Career Mentors

Career Mentors

When you’re picking a major in college, your first inclination might well to pick what seems like a practical major that is directly connected to a specific job after college. This is why students so often enter college planning on majors like nursing, engineering, or teaching: these majors make it easy to imagine what you’ll be doing once you graduate.

The fact is, though, that most people's careers take them to places that they never imagine when they’re in college. From employers we know that English majors help students get good jobs, and when English alumni are surveyed a few years after graduation, they’re overwhelmingly happy with their choice of major. But sometimes it’s hard for them to imagine their future careers. Our Career Mentor program is designed to help you imagine your future career, and how to get there.

We have assembled a group of eight professionals with an undergraduate degree in English whose careers can serve as an inspiration for our students. Our mentors will visit your Introduction to English Studies class (EN 1111) and will be available by email to answer questions that you have about career options.

Below are the list of our current members. You can also view a list of our emeritus mentors who have served in the past.

Myles Cryer

Myles Cryer graduated from Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Arts in English in May 2011. Afterwards, he obtained his Masters in Technical and Professional Communication from Auburn University in 2013.

Myles then moved to Austin, Texas, where he obtained a position in the IT industry as a Major Incident Manager at Capgemini, a global IT consulting firm. In addition to performing the regular duties of that position, he began assisting with client documentation and communication needs, focusing first on technical documentation and then extending to communication strategy. He then accepted a position as a Communications Manager in the same company, where he developed, implemented, and ran communication programs for state government and private sector clients.

In 2018, Myles decided to move into consulting and helped run and manage a small web design business. And in 2019, he began focusing on communications consulting full-time. His current work includes a contract with Dell where he manages the communication efforts for a global large-scale internal program. He plans to remain in the communication field, specifically focusing on Organizational Change Management and communication strategy.

Melody Pittman Dale

Melody Dale is the Coordinator of Old Main Academic Center and Education Librarian at Mississippi State University Libraries. She received her BA in English from Mississippi State University in 2008. After graduating from MSU, she spent two years serving in AmeriCorps in Grenada School District, which piqued her interest in literacy and libraries. She graduated with her Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2012. Her research interests include the library’s role in first year experience, open access, information literacy, and cataloging. Prior to her current position, she served as a serials cataloger at Mississippi State University Libraries.

Christopher B. Ellzey

A Mississippi native, Christopher graduated from Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy in 2011 after successfully annoying two entire departments’ worth of MSU faculty.

After graduation, he spent several years teaching English—firstly abroad in the outskirts of Busan, South Korea and afterward somewhat closer to home in Tampa, FL. In 2017, Chris made the jump to mental health, moving back and enrolling in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at MSU, from which he graduated with his Master of Science degree in 2019.

Since then, Chris has continued working with children and families but as a therapist and counselor, initially with regional partners of the MS Department of Mental Health, then later with the MSU Department of Psychology where he’s been since early 2021 working on a variety of grant programs aiming at providing free mental health services and supports to children and families here in the Starkville area and across the state.

Austen Fortenberry

He graduated from MSU in 2017, where he double majored in English and Philosophy of Religion. Upon graduation from MSU, he enrolled at Baylor University in Waco, TX, where he received his M.A. in English. Currently, he serves as the Director of College Counseling at Madison-Ridgeland Academy in Madison, MS; prior to serving in this role, he taught high school English for three years. Additionally, he is an adjunct English instructor at Mississippi College, where he teaches courses in composition and literature. He sees daily the benefits of my undergraduate studies.

As he helps students navigate the college admissions process, much of the process involves guiding students in expressing themselves and their thoughts in writing, which he certainly feels equipped to do. Additionally, so much of what he learned as an English major involved communicating well, as he honed my abilities to convey and articulate complex ideas clearly. While these skills certainly prove useful in teaching, they are especially relevant in his counseling role as he meets with students and parents, working with them to navigate difficult decisions and conversations. When he first majored in English, he was uncertain what path he wanted to take after graduation, but he truly believes his undergraduate studies prepared him well for a variety of future endeavors.

Maridith Walker Geuder

A West Point native, Maridith Walker Geuder served most recently as the Mississippi College for Women’s  comprehensive marketing and communication strategies news Communicator, from which she retired last year. At the time of her retirement, MUW President Jim Borsig said, "Maridith's leadership has raised The W's print and digital communications and marketing efforts to a new level. Under her stewardship,

The W's visual identity has been established, our university marks protected and licensed, and our university magazine, Visions, has become known for its exceptional quality. Her greatest contribution has been her love for the university, our students, staff and faculty." Her career has included positions at two Southeastern Conference institutions, including 22 years at Mississippi State University and four years at The University of Alabama. She also served four years at Southern Living magazine in Birmingham, Ala. She earned her bachelor's degree in English from Millsaps College and master's degree in English from The University of Alabama.

Lisa McMurtray

A native of Mississippi, Lisa McMurtray earned her BA and MA in English from Mississippi State University and her MFA in creative writing from Florida State University. She taught freshman English at the college level for five years, and her poems have appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Ninth Letter, West Branch, and The Journal. After graduating from FSU, she secured the McRae Publishing Internship at University Press of Mississippi, where she learned about academic publishing and acquisitions editorial. Since 2015, she has been an Editorial Assistant at UPM, working primarily in the fields of African American, comics studies, Caribbean studies, history and media studies.

