Excitement -- adventure -- travel! That's the life of a graduate of the English Department. Below are real stories from real English majors whose skills have helped them move out in the world!
JaimeeLynn Piechota, Class of 2011: Registrar (Massachusetts)
I am currently starting the MAET (Master of Arts in English for Teachers) at Western New England University!
Michelle Mann, Class of 2004: Registrar (Canton, OH)
I am currently working on my master's thesis in Liberal Studies. I work as the Registrar at a small nursing college in Canton, OH. As a Registrar, I have the unique opportunity to advise students in their college courses, while being responsible for the academic integrity of the institution. I really enjoy my work as Registrar. I did some teaching at Kent State University as an adjunct, but I am not currently teaching. My focus is on continuing my education and eventually becoming a dean at a college. (See below for an earlier incarnation of Michelle--the English major never stops learning!)
Kandis Hamrick, Class of 2010: Editor with Digital Architecture (Lakeland, FL)
My job really isn't all that glamorous (what with the cubicle and all).... Digital Architecture is a software company that deals specifically with the academic world ( http://acalog.com/). They are a small company but growing quickly. As an employee in the Proserv department I'm directly involved with the building of electronic academic catalogs. My experience not only gave me an eye for formatting but also for critical thinking skills that have become invaluable in the work I do every day.
Victoria Sandbrook, class of
2007: Writer, Editor, Blogger-in-Chief, Graduate Student
Tori is working on the MA in Publishing and
Writing at Emerson College as well as working at Bedford/St.
Martin's press as an editor. Read below for her latest
report of life after FSC English!
I have exciting news! I was just accepted as a blog
Magazine: Savvy Context: Technology for the Literate and
Literary, September 2008). (http://thenounthatverbsyourworld.blogspot.com). I'm thrilled to
have a real byline and a foot in the door at an awesome
online literary magazine.
Work at Bedford/St. Martin's is going well as always (I'm
officially editing a developmental English e-book), and I'm
enjoying my M.A. classes (even though they're laden with
business, not literature).
Casey Cassese, Class of Fall 2007
(English: Dramatic Arts and a Theatre Performance minor) Summer
2008, New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts; Fall 2008,
University of Surrey in England to pursue a Masters degree in
time at FSC was well spent as an English major. Although I
originally started off as a theatre performance major, becoming
an English major was probably one of the best decisions I have
ever made. I was a dramatic arts concentrator and kept theatre
performance as my minor. I learned very quickly that being an
English major was no easy task and that completing my degree was
going to take a lot of hard work. The English department faculty
were the most helpful and caring professors that I could have
ever hoped for; they are the reason why I made it as a major.
While at school, I was active with the Mechanicals, Alpha
Omicron Pi, and the Vagabonds drama club as well as my duties as
an English major. Like most English majors, I was extremely busy
but in the end, all the hard work payed off.
I have recently been attending the New York Conservatory for
Dramatic Arts for the summer and I have been accepted at the
University of Surrey in England to pursue a Masters degree in
Theatre Studies. Everything I have learned as an English major
helped prepare me for my future endeavors and I am forever
grateful to everyone who helped me become the best English major
that I can be. Who knows, maybe one day my name will be up in
lights, or I'll be teaching a room full of hopeful thespians!
McKibben Butkus, Class of 2001 (English Major; Psychology
and Communications Minors); Journalism Coordinator---John
Hopkins Middle School, St. Petersburg, FL
year at FSC, I wrestled with what my major should be and
realized English was where my heart was. Reading great
literature and writing were two things I had always enjoyed, and
I found myself enjoying them more than ever once I entered
college. So I became an English major.
progressed, I found editing and journalism are practical ways to
use the skills you hone as an English major. I discovered as a
writing tutor at Pens Central Writing Lab on campus that I liked
helping others with their writing. Also, I was able to apply my
writing and editing skills as features editor for the school
newspaper and editor of Cantilevers literary magazine. I
spent a summer interning at a newspaper and found my niche.
graduating in 2001, I spent the summer in St. Petersburg, FL, as
a writing fellow at the Poynter Institute, a school for
journalists. Thanks to the rigors of being an FSC English
major, I kept pace with graduates from Harvard and young people
who had worked for USA Today and other major newspapers
during the nine-week writing boot camp.
