Christopher Pitt '16
Recent graduate Christopher Pitt discusses his experiences as an English major and how his Professional Writing and Technical Communication certificate has helped embark on a career in the tech industry.
When did you graduate from UMass?
I graduated from UMass in May 2016. It seems so long ago now. I used to be a young buck, you know. I used to cavort and scamper about but time dulls all edges. I’m just an old fogey now. Over the hill at age 22!
How would you describe your experience as an English major at UMass? Do you have any particularly fond memories of your time on the UMass campus?
My experience as an English major was pretty incredible. I managed to experience some of the greatest moments of English appreciation that I had ever known. Back in the day, the English society still had some sort of aura that smelled of burgundy drunk in an old library, with the discussion of great and terrible things on the lips of all involved. My first real experience with them was acting as a pallbearer for a coffin unloaded in Amherst Commons and hauled through downtown to the Unitarian church. There we held a funeral for Bartleby, some sort of avatar for all English majors. Later in the semester we hosted a Beowulf night at the Renaissance center. It was exciting to see all of these people celebrating this timeless story and the context in which it existed. There were foot races and spear throwing, and we ate suckling pig seated at a long table. Professors came and read Beowulf in old tongues--Old English and Norse I believe.
I took a great many classes spanning all kinds of topics from Shakespeare to The Sims. Professors Russworm, Toomey, Solberg, and Fernando stood out to me. In each of them was a passion not only for their area of specialty but for teaching it. Professor Russworm integrated video games, YouTube, and social media into her teaching as easily as one would incorporate Wide Sargasso Sea into a discussion of Jane Eyre. It just always seemed to fit. Professors Toomey and Solberg made technical writing cool. And I don’t mean “hey there, fellow youths” cool, I mean “wow, this is actually a lot of fun and really satisfying” cool. Professor Fernando had such passion for the concept of beauty and its presentation in writing that it made me want to continue studying aesthetics, which I still do.
In your opinion, what is the greatest asset of a public university like UMass?
The greatest asset of a public university is always going to be its mission. UMass is not focused on making money; it’s focused on providing the best education it can. This is what makes it great. The focus is not on penny pinching, it’s on using all the resources available to create a better education and a better environment for learning.
Please tell us a little bit about what you've been up to! Where are you working now? How did UMass help prepare you for this job?
Since graduating I have accepted a job with FAST Enterprises as an Implementation Consultant. It’s a technical job, partially helped by my minor in Computer Science and partially helped by my certificate in Professional Writing and Technical Communication. Being on-site is very important for FAST so I was relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah, which is where I live now with my girlfriend Annie, a UMass Nursing graduate, and my dog Jackson. A big part of my job is working alongside government employees and telling them what our developers can and cannot do. Sometimes this requires persuasion and other times it requires bargaining. Either way, I feel that my time at UMass working at OIT as a computer consultant and my PWTC certificate have helped me in being able to succinctly explain technical concepts and work with clients who lack the technical knowledge. Along with my day job I also do freelance writing for various publications and I am working as a consultant for a comic-con in Wenatchee, WA. I am preparing to continue my English education in the future and will be taking the GREs next year with the intention of eventually getting a PhD in English. But no matter what, the framed diploma above my desk reminds me that UMass is where it all began.