Class of 2021
- Bachelor of Arts in English and minor in Professional Writing
What do you currently do professionally?
I work at the Juniata College library as the Access and Collections Coordinator.
How has majoring in English helped you on your career pathway(s)?
Majoring in English has always kept my communication and writing skills sharp. Being in a library professionally calls upon much of what I learned at Penn State Altoona, considering that I've had to write recommendations for my student workers, construct library announcements to the college community, and put together concise training instructions for student workers to follow while doing library tasks.
What knowledge and skills help you succeed in your job on a daily basis (and, possibly, in unanticipated ways)?
I'm always working to be as precise and clear as possible in my speech/writing--a habit that was ingrained in me during my college career. The accessibility of information is utmost in libraries, and I must uphold this as best I can for all the students and professors I talk to and email with. Even now, I often consider word choice and monitor how wordy I get because I believe my success is closely linked to how I express myself.
In what (unanticipated) ways has the English major impacted your life beyond your profession?
I've found that when I hear students talk about what they are researching and writing about, I get just as fired up about it as they are because I often long for the research chase and story or essay creation again myself. I didn't think I'd envy a student writing an essay so relatively soon out of college (knowing how difficult it can be), but I've become someone who valiantly pushes students to take advantage of everything research-related that the library has to offer because I'd be doing so myself if I were back in the English classroom.
What is your favorite experience from your time in the English program?
Looking back on all the classes I took, I most miss the professors I had. They made the classes so engaging and enlightening for me; I valued how hard they each pushed me to do my best because they knew how passionate I was about the major. Especially in my senior seminar, I worked the hardest I ever had on my research essay and getting super anxious about the oral presentation of it; but in the end, I was prouder than I had ever been in my life of what I accomplished. I'll be even prouder once I write a book!
What advice do you have for current English majors or students considering entry into the field in which you’re currently working?
I would say to students considering an English major to go for it regardless of whether others say that it's a waste of time. It definitely is not. If it's your passion, you'll make it work. An English major can be used in any field, and that can hardly be said for other majors. You use communication, writing, and reading skills every day, and those who become really accomplished at writing become invaluable in today's world.
As for those already in the major, I'm sure you already know how important English is to our society, but I encourage you to continue using the skills you’re learning in every aspect of your lives. Everything I've written and read in my English courses has helped me grow into the person I am today, and I strongly cherish every memory. Don't let it slip by! Dwell on every page and word because a part of you is always going to stay back in that classroom. We're eternal learners at heart, truly.
Is there anything else you would like current Penn State Altoona students (of all majors) to know?
Penn State Altoona itself is a wonderful place to be. Nothing beats the community created on campus, and there are countless people who care about you and want you to succeed. Let those people guide you and learn from them so that you can pass on their patience and kindness.
Your brilliant professors work tirelessly to teach you with their best foot forward, so never shy away from letting them know how much they've impacted your life and blossoming career. Enjoy the journey and always strive to do the best you can do for both yourself and your work.