Delaney Heisterkamp (Class of 2020)

photo of Delaney Heisterkamp

  • senior double major in English:Creative Writing and English:Professional Writing
  • minor in Communication Design
  • from Chicago, IL
  • interned at Peter Owen Publishers during Literary London study abroad
  • conducted research through Undergraduate Summer Scholars program (2019)
  • editor-in-chief of Inklings; resident assistant (RA) of Presidents Hall
"Miami offers many paths to get internships, do research, and study abroad. Talk to your professors during office hours and see what kind of research they're doing — most are willing to be mentors to you and will share what they have learned in the industries you're interested in."

Why Miami?

RAs at Presidents Hall — Back (L to R): Connor Mullaly, Brayden Ange, Camila Jones, Pamela Ianiro; Middle (L to R): Noah Montague, Ian Chenkus, Delaney Heisterkamp, Keresa Murray, Victoria Carter; Front (L to R): Maddi Johnson, Khrisarean Irons, Andres Obregon-Mantilla

"I visited Miami's campus a couple times and also I participated in the Bridges Program. Miami was continually encouraging me to get to know people, so there was more of a sense that they really wanted me here. They also offered me a lot of scholarships, which was big to me.

"My first year had its ups and downs. I came in declaring a creative writing major, but at first there was a bit of uncertainty about if I could get a job in this field and what that would look like. I ended up adding my major in professional writing as well so that I could focus on getting as much of a holistic English education as possible. Now I have a sense of what I want to do — I'm not going out into the world empty-handed!"

Best Miami Experiences

"One of my favorite things about Miami is that the Department of English has been incredibly influential, not only on my writing but also on my access to the typical industries that you write for. My English professors have been so engaging as mentors who I can rely on, so it feels very close-knit that way.

"One of my goals is to get a job in copywriting or maybe in the publishing industry. I will keep grad school in mind down the road, but I have a lot of interest in the publishing industry due to its centrality in New York. There are many questions of access — who is able to afford to work in the publishing industry and who is excluded. I want to be part of the work to change that. To be part of diversifying that industry is a long-term goal of mine.

Shakespeare mural in The Globe by Jimmy C

"I've had a couple publishing internships, including when I participated in Literary London, which is a really cool study abroad experience run by associate professor of English Kaara Peterson. Our group learned about detective fiction and the literary marketplace from Miami professors in London, and we all had the opportunity to be paired with specific companies for an internship.

"This past summer I received a stipend to do research through Undergraduate Summer Scholars. My research was about Christianity and non-normative identity in the Filipinx diaspora, which culminated in a lyric nonfiction essay. Any student can do this program, no matter what your major is, but I particularly want to encourage humanities majors because I think people hear research and think 'STEM.' There's so much humanities research, even in creative writing! I was able to tailor my project as I went along. It's a great undergraduate opportunity."

Miami and the Liberal Arts

"I love the English department, specifically how I experienced a complete 180 from the way I was thinking in high school about writing. In high school you learn about the literary canon, but when you come to college you get a much broader perspective on writing and what communication does. I think it's that expansion of how I picture my own writing and how I can contribute to the global community that has been one of the greatest and most helpful influences in my education. Miami has a very cool creative writing program, which is very experimental and pushes your boundaries. I've really appreciated the general mindset of 'you know the rules; here's how to break them!'

"My creative writing major involves a mix of generating work in both poetry and fiction and then getting feedback. We usually have a group of peers who address your work. Everyone is trained to read your work and help get you to the place you need to be. They're really supportive of whatever you want to do in the long-term.

"In professional writing, I've chosen the editing track, which is a bridge between English and communications. We examine what writing does in the world and how we can be a part of that. While editing, we look at how to make things clear, how to communicate effectively, and how to make our work accessible. There are questions about how we often create content without always thinking about how the audience receives it. It's important to look at both the content creators and the audiences of that content."

Interning at an Independent London Publishing House

Delaney Heisterkamp mimics a soldier statue's pose at Conwy Castle, Wales.

"For the Literary London program, I worked in marketing and communications with Peter Owen Publishers, an independent company, and it was a great experience. I learned about flexibility and how to say yes to things you aren't necessarily an expert on. It was nice to get experience in a forgiving environment. They knew I was a student, so it was more about teaching me rather than expecting me to know everything!

"During my internship, I helped index a nonfiction book, developed copy for the company website, and created promotional graphics for various forthcoming titles. One of the coolest moments was when I got to meet one of the authors, a capital-L Lady as a British title. She was incredibly kind and intelligent, and she gave me and my flatmates a tour of Parliament!

"From my London experience, I've realized that internships and professional experience are good to put on your resume and talk about in interviews. And it's so much less intimidating to go out into the world when you have experience you can draw on! These experiences touch upon similar aspects to research, I think. It's important to be able to take information, follow leads, and synthesize concepts that at face value would look disparate but really are connected. These critical concepts will be very useful to almost any job you end up doing."

Advice to Students

"There are opportunities and opportunities and opportunities here at Miami if you take the initiative to say yes to them. There's the Center for Career Exploration and Student Success, the Howe Writing Center, and so many other ways to get better at what you do outside the classroom. Miami also offers many paths to get internships, do research, and study abroad. Talk to your professors during office hours and see what kind of research they're doing — most are willing to be mentors to you and will share what they have learned in the industries you're interested in. You don't have to say yes to everything — just take that step to reach out to them and make those yes's count!

"Be open to new experiences. You might come out of high school thinking, 'Oh, I'm going to write a specific way or I want to become a writer.' I'm not saying to let go of your dreams, but think about how you can reach them from a different way — perhaps there are avenues you are not considering. Broaden the bullseye, if you will, because the Department of English is equipped to help you in different ways.

"Just be open to new genres of writing and to taking classes and experiences that you wouldn't normally explore. There's so much in literature beyond Shakespeare!"

[November 2019]