Our students leave well prepared to compete in the evolving and competitive world of professional writing. Here’s what some of our former students are saying about their experiences at JCU and professional writing:

Katie Statham ’16 (PW Minor; Technical/Proposal writer for National Enterprise Systems, Inc.):

“What most stood out to me about my time studying in the JCU English department was being surrounded by professors who cared – truly cared – about their students and their students’ future. They took the time to get to know me as a person so that they could better understand me; this allowed me to both feel comfortable to be my authentic self.  It also challenged me to produce responses to texts that were analytical and creatively stimulating. I will always appreciate that experience..”

Lindsey Fano ’16 (PW Major; Program Director at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary, NC):

“I decided to become a professional writing major because I felt it would be an extremely useful way to focus my love for writing into something employable. I realize now how true this is.  I am amazed day after day how I continually return to techniques and skills I learned through this major.”

Abigail Rings ’15 (PW Major; works as a Social Media Manager and Content Creator for Front Porch Solutions, a digital marketing agency):

“The professional writing concentration gave me the skills I needed to translate good writing into the business world and taught me never to underestimate the power of words to get things done.  Writing well made all the difference in my career journey, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my professional writing foundation.”

Jennifer Flynn ’14 (PW Major; works at PR Newswire as a Customer Content Specialist):

“The program taught me a lot about writing and – even more than that – it broadened my sense of what an English degree could entail.  In some classes, I was writing literary analysis, and in other classes I was writing marketing or technical documentation.  It really helped to challenge me and to develop my writing skills.  I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.”

Hilary Froelich ’14 (PW Minor; currently completing her MA in theology at Lourdes University; youth minister at St. Joseph Parish in Sylvania, OH):

“Working with actual clients was an experience I don’t think most students expect to get from being in a classroom.  Thankfully, the professional writing minor gave us that chance.”

Allison Gall ’14 (PW Major; currently completing her MA in student nonprofit administration at JCU):

“I feel prepared for a variety of careers, and the professional writing courses have helped me easily transition into the specific writing style of development and stewardship in nonprofit organizations.”

Karol Baroyka ’14 (PW Major; currently completing his MBA at JCU, while playing and coaching soccer in Poland):

“It was here at JCU that the English courses stimulated my interest for writing beyond just literature and where I began to make stronger connections between language and the outside world.”

Danielle Panella ’13 (PW Major; completed MS in speech pathology at Syracuse University; now works full time for a healthcare system in upstate New York):

“The education I obtained through my English major and professional writing track in particular has transpired in my work on a daily basis. I frequently make presentations to my staff and write protocols for them.  The medical science writing course I took emphasized the importance of conveying information to a lay audience.”

Stephanie Dziemianzuk ’09, ’11G, says:

“The English Department at John Carroll University not only prepared me for life as a professional writer, but also as a critical thinker. It was clear from the very beginning that everyone in the department was devoted to my success as a student of English, as a writer, and as an individual. I took every chance I could to expose myself to writers and criticism of all sorts to gain a wider view of the discipline as a whole. Both my work in the Writing Center and my role as a Graduate Assistant proved to be invaluable when applying for jobs post-graduation—not only did I have the opportunity to guide by way of mechanics and grammar usage, I also had the opportunity to share my successes and failures as a writer with others. In this way, I have found being a teacher of writing has afforded me the opportunity to see the act of writing from many different perspectives, giving me the flexibility to write for a variety of audiences and brand voices.

No longer is ‘the English major’ bound to limited career opportunities—with the amount of information online growing at an astonishing rate, there has never been a greater need for clear and concise writers! A professional writing degree from John Carroll University will open many doors to technical writing and copywriting positions in the area and nationwide. Stay on top of what you’re writing. Ask questions. Strategize. Talk to people… you never know when an introduction will turn into a career opportunity.”

Ann Steiner ’04, ’07G, received her B.A. in English and M.A. in English with a concentration in Composition and Rhetoric from John Carroll. Since completion of her master’s degree, she has been employed as an analyst at The Freedonia Group, where she performs client-directed research of industrial markets. Though she had no idea such a job existed before she applied for it or that an English major would be remotely qualified, her time in John Carroll’s English Department prepared her well for the responsibilities of the position. The most important skills she has been able to transfer from academia to business include addressing different audiences, writing about topics of which you have varying degrees of prior knowledge (let alone interest), and learning to revise and to incorporate feedback. She believes she has thrived in this role – and that other English majors could, as well – thanks to the curiosity, adaptability, and critical thinking encouraged while pursuing her degrees at John Carroll. Her best advice is to become familiar with the language of the industry you’re interested in and to be prepared to have to give up conventions you’ve come to love to suit the style of your employer or genre – believe it or not, your life will not end if forced to abandon the Oxford comma.

Jon Steiner ’03 received his B.S. in Mathematics from John Carroll University in 2003 with a major in English Literature. Upon graduating he volunteered in the Alum Service Corp to teach math and English at Desmet Jesuit High School in St. Louis, Missouri, followed by a year of actual–though not particularly gainful–employment teaching and coaching at his alma mater, Saint Louis University High School. Two years of Jesuit, teenage, all-male education must have been enough though, because he enrolled in JCU’s graduate program in English Literature the following August. Since completing his M.A., Jon has worked primarily in healthcare, in every capacity from market research to regulatory compliance to practice management to physician compensation modeling. He is currently a Senior Consultant at SS&G Healthcare, and whatever professional writing he still does often tends toward the dense and legalese–though he has been known to bury wild flourishes of flowery prose in his appendices.

When he first came to John Carroll in the summer of 1999, the 18-year old Jon expressed interest in double-majoring in Mathematics and English. Luckily, he was not dissuaded. As his adviser Dr. Kolesar explained to him (and as he’s explained to everyone since), both are about ideas–how do we (mis)represent them?  How do we support them?  How do we set about organizing them into something resembling competence or fluency or even beauty, on those rare occasions where we are so lucky?
We are not always so lucky, though. Sometimes life is banal and routine, and competence is all that we can hope to bear against it.  On those days, it’s important to be well-trained. And nothing ingrains well-trained competence quite like slogging through a five-page essay on “The Flea” or a seminar presentation on gender confusion in 18th c. English theater. To be concise and fair-minded, thoughtful and empathetic, and to be these things despite circumstances that would allow for less. Of all the wonderful things Jon learned in John Carroll’s English Department, that might be the one he’s ended up using most.