I went on to
work as an education and government reporter for the Cherokee
Tribune, a daily newspaper in north Georgia. My time at FSC
as an English major primed me for this challenging position, in
which I wrote an average of two news stories a day. While at
the Tribune, I won a first-place award in beat reporting from
the Georgia Associated Press.
In 2003, I
moved to Macon, GA, where I switched gears and worked as a
director of university relations and marketing at Mercer
University. I used my English skills by writing marketing
materials and serving as managing editor for Mercer's
newsletters and magazines.
In 2005, I
returned to St. Petersburg to work as the journalism coordinator
at John Hopkins Middle School, a magnet school for communication
studies and the arts. John Hopkins's journalism program is the
only of its kind in Florida. With the help of our educational
Petersburg Times, my classroom functions as a newsroom with
students working as reporters, researchers, photojournalists,
and advertisers. My students' newspaper was named the best
middle school newspaper in the country by Time Magazine/Time
for Kids in 2005 and by Weekly Reader in 2007.
heart and becoming an English major led me to a career I fully
enjoy today. I've combined my love for the written word with my
passion for education.
class of 2001 (English major with a writing concentration);
law student, Stetson University College of Law, class of 2008
seventh-grade science teacher once told me that the purpose of
school is not to learn facts or obscure information that we soon
forget. "The purpose of school is to learn how to learn," she
said. This resonates with me as much today as during my
sophomore year at FSC when I became an English major. Not
knowing what my ultimate career(s) would be, I decided to treat
my college experience not as narrow vocational training, but as
a chance to develop skills that I could apply in any career.
spend a lot of time researching and writing-and re-writing.
While other disciplines require these tasks, English majors
learn both what to say and how to say it-whether they want to be
persuasive, informative, entertaining, or just plain
graduation, my experiences have only validated by decision to
major in English. In 2001, I was able to land jobs in print and
television journalism, which required that I gather information
and write stories.
After a brief
stint in journalism, I entered the business-education field. In
2003, I accepted a promotion to center director of a Sylvan
Learning Center franchise. The job required a significant
amount of knowledge: I had to learn principles of management,
sales, and education. But I, as anyone could, gained that
knowledge through on-the-job experience and research. My
employers cared most about my ability to communicate, and that's
the significance of majoring in English.
In 2005, I
enrolled in Stetson University College of Law. I am certain
that no other major is more similar to the study of law. In law
school, we read cases, and in class, we analyze them. We also
write a lot and for different purposes-usually to be persuasive
or informative, but sometimes we must also be entertaining or
just plain interesting. The content of what we study is
different, but the skills required to study law and to study
English are virtually identical.
I credit my
success in law school to my experience as an English major. I
have excelled in classes and in my writing requirements. In
2007, I won a Stetson Law Review award for the year's
best student paper, which the Law Review will publish in
April 2008. I helped write award-winning briefs in two
appellate advocacy competitions against other law schools.
After graduation in 2008, I will work as a litigation attorney
at the Trenam Kemker law firm in Tampa.
English is a great way to learn how to learn. I don't remember
much of what we covered in my seventh-grade science class, but
the skills I developed as an FSC English major prove important
Michelle Mann, class of 2004:
Financial Aid/Safety Council Specialist.
After obtaining my Bachelor's of
Arts degree in English Literature from Florida Southern College,
I worked as the Assistant Registrar at Florida Southern College
while tutoring and editing, and I continue to tutor and edit in
Ashtabula, Ohio. I am currently working towards my Master's
degree in Liberal Studies with a focus on Literature and Women's
Studies from the University of Toledo. I now work at the
Ashtabula County Joint Vocational School (ACJVS) Workforce
Development (WFD) office as the Financial Aid/Safety Council
Specialist. The financial aid position gives me a unique
opportunity to help adult students realize their potentials
through the educational training courses we offer at the ACJVS.
