“Zoom in” On Careers in English: Career Advice from Our Alumni
Monday, November 26, 2018
Monday, November 26, 2018
Earlier this month, the English Department welcomed a panel of four alumni to have an informal conversation with current English students. Connecting via video conference, these English students were able to zoom in on these alums’ careers and ask questions about their journey through life post-graduation.
The alumni panelists included:
Shevonne Commock ('12), Career Navigator for the Jewish Vocational Service in Boston
Christie DiJusto ('13), Associate Editor at Oxford University Press in New York City
Chanel Dubofsky ('01), Freelance Writer with regular contributions to major feminist and cultural websites
Nathan Frontiero ('17), Junior Copywriter for Brigade (a branding agency right here in Amherst!)
There was no shortage of questions for the panelists—the English majors made sure to take full advantage of the alumni at their disposal!
To kick off the evening, the first questioner asked the alumni if they are working in careers that they anticipated pursuing right after graduation.
Shevonne explained the importance of the English degree having so many applications and how this led her down the path of career navigator. Christie, however, knew she wanted to be an editor, but realized it didn’t have to be at one of the big five publishing companies working just with manuscripts; she’s ventured into websites and coding, too. As a freelancer, Chanel’s advice was to “allow things to be crooked and floppy—a little smeary” in order to find what you like. As for Nathan, networking helped him get out of the gate right after graduation and into the first steps of copywriting, as he anticipated.
The alumni were also asked what they did as undergraduates that they think helped prepare them for their current careers.
Chanel and Nathan were huge advocates for the Daily Collegian, explaining how the student-run newspaper gave them their first serious writing job and taught them the skills required in a real work environment. Christie spoke about her experience with the Oxford Summer Seminar and how her global perspective gave her a leg up in job interviews. Shevonne raved about the usefulness of the Professional Writing and Technical Communication (PWTC) certificate for a wide variety of industries, and how it has helped her specifically in her career endeavors.
The point that came through from all of the panelists was that no matter where you think you’re headed, you can use the skills and resources you gain as an English major to navigate your way to a career you love, even if it isn’t the one you thought you’d end up with.
If you missed out on this panel, be sure to keep an eye out in the English Undergraduate Weekly Digest for future events! Our alumni are always eager to show students that you can do anything with an English degree. Let them help you get started on your future SUCCESSFUL careers!
Write-up by Cayli Armstrong, Digital Communications Intern