"My English degree is the foundation of my career. If you can write, you can do anything."
~ Jimmy Daly
"My professors taught me how to think creatively, read analytically and write persuasively. "
~ Michael A. Iannucci
"My studies provided a solid background in literature and honed my critical skills for my own writing."
~ Catherine Carter
"I made lifelong friends and I got my butt kicked intellectually. I’m eternally grateful for both."
~ Alexander Long
"The friendship and support of my mentors helped me to grow tremendously as a writer."
~ Erinn Batykefer
"I became an Assistant Editor in less than two years with my English degree."
~ Rachel A. Gearhart
"I use my English degree to advocate for my clients. The program helped me become a better writer & thinker."
~ Mary Akhimien
"I honed my writing & research on diverse issues of the human condition, focusing on ethics and civic justice."
~ Brian Byrd
"An education in the humanities helps to render the world into a language that is profound, mysterious & complex."
~ Rachel Eliza Griffiths
"My internships & editorial work at UD prepared me for a challenging but ever-rewarding career as a reporter."
~ Wallace McKelvey
"My job demands perfection when it comes to grammar, accuracy and objectivity, and it needs to happen fast."
~ Matt O'Donnell
"I found my passion for counseling students and helping them stay on track to attend college."
~ Sara Linton
"I got a great job teaching 9th grade English and film studies and will soon pursue my master's degree."
~ Kelly Emery
"Taking a variety of English courses allowed me to master and teach the modes of discourse to my own students."
~ Danielle Allen
"I secured my job prior to graduation at a UD teacher job fair. "
~ Melissa Paparozzi
What can you do with an English major? A better question might be, what can't you do? Our alumni have gone on to successful careers in a wide range of fields – education, journalism, law, the media, politics, professional writing, for instance. To see where an English degree could take you, read these stories about just a few of our thousands of alumni and their successful lives beyond UD.
Sam is a former U of D student who has been afforded excellent opportunities right here in Delaware! Sam was hired after her first interview at Sussex Central High School. After a year of transforming into a professional, forming nurturing relationships with her students, and helping the tenth graders drastically improve their state test scores, Sam was offered a job at Howard High School of Technology. Here, with the addition of teaching Night School and leading an after school program, Sam has continued to grow professionally. Sam attributes much of her initial success to the English Education program at Delaware. The rigorous expectations of each course, pleasant and positive professors, meaningful opportunities for collaboration, and eye-opening experiences for professional immersion all contributed to Sam’s happiness and efficacy as an ELA instructor.
Brian believes UD’s English Department is exemplary. Earning a UD Bachelor’s Degree in English has been transformational to Brian’s professional development, and particularly aids him in his campus work facilitating student engagement, persistence, service and leadership.
Brian honed his writing, research, and interests on diverse issues of the human condition, specifically focusing on morality, ethics and civic justice, under the mentorship and tutelage of English Professors Dr. Carol E. Henderson, Dr. D. Heyward Brock, and Dr. Robert D. Bethke. Following graduation, Brian earned an MA in English at the University of Akron, and an MSEd, with interdisciplinary foci in urban education, anthropology, and higher education management, respectively, at the University of Pennsylvania.
Throughout his career, Brian has served diverse communities as a director, researcher, and pro-bono consultant to public school districts and education programs broadly. Currently he is an academic coordinator at Paul Quinn College, an Historically Black Institution of Higher Education in Dallas, Texas.
He continues his research examining how disparities in education, law, public policy, healthcare, economics and neighborhood demography shape the social identity of adolescents and young adults vis-à-vis resiliency, risk, vulnerability, and adaptation.
The day after Rachel graduated from the University of Delaware, she moved to Albuquerque, NM in order to pursue an MA at the University of New Mexico in the Rhetoric and Writing department. Knowing that she wanted to go in a different direction than teaching with her English degree, Rachel interned at Albuquerque The Magazine for six months, was promoted to Copywriter and, eventually, Assistant Editor.
While she didn't take any courses in the Journalism department at UDel, the research and archival work she did in class and as a Research Assistant for Professor Mary Jean Pfaelzer prepared her well for a career in professional writing and editing. She finished her MA in Rhetoric and Writing with a concentration in Professional Writing in May 2012 and continues to write and edit for the magazine.
An assistant professor of English at CUNY, John Jay College, Dr. Long has published three books of poems, the latest of which, Still Life, won the White Pine Press Poetry Prize in 2011. His work appears in AGNI, The American Poetry Review, Blackbird, Callaloo, and The Southern Review, among others. Long has received grants, fellowships, scholarships, & residencies from Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, Prague Summer Seminars, & The Vermont Studio Center.
The UD Department of English, practically, landed him a tenure-track job in Manhattan; metaphysically, it offered him a life with meaning. Long took the “straight ahead” track of the PhD, which forced him to read, write, and think like a scholar, not like the “creative” writer his previous degrees demanded. More importantly, Long’s career lays bare the false distinction between “scholarly” and “creative” pursuits. His belief, and practice, are simple: one reads and writes—every day—or one doesn’t.