Courtney McCreary

Born and raised in Mississippi, Courtney McCreary earned her BA and MA in English (with an emphasis in Creative Writing) from Mississippi State University. Since writing the first few chapters of novels does not pay bills, she searched for a career that would keep her in the literary world.  In 2011, she began working as the Marketing Assistant at the University Press of Mississippi. Since 2017, she has been the Publicity and Promotions Manager at UPM where she promotes over a hundred books every year. She lives and writes in Jackson, Mississippi.

Emma Kate Morgan

Originally from Inverness, MS, Emma Kate Morgan received her BA in English and a Spanish minor from Mississippi State University in 2015. Upon completing undergrad, Emma Kate moved to Kalamazoo, MI, where she started her career in libraries while pursuing her Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS). She graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with her MLIS and graduate certification in Youth Services and Literature in May 2018.

During her time in Michigan, Emma Kate worked in all but two departments of every branch of the public library system, which prepared her for roles as evening circulation department staff in Kalamazoo College’s Upjohn Library Commons and Western Michigan University’s Waldo Library. Currently, Emma Kate serves as Augusta University’s Access Services Librarian at Reese Library in Augusta, GA, overseeing the daily operations of the library, managing the stacks and circulation, maintaining Interlibrary Loan services, and teaching information literacy courses, among other things.

Margaret Pitts

Margaret Pitts graduated from Mississippi State University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a minor in public relations. During her time in the English department, she was president of MSU’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international collegiate English honor society, and found special joy in creative writing classes. Since she graduated, Margaret has attained employment with an investment firm and has enrolled in a graduate program for a Master of Business Administration degree.

After she left Mississippi State, Margaret moved to Jackson, Mississippi, and began working as an Executive Assistant at Ballew Wealth Management, a private investment and retirement planning firm. At Ballew, Margaret provides support for two of the financial advisors at the firm. Her duties include assisting with presentation preparation for and organization of client meetings, providing personalized support to clients regarding their accounts, and creating marketing content such as print products.  More recently, Margaret has helped helm the efforts to implement new software for the firm. Semi-annually, she co-coordinates client appreciation events.

In 2017, Margaret began study for a Master of Business Administration degree at Millsaps College’s Else School of Management, where she was awarded the Allison Coggin Lee Memorial Scholarship. She also volunteers with the Mississippi Council of Economic Education’s International Summit, where she serves as a judge for a competition for middle and high school students that encourages them to learn important international economic concepts.

Sarah Shields

With a background in English and a deep love of literature, it was only natural that Sarah found her way to a creative and wordy career. As a copywriter for a full-service marketing agency in Atlanta, Sarah uses her skills to tell stories. After all, every brand has a story just waiting to be discovered, and it’s her job to tell those stories in ways that connect people and spark conversations.

From website content and social media to magazine ads and billboards, Sarah loves the challenge of finding the right words for the right situation. Since graduating Magna Cum Laude from Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Arts in English, Sarah has worked as a copywriter for various marketing companies including Momentum Consulting, Response Mine Interactive, and her current company, Brown Bag Marketing. Outside of work, Sarah loves reading, traveling, hiking the North Georgia mountains, drinking as much tea as possible, and exploring the Atlanta food scene.

Caroline Smith

Caroline Baker Smith received both her B.A. and M.A. in English from Mississippi State.  After teaching at a Mississippi public school, she enrolled in Mississippi College School of Law where she received her J.D. in 2017. After graduating from law school, she clerked for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit before joining Butler Snow LLP in 2018. Since 2018, she has practiced with Butler Snow’s commercial litigation practice group, representing financial institutions, insurance companies, and other businesses in commercial disputes, business torts, and other litigation.

Dr. Sarah L. Webb

Dr. Sarah L. Webb is an international speaker, consultant, and coach. She launched the global initiative Colorism Healing in 2013 to raise awareness and foster individual and collective healing through creative
and critical work. Dr. Webb's myriad efforts to address colorism include designing college courses, hosting an international writing contest, publishing books, teaching workshops, and mentoring students across the world from Sacramento, California to Sydney, Australia. Dr. Webb has written and contributed to several academic and non-academic articles, presented at numerous conferences, and been featured on regional NPR stations, Fox Soul TV, the Illinois Times, Forbes, and the TEDx stage. One of Dr. Webb’s favorite pastimes is providing edutainment on social media.

Dr. Webb was recently a tenure-track English Professor in the MidWest before resigning to work on Colorism Healing full time. She has previously taught high school as well. In addition to teaching, Dr. Webb
has managed online content for local news and TV stations, and done freelance writing and editing for blogs, small businesses, and local magazines. She’s also spent significant time as a youth mentor and coach for writers and performers. Dr. Webb has also published her own creative writing in literary journals and anthologies.

Dr. Webb is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is currently taking a slow journey around the world. She is blessed with an amazing nephew and niece who always remind her of what’s most important in life.