Class of 2015
- Bachelor of Arts in English and Bachelor of Science in Biology (Penn State Altoona)
What do you currently do professionally?
Science communication, starting a Master of Arts degree in English literature in January 2023
How has majoring in English helped you on your career pathway(s)?
It has made all the difference. Having an English degree has not only given me a valuable skillset that makes me a unique candidate for many job opportunities but has enhanced my critical thinking skills more thoroughly than a science degree alone would have.
What knowledge and skills help you succeed in your job on a daily basis (and, possibly, in unanticipated ways)?
The ability to communicate clearly, concisely, and with constant awareness of my intended audience and overall goals for a piece--be it a cover letter, grant, or scientific manuscript--has allowed me not only to succeed in my own job but to help my colleagues and employers elevate their works as well.
In what (unanticipated) ways has the English major impacted your life beyond your profession?
Having an English major has driven me to seek greater fulfillment in both my professional and personal life. I often think about the feedback occasionally scrawled in the margins of essays handed in for review: "So what?" This simple question captures the essence of the task of an English major: to search beyond the surface of what we are presented with and seek out meaning that we otherwise might have missed.
As hidden themes and biases start to reveal themselves, so do insights about our own beings and humanity in general. But the greatest gift that my English major has given me is the knowledge that I am not alone in this search for meaning. I find myself in good company with long dead poets, modern writers as well as my teachers and peers in probing the possibilities that run underneath the surface of everyday life.
What is your favorite experience from your time in the English program?
From deconstructing Victorian stereotypes and picking apart "American Dreams" to writing a silly paper about dinosaurs in Middle English texts, I learned the thrill of crafting a compelling argument with clever phrases, all while gaining a greater sense of self along the way.
What advice do you have for current English majors or students considering entry into the field in which you’re currently working?
Don't be discouraged if your first job out of college doesn't turn out to be your dream job. Even if a position doesn't seem to be fully aligned with your career goals, almost every job has something to offer - the experiences you gain can be leveraged and marketed to improve your resume and value as a worker.
Is there anything else you would like current Penn State Altoona students (of all majors) to know?
There isn't only one way to achieve your goals; be open to new possibilities and try your best to be kind.