Also, as the Safety Council Specialist, I am able to meet and
work with members of the community to enhance safety and
wellness, which increases quality employment and offerings in
the area. I am also teaching Business English to adults in the
ACJVS Business Office Specialist program.
Tina Hoeffner, class of 2005:
I am employed as a mentor at
Wears Valley Ranch, a home and boarding school for children from
crisis family situations. There are four houses here at
the Ranch, two for boys and two for girls, and each house comes
complete with a set of houseparents and two mentors. Up to eight
children can live in each house. We eat meals together, do
schoolwork in a homeschool setting, and basically operate as a
family should. What is even more awesome is that this is a
Christian organization, so in addition to being able to teach
the kids about adverbs and adjectives, I get to teach them about
my faith in Jesus Christ. I get to pray with them just before
bedtime. We read the Bible together as a family. Many of the
kids here come from very difficult home situations, and it's
like watching a miracle every day to see them learn and grow and
My responsibilities are a little
hard to describe because they are so varied. They range from
teaching English and Science to cooking breakfast, from playing
soccer to administering medication. I live in the house here
with the kids, so my job never really begins or ends. I do
however, have weekends off, as well as any holiday breaks that
the kids have off. I'm getting hands-on experience with
teaching, even with teaching kids with learning disabilities
like ADHD. I'm getting parenting experience, as weird as that
sounds, since the kids look to me as an adult authority figure.
I've picked up a few other skills here and there--- basketball,
guitar, knitting... you know, important life skills.
So there is hope for after
Stef Shaw, as a Freshman English major
This Fall (2005) Stef Shaw, a freshman
English major, will be helping put together a media guide for
the FUTURES tour, an organization female golfers join on their
way to becoming members of the LPGA. It is a well-credited
organization. As a golfer herself (and a member of the FSC
Mocs Ladies Golf Team), Shaw hopes she will eventually be a
part of this tour on her way to the LPGA.
Shaw heard about the opportunity at
an English Major's Meeting and after only a few weeks on the job,
her employers have already told me that they would be happy to
write recommendations for her in the future. Her job involves
computers and programs such as Photoshop and Pagemaker with which
she puts together information for the players, and organizes the
information into a composite book. Lisa Mickey, the director of
communications, will be taking Shaw to the "Q-School" (qualifying
school; gets you into LPGA, or gives you professional status) on
November 7th, at a golf course in Lakeland, Florida. Shaw
will be taking photos for the organization.
Kesha Little Raabe, class of 1999:
Managing Editor, Mustang & Fords and Mustang Monthly
| As a copywriter,
Kesha explains: "I have a better appreciation for people who
teach English now that I am editing manuscripts. It's not that the
writers are bad, it's just that I have been paying more attention
to grammar and syntax and realizing the difference it makes when
you pay attention to the so-called "little things." The manner in
which information is presented is just as important as the
content. In publishing, there is little time to pay attention to
those things, which is why my position even exists."
In a December 2007 email, she
After copy editing for
Stock Car Racing
and Circle Track &
for nearly three years,
I've been promoted to managing editor of
Mustang & Fords
and Mustang Monthly
I still proofread stories, but I only read them when
they are at the laser stage (a color printout showing
what the pages will look like when they are in the
I'm in charge of the
production process now (making sure stories come in on
time, making sure they have everything they should
before going to press, etc.). I also create a map of the
pages in each magazine so that the press knows how to
put them together. I'm sure I'm leaving out some other
duties, but I don't want to be longwinded. I enjoy my
new position and I'm learning more every day.
Matt van Praag,
class of 2005: Advertising consultant, Florida
I work for an Advertising Consulting firm [that] specializes in
the production aspect of advertising. In other words, we get our
clients the best prices for producing commercials, shooting print,
and recording radio spots through negotiations with the clients'
agency and the clients' other vendors (i.e. post production
houses). I love what I do because I am able to create a win-win
situation for the agency and our client. In the end, the client
gets the best possible results for the best possible price. My
official title is Growth Navigator with my side title being
Executive in Training (which doesn't look as nice on a business
card). I am constantly communicating with clients through E-mail
and fax, which forces me to use the creative fibers in my mind,
and I still have time to write for fun on the side. When I first
took the position, I was not sure about the advertising world;
however, after a year, I realize this is the best job in the world
Megan Chodora, class of 2003: English language instructor, Moldova:
Megan in Moldova.
