Meet the newest Rams: Erin Cundiff

September 17, 2021

Every year Virginia Commonwealth University welcomes thousands of new students. They come from all over, represent all ages, and have interests and views that vary widely. Each contributes to the tapestry that makes up the VCU community by adding their unique perspectives and life experiences to the mix.

Eric Cundiff is from Henrico County, Virginia and is studying at the School of World Studies in College of Humanities and Sciences.

Erin Cundiff
Erin Cundiff

Language has always fascinated Cundiff, which has led her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in foreign language with a certificate in Spanish/English translation and interpretation at VCU.

Now in her early 40s, Cundiff began studying Spanish in middle school and over the years has studied the language off and on. She runs an editing business and recently began thinking about adding translation to her list of services.

“I started thinking about going back to school a year and a half ago,” Cundiff said. “My editing business started to take off. I have two kids in high school now and had thought about going back to work full time. I kept thinking — what can I do?”

She reached out to VCU and had originally talked about just getting the certificate. She realized she wanted a more diverse education and has developed a program that includes classes on Spanish-language culture and history.

“I was sitting there talking to the adviser on Zoom, and we were talking about the translation certificate,” Cundiff said. “We also talked about some of the other classes, like history of Spanish language, history of Latin American culture, history of Spain, and those were not included in the certificate. I felt drawn to expanding the experience.”

This is not the first time she has attended VCU. A decade ago, she earned a master’s in English research with an emphasis on writing and rhetoric. She has long believed VCU is a good place to study as an older student. She said she remembers seeing a lot of older students — some in the middle of their careers —when she attended previously.

Cundiff has eased her way back into university life. All of her classes are online this semester, so she is not spending much time on campus. But she is looking forward to getting involved in activities and making the most of being a college student again.

“I was a little bit nervous about being older than the general population, but we have had breakout rooms (online) where you have to get paired up with other students in the class and everybody has been so kind,” Cundiff said. “It hasn’t been a big deal at all.”

By James Shea