B.A. in English, 2021
Favorite memories of being an undergraduate English major:
My favorite memories come from being in the classroom, and the friends made throughout my time as an English student. I cherished the memories and interactions more after the English department moved online due to covid. Being able to gather with professors and students to discuss novels, literary theories, and stories we’ve written helped me grow immensely as a writer and a student! The online classes were definitely a different experience but also found plenty of room for fun. Dr. Pierce’s Intro to Creative Writing and Dr. Thorat’s Multi-Ethnic Lit classes are a few that come to mind when I think about the remote classes that had great conversations and activities that felt like we were still in person!
Project Operations Assistant and Project Lead
When you graduated with a degree in English from MSU, what were your plans for your future? Has your career path mostly realized those early plans, or have you discovered new plans and goals along the way?
I spent the majority of my time as a student unsure of what career path I wanted. I knew what jobs didn’t interest me, yet struggled to feel confident with the jobs I wanted to pursue. Dr. Marsh’s English Studies class really helped me get a better grasp of what jobs were available for English graduates and eventually helped me gain confidence in pursuing a job in publishing. By the time I graduated, I was determined to go into publishing and work as an editor. With the help of Professor Thorat, I was able to prepare and eventually land a job as an editorial assistant for a publishing company based in Seattle, Washington. After working as an editorial assistant and executive assistant with the company for a year, I moved to a full-time position with my current company, based in Washington D.C. While I still hope to return to editing fiction after gaining more work experience, academic publishing still has much to offer and enjoy. My hopes in my new position are to gain experience and eventually return to school to earn an MFA while continuing to work.
What is your current occupation, and what does your work mostly consist of?
I work remotely as a Project Operations Assistant, where my team works on performing quality control reviews on state testing materials. Recently, I’ve taken over as a project lead for the West Virginia and Wyoming projects while offering support to other state projects. The work mainly consists of reviewing documents, editing any errors or formatting inconsistencies, along with delegating schedules and scopes of work across the different teams on my projects.
Which skills that you learned as an English major do you use most in your job?
The skills I use most from being an English major are a sharp eye to catch errors, time management, effectively finishing individual and group work, and the ability to work with varying turnaround dates.
What additional skills did you need to learn in order to do your job, and how did you learn them?
I’ve realized that most skills needed for this type of editorial and reviewing work can be learned. Aside from being comfortable with reading and editing, most skills companies need within certain positions come from training the company sets up to teach employees how to best perform tasks within their preferences.
Are there common misconceptions about your career field, which current English majors might share, that you have learned the truth about?
I feel like one misconception that many English majors can experience is the need for perfection when working on a story or paper. The same is true when making test materials that are so important for a child’s education. However, very few things in life are perfect and error-free, which is why multiple editing stages and drafts benefit any writing. Errors and mess-ups are expected when creating anything, and my company is great at setting up scenarios and plans to best handle when mistakes are made.
In what ways does your career enrich your life and help you to achieve your personal as well as your professional goals?
While I am still new to the professional working world, I’ve learned so much since my time at school. My career has mostly consisted of remote work, which has given me many opportunities within my professional and personal life. I’ve been able to work for companies I’d realistically wouldn’t work for outside of a remote setting. It’s also given me the opportunity to travel while being a full-time employee, which is something I’ve cherished while working. Within my work life, many people I work with were also humanities majors, and our work environment brings great conversations surrounding everyone’s interests. Any work that I’m a part of that impacts others, no matter how small, is something that fulfills me. My career has taught me how to handle responsibility and work on solutions, all while learning the importance of a healthy work-life balance. Aside from project work, my company offers scheduled meetings where employees get to share different topics that interest them. I use these opportunities to share my interest in how studying English impacts students from elementary school into their college careers.
What advice do you have for undergraduate English majors right now who might want to follow the career path you did?
If you have the desire to work in publishing, whether that falls under trade book publishing or academic publishing, the best way to break through is to make connections. Finding people within the industry who are willing to give you advice on where is best to search for jobs, internships, or opportunities will only benefit you! Also, having a website where you can showcase your personal and professional writing makes it much easier for you to show potential employers what you are capable of. Try to get as much experience as you can before you graduate! I worked at multiple bookstores and wrote for several magazines during my time at MSU, which really helped me showcase my writing and get the jobs I’ve had since graduating. Also, share why you are passionate about your future career; a personal story and display of your passion can get you a long way!