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Capstone — College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Humanities Alumni publication

Capstone is an online magazine published twice annually for alumni and friends of UWL's College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Humanities.

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Archived publications (in PDF format)

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. 

Please email Kate Parker if you have any questions about our alums, and/or if you are an alum and want to tell us what and how you are doing.  Also, make sure to follow us on LinkedIn

Hear from our Alumni

Zoe Slattery, '15

English Education

"I felt most impacted by my professors at UWL, both in the English and Education departments. Their passion for their field and caring for their students allowed me to think critically and act globally, which led to two years of teaching in West Africa with the Peace Corps."

Laura Berry, '17

Professional & Technical Writing minor

"Out of the 45 students in UW-La Crosse's Physical Therapy Program, I am the only student with a Professional & Technical Writing minor. My professional writing background not only helped me stand out during the application process, but has also proved valuable during my first year of grad school."

Whitney Malin, '17

Writing and Rhetoric major

"I was hired in my current role to manage advertising department projects, but I also offered to write content for our website, social media platforms, and promotional events. My degree from UWL prepared me for these writing opportunities, and I’m excited to continue growing as a writer throughout my career!"

Sam Hackworth, '14

Literature major

"The breadth of courses allowed me to create a strong base for understanding critical theory in fields outside of literature. My success was also fostered by the hard work of the English department's professors, who encouraged me to examine how literary theory intersects with other academic and professional fields."

Victoria Lor, '15

Writing & Rhetoric major

"A major in English prepared me with the skills to succeed professionally by keeping me conscious of the things I write about. It has also helped me to build a solid foundation on how to write with concision and consistency."

Spencer Hoostal, '13

Literature and Biology double major

"As a future physician, a background in literature has made me appreciate the unique story and background that each patient has. It has enhanced my communication skills and ability to be present and truly listen to patients."

Miranda Martin, '18

Creative Writing minor

"My creative writing minor has helped me immensely in my job search after college. I can feel confident submitting my writing and editing it on my own. Even if you are not going into the writing profession, having a background in writing is something many employers are looking for. Communicating through writing is important in every career!"

Brittany Maule, '15

Professional and Technical Writing minor

"My minor has been an amazing asset as someone working in a scientific field. Essentially, it has set me apart as someone who not only has the knowledge to understand the tough concepts, but also the ability to communicate why my organization’s scientific work matters."

Haley McCullough, '16

Writing and Rhetoric major

"I always knew I wanted to write, but UWL and the phenomenal professors there pushed me to think beyond teaching or being a journalist or writing a novel. The classes I took and the experiences I had allowed me to see a future with an English degree, and that was something that I am very thankful for."

Lan Xiao, '11

Writing and Rhetoric major & Professional and Technical Writing minor

"I think the best thing about the 2+2 Program is that it gave me the opportunity to see the world and to make friends with those who have a different background, all while finding new possibilities for myself."

Mikaela Kornowski, '15

Professional and Technical Writing minor

"Employers have told me that my impressive writing background is what set me apart from other candidates seeking the same position. I can update company websites, produce promotional videos, lead social media efforts, and create email campaigns and other marketing materials."

Mikayla Peters, '17

Literature major

"I am currently pursuing a Master's Degree at the University of Denver in English. Using tricks and tips I learned through my undergraduate thesis, I aid neuro-diverse students in their own research and writing endeavors and coordinate a team of 8 other tutors."

Philippe Meister, '14

Writing & Rhetoric major

"The courses taught me about the history, theory, and practice of language use in social life. The faculty supported me in conducting an undergraduate research project through which I explored my interests and learned about conducting research."

Sarah Mueller, '17

Literature and Biology double major

"As I continued to advance in both the humanities and in science, I found myself making deeper connections within and between these fields of study. I see many parallels between literature and organic chemistry. These seemingly unrelated fields share a significant connection in that they both require one to observe patterns."

Shelby Schroeder , '16

Professional and Technical Writing minor

"If I could pinpoint one thing that led me to success outside of UWL, it was that the minor requires you to do an internship.  I didn't know I would enjoy coordinating events until I took a writing internship and stumbled accidentally into event coordinating."

Yu Cai, '16

Writing and Rhetoric major, Literature minor

"2+2 helped me find the equilibrium within myself. It unleashed creativity in me and helped me see a path to satisfaction and happiness."

Qixi Huang, '12

Writing and Rhetoric major, Professional and Technical Writing minor

"I have always felt that going through the 2+2 program was truly a turning point in my life. It didn’t simply bring me an opportunity to deepen my pursuits, but it also shaped the way I think. In this process I started to consider and plan for my future."

Catherine Daly, a former UWL student with a Communications major and Professional and Technical writing minor, discusses how she developed through her experience as an English minor and the ways it prepared her for a career and life beyond graduating. 

Featured Alumni and Alumnae

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 UWL'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 UWL 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 UWL! 


Laura Imming '10

Current Position: Junior Therapist, Reaching Your Potential LLC.  

Skills Acquired by Majoring in English: I graduated from UWL 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 UWL 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.   


Patte Michalek '10

Current Position: English Teacher, La Crosse Central High School 

Skills Acquired by Majoring in English: Majoring in English at UWL 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. UWL students do nothing but benefit from these attributes. 


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 UWL 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 UWL 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 UWL 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. 

Contact :

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 UWL 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). 


Jaime Nelson '09

Current Position: Publicist, Princeton Architectural Press. She also earned a Certificate in Publishing (NYU, 2009). 

Skills Acquired by Majoring in English: Every company wants people who can write well. I write press releases and media pitches every day. Plus, the English program is diverse, and it really helps to be able to dabble in a lot of different things these days. You don't have to be an expert--just better than your co-workers, and that will make you indispensable.  



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 UWL Students: I had a great experience at UWL. To all the new students, the English staff members are lousy kickball players  ;-) 


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.


Erin Vollmer '07

Update:  The months immediately following my May 2007 graduation from UWL 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.


Jared Kuruzovich '03

Current Position: Communications Manager at NIST International School, one of the top schools in Asia.  He earned an M.Ed. in International Teaching (Framingham State University, 2010) and went on to earn a M.B.A. from Webster University in 2013. 

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. or

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. 


Eric King, an English Literature major with a Professional Writing minor who graduated in 2012, tells us about how his experience as a UWL English major and minor thoroughly helped him prepare for a career outside of UWL as a technical writer for Illumina. 

Whitney Tabbert, a former Writing and Rhetoric major and Communications minor at UWL, recalls how her experiences with classes and professors in the English Department gave her the skills and knowledge to thrive in professional communities.