UW-L English Alumni and Alumnae
|Our alumni and alumnae prove that an English degree prepares you for a variety of career paths and provides you with a fulfilling life. Some are attending graduate school, a few are traveling the world, and many are working in education, publishing, technical writing, journalism, marketing, public relations, management, and other business fields. |
Featured Alumni and Alumnae
Sara Anderson ('07):
Current Position: MA student, Literature and Language, Winona State University. Previously worked for 3 1/2 years at Echo Bridge Home Entertainment as a copywriter.
Skills Acquired by Majoring in English: The rhetoric degree had me graduating with top-notch writing skills. I can't stress enough how important it is for young graduates to be able to write effectively in the workplace - your job depends on it! Also Modern English Grammars helped me with my editing skills. I regularly thank myself for paying attention in that class; it really does completely change how you look at sentences. Also, the upper-level seminars prepared me for the rigorous demands of graduate school.
|Megan Campfield ('09):
Skills Acquired by Majoring in English: In the job market there are two skill sets that are really coveted. One is being technologically savvy and the other is being able to effectively and professionally express both yourself and your thoughts in writing. The latter issue is one that is really overlooked, but invaluable when it comes to the workplace. With a large percentage of inter-office communication being done via e-mail it is imperative that your written voice effectively expresses your actual voice. I cannot stress how important it is to find your own voice in essays, reports, and stories early in life. It will really benefit you later when trying to "sell" yourself or your ideas to someone else. La Crosse's English program was really valuable in giving me the opportunity to find my own voice.
Advice to Current UW-L Students: I guess my biggest piece of advice is for students not to specialize themselves too fast. Too much of schooling is pushing you towards a specific genre/discipline. I would encourage students to try and explore as many other disciplines as they possibly can. I say this because delving into new areas really gives you the opportunity to see the interconnection between different schools of thought. My personal favorite classes to dabble in were history courses. History and English have a lot of themes and ideas in common that can really broaden your views. However, you'd be surprised how often math and science ideas will pop up in literature as well.
Luke Fannin (’09):Current Position: MFA student, fiction, University of Oregon
Skills Acquired by Majoring in English: My English major at UW-L provided me with a broad foundation in rhetorical skills, literature, and writing craft. The skills I acquired in analyzing a diverse sample of important texts are essential to me now as both a student and teacher of writing fiction.
Advice to Current UW-L Students: Don't just take all the classes offered by your favorite profs--that's a fantastic, diverse English department you have. Take advantage of it. A word or two of advice to students planning on applying to grad programs: These programs are getting smaller and more competitive all the time--you may want to apply to several programs, and make sure you're following the money. Don't go to a program without funding. What's the point? The process can be difficult, and expensive. Be organized. I sent a personal statement to the University of Michigan that closed with the line: 'I formally request admission to the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Wisconsin.' I wasn't accepted. Give your professors who are writing letters of recommendation plenty of lead time--there are lots of different due dates. If you can, establish an application fund--I spent $1000 on application, transcript, and GRE fees.
Sara Haugen ('10):
Current Position: Currently I’m going to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in the certificate program for technical communication, entering the masters program next semester (anticipated graduation in May 2012). I also work at the UMN extension center on the St. Paul campus, in the Center for Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources as an editorial assistant.
Skills Acquired by Majoring in English: After just a few weeks of graduate school I can confidently say that UW-L’s English rhetoric and writing program really prepared me for my classes here. I credit my success in my online class so far to my rhetoric and prose style classes with Dr. Lan, Dr. Kopp, and Dr. Crank. Many of the authors and articles we are using in that class are the same as those in my undergraduate, making it easier for me to understand rhetoric (and putting me ahead of my classmates!). I also credit the job I just received to working for Dr. Crank at the Writing Center, and creating my professional portfolio in Dr. Kopp’s class. So, it’s safe to say that without UW-L I would not be near as successful as I am!
Additional Information: I would also like to say thank you to the English department for challenging me all those years to receive a degree that is now very beneficial to me. As I aspire to climb the technical writing career ladder I am sure I will tap into the education and advice I received from so many wonderful professors at UW-L!
Laura Imming ('10):
Current Position: Junior Therapist, Reaching Your Potential LLC.
Skills Acquired by Majoring in English: I graduated from UW-L with a major in psychology and English: Rhetoric and Writing. Currently, I am working 1 on 1 with children along the autistic spectrum and I cannot express enough how much being an English major actually prepared me for this. Not only am I required to use professional writing in case documentation and reporting, but so many of the children I work with struggle with reading, writing, and grammar. The English major equipped me with the necessities to research and problem solve ways to better facilitate learning while communicating concepts effectively. Majoring in English also helped me realize what I think I've known all along: That I love school, I love English, and that I would love to teach English and spread my passion/nerdiness on to others.
Advice to Current UW-L Students: Graduating as an English major can be terrifying or fulfilling depending on how hard you are willing to work. Make plans and get to know your professors. Network!!! Your job options may not be easy right out of college, but take some chances and get involved outside the classroom. I sound like a cliché, but your experiences are almost just as important and marketable as your education.