When Catherine Carter received her PhD in English, the only door it seemed likely to open was to another decade of adjunct teaching. But the PhD became the foundation for a tenured position as director of a strong English Education program and for two books of award-winning poetry from LSU. Her work has appeared in Poetry, Studies in American Fiction, Ploughshares, Poe Studies, Orion, English Education, and Best American Poetry 2009, among others.
Dr. Carter says, “When I came to graduate school, I didn’t really imagine any future, let alone the one I’ve made. I didn’t know that most poets have a day job, or how to convert a paper into a publishable article, or how much academic work is also administrative. But UD’s English Department assigned me a wide variety of classes to teach and provided a solid background in literature and writing. My first academic publication began in Professor Leo Lemay’s Poe seminar. Classes with Professors Snodgrass, Brown, and Walker honed my critical skills for my own writing. And my interest in the little-known novelist Kathleen Thompson Norris was born in Morris Library, where I was shelving books for summer money. Even if you aren’t sure where you’re going, the roots you grow in grad school will sustain all kinds of branches.”
Michael Iannucci is an attorney at Blank Rome LLP, one of America’s leading law firms, where he represents companies in corporate and commercial disputes across the country. At UD, Michael was a pitcher on the baseball team, an NCAA student-representative, a Student Athletic Advisory Council representative, a three-time CAA Scholar Athlete and president of the English Honor Society.
He credits his English education for much of his success. Specifically, his professors, especially Professors Kristen Poole and Joan DelFattore, taught him how to think creatively, read analytically and write persuasively. Professors DelFattore and Susan Goodman also helped him develop his public speaking abilities. In addition, he credits them for supporting his decision to pursue law school (despite having several teaching offers at the time) and their continued support in his career.
His advice to current college students is to enjoy the fastest four years of your life and, academically, take advantage of the faculty because they are some of the most intelligent and kindest people you will ever meet. His advice to alumni is to continue to bleed blue and gold, and maintain the fiery passion that UD deserves because it is, simply put, an amazing place where dreams come true.
Mike, his wife Christie, also a UD alum, and their twins, Alexandria and Lucas, reside in Marlton, New Jersey.
Mary Akhimien is a business law attorney at Connolly Gallagher LLP. While at UD, Mary cultivated a habit of excellence by taking rigorous courses with professors who were known to be “hard graders.” In addition to her English degree, she minored in Legal Studies and Philosophy. Mary was also actively involved in numerous student organizations. She was President of the Pre-law Students Association, Vice President of Phi Alpha Delta Pre-law Fraternity and Secretary of the University's Gospel Choir. Mary was also active in the Center for Black Culture's Each One Reach One Program and volunteered to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina in the Ninth Ward section of New Orleans during her senior year.
Mary credits the English program with helping her to become a better writer and thinker. Mary encourages all students to pursue their dreams and never succumb to fear. Her motto is, “Do your best and let God take care of the rest!
After graduating from University of Delaware, Erinn Batykefer went on to earn an MFA in poetry and creative nonfiction from the prestigious Creative Writing Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She then won a two-year Stadler Poetry Fellowship at Bucknell University, and her first collection, Allegheny, Monongahela (Red Hen Press, 2009) won the Benjamin Saltman Prize in Poetry. She returned to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010 and earned her Master of Library and Information Studies in 2012. While pursuing that degree, Erinn co-founded the Library as Incubator Project with fellow artist and librarian Laura Damon-Moore; through the project website, they promote and facilitate creative collaboration between libraries and artists of all types, and advocate for libraries as incubators of the arts.
After teaching 9th and 10th grade English for one year, Sara moved to Northern California and pursued her Master’s Degree in School Counseling. During this time she held various positions in Student Life at two local colleges. She enjoyed higher education, but was always drawn back to her classroom experiences that stemmed from the English Education program. The hands-on, classroom experience Sara gained from the program prepared her to manage her own classroom and to learn more about the counseling side of education. Sara found her passion working with students and helping them stay on track to attend college. Her foundation in English Education has prepared her immensely for her current responsibilities leading workshops and forming relationships with students while supporting their success to and through higher education.
Kristin Zinsmeister is the Communications Assistant at U.S. Figure Skating, the sport’s national governing body. There, she writes and edits press documents, covers national and international events, and communicates with media outlets. As a former athlete and public relations officer for UD’s college skating team, Zinsmeister has been instrumental in promoting U.S. Figure Skating’s collegiate programs. While at UD, Zinsmeister was as a tutor at the Writing Center and a teacher’s assistant for a technical editing class as well as the Assistant Editor of the Writing Center Journal. She built upon her English-centered work by conducting and assisting with research projects, which she presented at writing conferences. Zinsmeister’s application of her studies to outside-classroom settings developed her understanding of oral and written communication and gave her a career using social media and technology to appeal to audiences.Zinsmeister’s college accomplishments and career reflect the guidance she received from her professors who identified and cultivated her strengths into a marketable niche.
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