Because if it's about making you feel sh***y about your behavior instead of being empowered to change it, people won’t do it.

I came to this strangely but I’m happy I’m here. Just by pure luck.

Where did you get your writing inspiration from?

I get my writing inspiration daily. Just from daydreaming. Those moments where you’re just neutral and your mind wanders free. Like in the shower or driving. I also get my inspiration from my kids. It sounds a bit dorky but seeing everything from a kid’s point of view is pretty cool. It sounds pretty tripe but it's wild to watch it happen.

Since I was a kid myself, I always just loved fiction. I just LOVE make-believe. I am a bit of a daydreamer. I grew up reading a lot. I was a huuuuuuuuugggeeee nerd. Shocking. Always had my nose in a book. When I was growing up, my father kept the first poem that I wrote in his wallet and I have it hung up in my office now. I wrote it back in third grade and it won some awards but the catch was that it was written in iambic pentameter. My school accused my father of writing it instead of me because no third grader should know what an iambic pentameter should be.

Then as a college student, my professors here in SUNY Oswego really influenced the way I write in a profound way. They still work here, too. Leigh Wilson and Brad Korbesmeyer. Leigh showed me how to let my creativity run free but still have a leash on it to control the flow. Brad was the one that got me into screenwriting. I sucked at the beginning but I just fell in love with it.What is your favorite thing to write about?

A lot of my writing has a darker tone to it. I’m not terrible at comedy actually. It slips into my writing because I’m a sarcastic a**hole. But, what I love writing about are characters. Characters have a story behind them that I love to explore. That’s what screenwriting is about.

How did you come about teaching?

When I got the job to become a teacher here, it was beyond my wildest dreams. This just sounds so cliché and dumb, but I just love teaching. I love working with students. I love spending time talking about stories with them. I love watching them explore their stories. I love watching their aha moments.

You know I got to do this to you ... favorite movie and why?

I rather read than watch movies, to be honest. I’m really picky when it comes to movies. When you ask a film person what their favorite movie is, it's too big of a question. It's like asking, “what’s your favorite thing to eat?” “What’s your favorite dessert? Sweet or savory?”

But, the most influential movie of my entire life is called The NeverEnding Story (1984). It has shifted and shaped the way I envision make-believe since I was a kid.

Do you have any special talents?

Hahahaha. I can memorize things really fast. Oh god, uhm … I can fall down easy. I just learned how to whistle. *Attempts.* Okay nevermind I can’t anymore. Is being approachable a talent? People I don’t even know come talk to me. I rode horses since I was 3. Being a really good mom to Paxton and Cooper. I’m good at being cryptic.

Who is your feminist hero?

This is going to sound weird, but my dad. He is/was a conservative white male. That’s how he grew up. The men handle everything and the women stayed in the house to take care of the kids. That was just the era he grew up in.

And then, he had three daughters. I was the first girl on my dad’s side of the family in 150 years. So here’s this guy who has three very outspoken girls and doing things they want to do. He said,

“the moment the three of you girls started talking to each other, I knew there was no stopping either of you guys. There is nothing you guys can’t do. I don’t care what other people say, what gets in your way, you guys can do anything.”

And that’s something that always stuck with me. He said that when I was little. So that’s my first feminist hero because it's really genuine. He had to break a lot of the norms he was used to.

I have another but she works on campus and I don’t want to shout her out. My goal was and still is to be her. She understands people. She’s so empathic and sympathetic and warm. She’s also completely self-reliant, takes no sh*t from anyone and I looked up to her for a lot of years. It feels really weird to name her like, “YOU! Ahh!” but she is a colleague of mine.

Penny Marshall is also my feminist hero. She became a director in a man’s world. She didn’t do it for women, she was just like, “I’m gonna do this and this is what I do!” I really love her for that.

Since experiencing life after graduating, what advice would you give to female college students?

One of the paths that I’ve done that has worked for me is, “nod, smile, do whatever the f**k you were gonna do anyway.” There’s probably better wording for that but that’s the gist. You are the only one to set expectations for yourself. You are the only one that lives your life. People will always tell you what to say and do and even steer you in the wrong direction.

There is no checklist in adulthood. Just accomplish your goals when you do them. There is no set guideline on how to do things. Do your life the way you want to do them.

Practice constant and insistent self kindness. Treat yourself like someone you love.Favorite Quotes:  

“Does Her Campus come in audio book? I’m really out of touch.”

“Student loans are a terrifying animal. You will do anything at points.”

“That’s a great word for it man, I’m sorry you know what that means” - Jamie realizing her son knows the meaning behind the word, “brutal” and being sad that he used it right.

“There was this year that everything amazing happened. 1997. Music, movies, my hair was great.”

“You should always get an education because if you do get married, you never ever want to count on a man. You never want to be stuck. You can leave if you want to” - Jamie’s dad on marriage to his daughters.

“I never entertained the idea that I can’t do something because I’m a girl.”


Here’s a picture of Roxie. This is Jamie’s dog that hangs around campus! She’s the dog that was on everybody’s Snapchats last semester.