Katie Kaspar ('08):Current Position: North America Purchasing/Sourcing Specialist, Selcom Group, Inc. She heads the purchasing department for one of three hubs worldwide. Because the company is Italian with manufacturing in Tanzania, China and Italy, her command of the English language is her main selling point.
Skills Acquired by Majoring in English: I think therefore I am.
Advice to Current UW-L Students: I had a great experience at UWL. To all the new students, the English staff members are lousy kickball players ;-)
Jared Kuruzovich ('03):
Current Position: Vice Headmaster, Wells International School (Bangkok, Thailand). He also earned an M.Ed. in International Teaching (Framingham State College, 2010).
Skills Acquired by Majoring in English: Degrees in English, psychology and philosophy are commonly viewed as the trio of useless qualifications. I majored in the former and minored in the latter two. Yet having English as my primary field of study provided me with skills that are often most essential in the modern workplace, regardless of the nature of one's position: the ability to effectively communicate and the ability to connect seemingly disparate knowledge. Although I'm now firmly planted in the education field, my position requires me to fill a wide range of roles, all of which I've been able to carry out due in large part to my educational background. More importantly, that experience has made it possible for me to transition into virtually any other field in the future.
Rachel Macasaet ('09):Current Position: Owner/Manager, my family-owned restaurant & market, under my family-run company New American Blvd. (Viroqua, WI).
Skills Acquired by Majoring in English: There isn't day that goes by where I don't use the writing and grammar skills I acquired in college, whether it be at work or elsewhere. I also appreciate the highly liberal education I received -- in terms of understanding social and cultural issues that run rampant in the modern workplace. I feel that an English degree leaves me with complete freedom to choose my next path in life, whereas a technical or highly-specific degree leaves some graduates stranded in one area.
Advice to Current UW-L Students: I would like to tell other UWL students to: do the readings, take active notes in class, and respect professors. And I highly recommend the book The Professors Guide to Getting Good Grades in College (Collins Reference, 2006).
Patte Michalek ('10)Current Position: English Teacher, La Crosse Central High School
Skills Acquired by Majoring in English: Majoring in English at UW-L enabled me to experience and encounter teachers who inspired my own future teaching style and methods. The English Department contains individuals who inspire and offer literary as well as writing experiences full of purpose and meaning. The variety of literature and writing assignments mirror the diverse instruction offered to students. Expertise is just as various as instruction. UW-L students do nothing but benefit from these attributes.
Jaime Nelson ('09):
Current Position: Publicity and Marketing Assistant; publicity, marketing, social media; Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group (book publisher). She also earned a Certificate in Publishing (NYU, 2009).
Erin Vollmer ('07):
Update: The months immediately following my May 2007 graduation from UW-L were turbulent indeed. Beginning in June 2007, I started an intensive summer program in magazine and book publishing at NYU—logically called the Summer Publishing Institute, but affectionately known as SPI. Uprooted from my small, rural Wisconsin town, I was dropped into an urban jungle chock-full of unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells (you don’t want to know). Six weeks later (NYC time equivalent to three years), I left the NYU program with knowledge of all facets of publishing, an extensive list of publishing contacts, an apartment half the size of anywhere I lived in WI (but triple the price), a new-found love for Starbucks Grande NF Ice-Vanilla Lattes, and, most importantly, a JOB—with Penguin Books, working in editorial for the G.P. Putnam’s Sons imprint in adult books. Yes, I read for a living! So don’t fret current English majors; there is light at the end of the tunnel. I am more than happy to network if you have aspirations of breaking into book or magazine publishing.
Marc Westenburg ('03):
Current Position: Strategic Marketing Specialist, Marketing Services, William Rainey Harper College. Marc also completed his TEFL Certification (American Language Center – Florence, Italy, 2005).
Skills Acquired by Majoring in English: Both of my majors—English and Psychology—have been absolutely key factors in my life. It was through the English department that I was introduced to Prof. Mary Davidson, who encouraged me to study abroad in Scotland. This time spent abroad opened my eyes to the literal world of opportunities available to me as a young American with a bachelor’s degree, leading me to teach English for a year near Osaka, Japan before moving to Florence, Italy, to study Teaching English as a Foreign Language and obtaining my certification in the field. I was immediately hired by the American Language Center and taught English for them for roughly a year and a half before connecting with Scuola Lorenzo de’ Medici, a private university primarily serving international study abroad students in Florence. After an initial period in which I worked closely with the president and the general managing director, I was promoted to Director of External Relations, a position I held for just under three years before moving back to the United States nearly a year ago and gaining employment with William Rainey Harper College as a Strategic Marketing Specialist. Regardless of country or culture or professional experience, however, I can confidently attest that my knowledge of English has ranged from providing me an edge to achieving my goals to blatantly opening doors more than likely closed to others without that background.
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