“For me, the best part of being an English major was the knowledge that my professors recognized my growth, not only over the course of a semester but my entire four years.  There is a certain comfort in knowing that your professors care about your success and it made me take my work more seriously.”

Morgan Lowery ’12

My experiences as an English major at Mary Baldwin were nothing but positive. The classes that were offered covered a wide range of not only the historic and genre spectrums of literature, but also a variety of real-life applications for the study of literature. With the help of the faculty, I was able to progress through the core curriculum in a way that catered to my interests and aspirations through course selection, individual guidance from the faculty members, and the attendance of conferences and internships that aligned with my personal goals. 

The Outrageous Fortune Literary Magazine was the most important internship I had during college. I gained concrete, first-hand experience career-oriented areas like online publishing as we crafted each issue, marketing and networking as we publicized our magazine and calls for submissions, and of course in the careful review and acceptance of other undergraduate creative work from across the country. The trust placed in the students on the magazine staff allowed us to make the important decisions for the magazine became the clear prior experience that put me a step ahead in the field after graduating.”

Amanda K. Figueroa ’11

“In my line of work, I analyze technical language and translate it into concepts my less-technical clients can understand, and translate abstract client concepts into specific tasks for our development team. My work as an MBC English major–particularly reading Chaucer in Middle English, which certainly required plenty of translation work–strongly prepared me for the daily challenges I face at work. Although I don’t get to sit around and discuss the works of Thomas Hardy, there is no question that the analysis and synthesis skills I developed through my work with the MBC English professors help me excel in my career.”

Genie Gratto, ’94

“The education I received in the English department at Mary Baldwin greatly aided me in obtaining my current position as a production assistant at Taylor & Francis. Not only did I enjoy the curriculum’s strong focus on literature, but the exposure to different kinds of writing prepared me for the multiple genres of journals I encounter in my job. The encouragement and improvement I received in my writing from the professors enabled me to have more confidence in my judgment of others’ writing. I know that my senior year internship, as the fiction editor of Outrageous Fortune, is an eye-catching element on my resume. My experiences communicating with contributors during the internship especially prepared me for the communications I currently have with authors. Mary Baldwin’s small size enables students to have opportunities that they may not have at larger institutions, and this definitely gives a competitive edge in the job market.”

Jen Leedom ’11

“I am convinced that I did not know how to read or write before I came to Mary Baldwin. Of course, I was literate in the practical sense, but it was the professors of the English department who taught me to read for meaning and write for discovery. It opened up for me a literary world that was inviting, mysterious, and unlocked for exploration. I adored my professors and academic advisor, enjoyed class, and felt very connected to other English majors. My favorite classes involved creative writing. I use my experiences/education every day, whether it’s in personal Bible study, in a class, communicating with/teaching my children, or even reading for fun.”

Dara Powers Parker (Ailor) ’02

“I serve as the executive director for a 22-member board of directors which consists of 90% men over the age of 45. With solid communication skills, I serve them extremely well. I write releases for our association every day. Both orally and in writing, I have to be concise and pointed in order to be effective. I started fine-tuning these skills at MBC. I continue to learn how to communicate more effectively every day, but I firmly believe my solid foundation comes from MBC and my English courses. I am a more well-rounded, effective individual (and professional) for my time as an MBC English major.

Inside and outside of my profession, displaying strong communication skills helps me get where I need to go. To be blunt, it helps me get what I want. I find that people often know what they want to say but don’t know how to say it in such a way as to garner support or sway another’s position. Speaking effectively and intelligently helps me be a better lobbyist. My abilities to write and communicate a specific message are the main reasons I can successfully run an association in a largely older, male-dominated industry. In part, those abilities have given me more confidence to tackle larger issues and really affect positive change both in my job and in my own life.”

Molly Pugh (Payne) ’00

“I’m so glad that I chose Mary Baldwin College and that I majored in English. My English classes taught me to appreciate and think about literature in ways that I never had before. It made me a more effective and confident writer. My English degree has honed my critical thinking skills and verbal abilities. I was able to study the history and literature of the Elizabethan period at the University of Oxford in the summer of 2009. Majoring in English or history is not a prerequisite of the Virginia Program at Oxford, but my English major definitely helped prepare me for this intense academic and cultural experience!

I minored in education, and obtained my English teaching credential through my work at Mary Baldwin. I am now teaching in Shenandoah County and I love my career and the fulfillment it gives me. Mary Baldwin is a wonderful school, particularly for adult students like myself. I can’t speak for other departments, but the professors in the English department challenged, encouraged, and sometimes infuriated me but always made me strive to improve as a reader, writer and thinker. I love my MBC English degree!”

 Kathryn Reyna’10