I have to tell you guys a story about how cute my 5th graders are. At my school we have a small English resource center with various donated English books from pictures books all the way up to things like Catch-22. Anyway, in my 5th grade class about a week ago we read a text about Mark Twain and a short dialogue about Tom Sawyer getting his friends to whitewash his aunt's fence. Later on in the week a few of my 5th graders came into the library to check out some books and asked me if we had The Adventures of Tom Sawyer or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. We've got both of them but they're in tiny print and not the kids' abridged version. I told the girls that I have them but they might be hard to read. One of my stronger girls told me she checked out the Romanian version of Huck Finn from the library and wanted to read them side-by-side. Bless her little heart, she took the book. The other girl took the
book too even though she's just about average, but I think she took it because her friend took the book too. My cute little 5th graders are braver than my 7th graders who usually stick to the picture books or maybe venture out for a Babysitters Club (remember those?) every once in a while.
Earth Day is a celebrated day here and so is the whole month of April, at least in my village. About a week ago we had Saturday school to make up a day we took off in March and after the lessons the entire school walked to a hill on the edge of the village to plant some trees. We took up the whole road for a good 2 or 3 kilometers with the kids carrying shovels and small trees.
That's about all that's happening with me right now other than my host mom's constant attempt to set me up with a Moldovan man so I could get married and stay in Moldova forever. I usually change the subject by telling her what delicious borsch she made and that'll keep her quiet for a day or two. Take care and enjoy your borsch-free lunches. Eat some turkey and Swiss with lettuce for me. Oh, I'm so sick of cabbage.
Sandy Roddenberry, class of
2003: "Virtual" high school teacher and "real" middle
I teach English II (10th grade
English) for Polk Virtual School (PVS). PVS is, according to
the school board, "the first district owned and operated
virtual education program for Polk County School Board. . .
[It] serves public school students (as part of their regular
schedule), hospital homebound, home schooled students, and
private school students. Virtual education is completely
Internet based. . . Any student with access to the Internet
can enter their courses and work from any place, at any hour,
and for as long as they choose. . . The students and teachers
communicate via email, whiteboards, and telephone." I also
teach 7th grade language arts at Lake Gibson Middle School.
This is my third year there.
B. J. Pitzen, class of 2003: Professional golfer
While at FSC as an English Writing and Education major, I gained all the tools necessary to succeed . . . After realizing that being an English major required more dedication and determination than I had originally thought, I discovered that I had my work cut out for me. All the while as I was trying to juggle practice time on the links as a member of the Moccasin golf team and keep up with my studies, the English professors kept encouraging me along the way. . . They demanded excellence out of my fellow classmates and me, and they enabled me to unearth gifts and talents I never knew existed. . . Graduating with a degree in English from FSC has given me the confidence and assuredness that any person needs in the present-day demanding world of correct grammar, speech, and presentation!
Danielle Whaley, class of 2003: Adventurer, traveler, Orc
No direct correlation exists between my majoring in English at FSC and the many adventures that I’ve had since gradation, but I can write with all honestly that the type of person who majors in English and one who sets off for a trip to the other side of the world with little money and big dreams is one and the same.
I graduated from FSC in the spring of 2003 with plans to travel to New Zealand in order to broaden my horizons, to become even more cultured, and to somehow make it into Peter Jackson’s film “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.” I traveled with my friend Jenny, and together we discovered the beauty of the North Island before settling in the country’s capital of Wellington. After months of seeking employment (no job was too demeaning), I almost packed up and headed for home when I got my lucky break working for the New Zealand government at the Ministry of Social Development. (I applied at the Ministry of Magic, but no open positions were available . . . . ) I made entirely too much money (enough to bring my sister over), and I planned for a 6-week ultimate road trip. Life was good. I had met new people, made lifelong friends, and even knew my way around a big city, but I was still waiting for my call to be an extra in the greatest movie trilogy of all time. And then it happened.
