"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
I’m currently a senior project manager for Geonetric, an IT firm that creates and implements Web-based software for healthcare clients.
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
Grey Dogs Design: freelance writing, editing, designing, print management
The small size of the classes and the school allowed me to get to know the professors, which I think enhanced the learning experience. The experience of analyzing writing has greatly benefitted me. People tend to think you’re a genius when you’re well-read and eloquent. My bosses tend to listen to my suggestions in part because they are expressed well.
Audrey Bess ’98
Fire & Forensics Case Manager for MJM Investigations
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
Owner/Operator of MAPP Consulting
Some of the most positive things about the English major were getting to know the English department faculty and being able to work with them one-on-one or go talk to them about class work. The professors teach small classes and are passionate about what they teach. The ability to analyze literature helps me as an English teacher faced with new texts.
Amy Skretta ’06
High School English Teacher, Fort Defiance, Virginia
I never realized how much further ahead of my peers I would be just by being able to communicate in a persuasive manner. Sales turned out to be, for me, being able to make complicated things seem simple and vice-versa. We did that EVERY DAY in our English classes. My only regret is that I didn’t have time to take EVERY English class. The one-on-one attention that the English faculty afforded us is absolutely irreplaceable. My ability to walk, logically, down a thought or idea is only because of their teaching style.
Jamie Curley-Dyce ’02
Former Sales Representative for pharmaceutical companies, currently a stay-at-home mother