Greetings! I'm Derek DiMatteo, an assistant professor in the Department of English.
I love teaching and studying literature and culture, so my courses often contain a mix of literary texts and film. I might mix together the Studio Ghibli film Princess Mononoke with, say, Dr. Seuss's The Lorax and William Cronon's essay "The Trouble with Wilderness." Or we might read Jonathan Kozol's Death at an Early Age alongside excerpts from Maria Montessori's classic The Montessori Method and the Jack Black film School of Rock.
I arrived at Gannon in 2020, moving to Erie from Bloomington, Indiana, where I had lived since 2012 while earning a MA and PhD in literary and cultural studies. Although Erie was new to me when I arrived, I was no stranger to Western Pennsylvania – my mother's side of the family is from Pittsburgh and Beaver, which I visited often. However, I grew up in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts and spent most of my youth in New England, including college at Wesleyan University in CT and grad school at Tufts University and additional graduate coursework at Harvard University in MA.
Growing up, one of my life goals had been to live abroad. I finally achieved this when I moved to Japan in 2003 for a teaching job. I didn't know any Japanese when I moved there, so it was a serious challenge to immerse myself in Japanese culture and learn the language from zero. I thought I might stay for one or two years, but I loved it so much that I stayed until 2012! While there, I taught at Kaichi Jr/Sr. High School and Lakeland University Japan. Living in Japan was an amazing experience. If you are interested in visiting Japan, teaching EFL, or in living abroad in general, come talk to me!
These days, my interests include playing board games (like Catan and Carcassonne), singing karaoke, gardening, cooking, watching Netflix, Japanese culture, and training and competing in jiu-jitsu (which reminds me of when I was a high school and college athlete on the wrestling team).