Dickinson English majors find success in everything from law to banking to writing to nonprofit work. A brief selection of recent majors on their career path…
Justin Berg ’14:
I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2019. I am currently working in the first of two federal judicial clerkships that I secured following my law school graduation. One of the most important skills for any lawyer is his or her ability to write clearly and persuasively, and no major would have honed my writing skills more than the English major did. The type of close-reading textual analysis the major taught me directly translates to the kind of close-reading analysis of cases and statutes that I’ve performed daily as a law student and judicial law clerk. My senior thesis seminar—one of the hardest and most rewarding intellectual experiences I’ve ever undertaken—taught me to manage deadlines, organize complicated research into a coherent written argument, and receive critical feedback from my peers. I frequently drew upon those skills in law school and continue to do so now. And in job interviews, my thesis has been a helpful topic that lets me demonstrate to employers that I have the kind of skills that make for an effective lawyer.
Victoria Delaney ’17:
I currently work as a paralegal for a non-profit legal aid organization (The Volunteer Lawyers Project) in Boston. My time as an English major helped me build the skills to analyze texts and write clear synopses of the information I was reading. These skills have been invaluable in my day to day work compiling client intakes, drafting memos, and sifting through client files for additional information that could be helpful to our volunteers.
Mike Goemaat ’14:
As a marketing professional for a large, national general contractor, I support our sales efforts to connect with clients to help them construct the facilities they need to be successful, and I help our project teams share their successes. Whether responding to proposals, or helping our interview teams present in front of potential clients, I rely on my Dickinson education every day. We are asked a wide variety of questions, from simple and straightforward to challenging and complex, and even the slightest misinterpretation of what a client is asking can end up costing them time and money. Each day requires me to interpret their needs, and put forth accurate and informative responses. My time with the English department gave me the analytical, writing, and research skills necessary to clearly articulate our abilities to our clients and to help share our project stories in ways that make an impact.
Kathleen Jarman ’16:
I’m a research and analytics associate at The Possible Project. The critical thinking, communication, and research skills I developed as an English major at Dickinson have served me well in every role I’ve held since graduation. In my current role, I conduct internal research and evaluation for an education-based non-profit. One of my primary responsibilities is to review, synthesize, and report out on the latest education research to inform our programming's design and implementation. I therefore use the fundamental research and writing skills I developed as an English major on a daily basis. However, I think the most powerful skill I developed as an English major is the ability to think deeply and critically. Critical thinking has not only been instrumental in my professional life, but has also made me a more thoughtful, informed, and engaged citizen as well.
Mary Naydan ’15:
I am in my fourth year of the English Ph.D. program at Princeton University. When I handed in my senior thesis back in 2015, Professor Wendy Moffat wrote that she thought I had stubbed my toe on my dissertation. She was right. I am currently writing my dissertation on interwar fantasy literature, and I feel well prepared to meet the challenge because of the Dickinson English program. The 404 Senior Experience in particular prepared me to undertake the kind of sustained independent research project I am working on now. Every day, I am drawing on the reading, writing, and thinking skills I learned as an English major, whether I am conducting research in archives, writing in the library, presenting at a conference, or teaching in the classroom. In addition to working on my own scholarship and teaching Princeton undergraduates, I work as a Project Manager at Princeton’s Center for Digital Humanities, an interest sparked by my research assistantship at Dickinson with Assistant Professor Jacob Sider Jost. I still keep in touch with many of the Dickinson English professors who shaped my intellectual trajectory—a testament to the one-on-one connections the department fosters—and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to pursue my scholarly interests in English literature on the graduate level and beyond.
Emily Smith ’16:
My English degree from Dickinson has advanced my career in so many ways. I work for BNY Mellon, an investment bank, as the supervisor of a team in the asset servicing department. My job involves looking at countless tiny details and understanding how they fit into the big picture, something English majors do every single day. Big assignments like the thesis prepared me to successfully take on major projects at work. I am so grateful for the amazing English faculty, who taught me confidence and leadership skills that help me in my current role as a team supervisor. Most importantly, I learned to communicate effectively (an invaluable skill which is somewhat rare in my industry). Even though I might not work in an “expected” field for an English major, I believe my English education from Dickinson equipped me with the critical thinking and communication skills necessary for a successful career in any industry.