I had called 3’6—the movie’s production company—a few times to ask about any available days for work, and I even sent in an “official” extras form, but nothing seemed to be working, until that fated spring day in September. I had heard from a kiwi friend that an unexpected day of
Danielle (above) traipsing through Middle-Earth on her way to Bag End (below).
shooting was to take place, and no longer fearing rejection after over 60 rejection letters from employers who did not recognize my inherent genius, I called Miranda at the studio. She recognized my accent straight away, after all, I was the foreign one in NZ, and though she made me no promises, my voice was enough to trigger her memory of a stalker-like American who was somewhat obsessed with hobbits. I waited for an hour for her to call me back. I feared that she would choose another, thereby crushing my life’s purpose, my life’s aspiration, and then she called. That’s right, I was on my way to be an extra. All that I had worked for was coming to fruition. I was going to be an Orc and was even to be compensated! (The suckers. I would’ve done it for free or even paid!)
The day itself almost defies description. Needless to type, I met awesome people, heard amazing stories about actors, got to wear a costume and a mask, and got to be a little part of the most exciting cinematic experience of my life thus far. The true and somewhat frightening lesson I learned by traveling to NZ, attending the “Lord of the Rings” premiere, standing at awe before mountains of ice, and perfecting a NZ accent that can almost fool a native is that anything is possible, no matter how farfetched.
A year later, I returned home with memories, photos, and a sense of hope that shall never fade. I work for Publix now and am already planning the Great British Adventure for next year. Maybe they’ll be filming a sequel to “Braveheart” . . . . .
Danielle Whaley (Orc #497)
Michelle Connolly Hall, class of 2002: Mom
||Michael and I got married about two weeks after graduation. We moved back to Lakeland in January, because Michael was offered a position in a company here, and since I was pregnant, we wanted to be closer to family. April 3, 2004, I had Quinn Connolly Hall . . . So right now I have the best job in the world, although I'm not so sure about that some days! I am considering returning to school come next fall to pursue my Masters, but now I'm staying at home full time with Quinn.
Amanda Johnson, class of 2003: Director of
Communications, Lighthouse Ministries (Amanda was a COM
major, ENG minor)
working at Lighthouse Ministries (a rescue mission for
homeless men, women and children) since my senior year at
FSC. I began as an intern and was blessed to be officially
hired on at the end of that semester.
I have to
admit that after graduating with a degree in Communications
with a minor in English I thought I was destined to work for
a newspaper, teach school or something. I couldn't have been
more wrong! The job possibilities with this type of degree
and training are endless...and I learned that just through
working at one job for three and half years!
Lighthouse Ministries has opened my eyes to opportunities I
never even dreamed of! Since working at Lighthouse I've
served as an office assistant, Administrative Assistant to
the Executive Director and now Director of Communications
and official grant writer! It's a blast and the work I've
been doing has just been amazing.
definitely enjoy my work in communications and grant writing
most. It's a blessing to be able to do something I love and
at the same time help raise support and awareness for the
homeless. Working with homeless individuals and learning to
tell their story in a way that will capture the attention of
the community and our supporters is a challenge. In 2003, I
participated in creating a "plea" newsletter for Lighthouse
Ministries. The newsletter hit a nerve within the reading
audience and was responsible for bringing in a large
donation. The money was an answer to prayer. The response
was a blessing beyond words. To witness the way the Lord
used that one publication to reach so many in the community
was truly amazing!
I worked with several co-workers on a 5
minute DVD production for the ministry. It was so fun! I
felt like I was a film director or something. I interviewed
people, wrote out a script, and was involved in the overall
production of filming and putting everything together. The 5
minute DVD is now one of Lighthouse's main media packets
that is used in churches and schools all over the area!
For all of
you who love writing term papers and especially love the
complex instructions and guidelines, then you should
definitely consider grant writing! It's a challenge that
only an English major could love!