Spotlight on English Careers: Beyond Bachelor Hall

Beyond Bachelor Hall panelistsThis year’s Beyond Bachelor Hall event featured five professionals who began their careers in the same situation as their listeners – as English undergraduates. 

The panelists represented an array of careers from textbook publishing and marketing, to academic administration, book sales, and ESL. Each of the guests shared their individual job histories and offered insights and advice. 

One of the themes that emerged from the panelists’ career paths was the importance of remaining open to a variety of opportunities as well as a constantly changing technological climate.

Beyond Bachelor Hall

Karen Mauk, a freelance Development Editor whose clients have included McGraw-Hill, Wadsworth, Pearson, and Oxford U.P, said she has experienced a lot of shifts in her professional career: “What I’ve found is that my role has kind of morphed into various production and digital design roles that I didn’t used to have.”

Another panelist, Erica Minton ’05, the Director of Single Tickets Marketing for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, agreed: “As a writer with flexible skills and talents, if you put yourself in a place of being able to be flexible and be open to what the next wave of media … you’ll be a great position to start building the new industry that will begin soon,” she said, explaining that information architecture wasn’t around when she was an under

Annie Kafoure ‘01, who works as Miami’s Assistant Director of the Honors Program stressed the unpredictable nature of career paths and the English major’s unique ability to navigate this terrain. graduate at Miami.

“It’s okay for your plans to change and it’s okay for things to not go as you expect them to go … that is one of the things that as an English major I’m really comfortable with because the whole program is about not having a right answer,” she said. “When you’re able to translate that from the classroom into the way you live your life it creates a resilience and openness that’s really helpful.”

The panelists encouraged students to take risks, pursue internships, and remain confident that the skills acquired as English majors are transferable and highly sought after.

“The most important thing that getting an English degree taught me was to work really hard and be able to be agile in different situations,” Mauk said. “Really hone your writing skills because every job needs good writers and editors.”

Vinnie Palozzi, a Miami University Professor of Linguistics, spoke positively about the current ESL job market. "Even short term, there are a lot of jobs. Universities and college who are looking for people to teach writing or literacy skills or even advanced writing, many times they are now asking for some experience working with non-native speaking English populations.” 

Rebecca Waesch ‘09, Children’s Bookbuyer for Joseph-Beth Booksellers, agreed: “Businesses need good communicators. They need people who can effectively express themselves both in writing and in person. Be creative. Be proactive. You’ll need to ask for what you want and push for what you want.” 

After a Q and A session, the event ended with informal chats over pizza and pop.