English Department initiates first career week

The English Career Week was designed to connect students already in the major or interested in it with alumni using their degree in various professions. ORACLE FILE PHOTO

The English Department is hosting a career week, which began Monday and spans through Friday, to introduce students to different career paths and options by connecting them with alumni in the field.

The week is the first of its kind and is filled with virtual panels and social events designed to assist students in planning their next steps after graduation.

Undergraduate and graduate students will be connected with alumni in target professions, including law, publishing, government, nonprofits and others.

“A common misconception about an English major is that you can’t do anything with it professionally,” said English professor Emily Jones. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

“They’re lawyers, curators, educators and librarians. They work in government, business, the arts and more.”

The career week is being organized by a committee of several faculty from the Department of English.

Among them are Jones, English professor Kristin Allukian, literature program Coordinator Julie Armstrong, MA adviser Jessica Cook, Assistant to the Chair Joyce Karpay, graduate certificate of comparative literature Coordinator Susan Mooney and academic adviser Michael Stowe.

There will be 10 virtual, hourlong Q&A-style information sessions. Each event will be moderated by a different faculty member. Attendance is not limited.

The first session was held Monday on Microsoft Teams at 5:30 p.m. Alumni Harley Campbell and Layne Farmen spoke about graduate school applications and experiences.

A session about publishing and editing will take place Tuesday at 12:30 p.m., with guest speakers Tom Hoeler, Allison Renzulli, Miriam Tuliao, Molly Turpin and Eric Deggans. More information about other sessions can be found on MyUSF.

“Our alums will talk briefly about how [their English degrees] led them to their current careers, and then students will have a lot of time to ask questions,” Jones said.

The Unwind in the Botanical Gardens will be the only in-person event for the week and it will be held Thursday from 4-6 p.m. There will be games, garden tours and more.

The tours will be given by students who are in the garden class, JGHC Community Garden Service-Learning Course, which is a zero-credit Honors College course that combines gardening, literature and community service.

“This will be a time for majors and non-majors who want to start meeting people in the department to socialize with one another and some faculty,” Stowe said.

The events will also provide information on opportunities students have while studying at USF, such as internships and research positions. A session regarding undergraduate research is taking place Wednesday at 2 p.m.

“We urge folks to attend the events that interest them to learn, often through chatting with our own graduates about the many professional opportunities available to students who graduate with an English major or minor,” Jones said.

English Career Week will offer several opportunities to learn about different careers that can be pursued with an English major, according to Jones.

The final event of the week will address internships which require an English degree and it will take place Friday at 11 a.m.

Friday’s guest speakers include senior international studies and professional and technical communication double-major Rachel Stutler and senior political science, psychology and English triple-major Hellen Popa.

The pandemic may have some people feel alienated from others, and pessimistic about the future, said Jones.

She hopes the events offered this week will allow students to veer from that mindset.

“We hope that the English Career Week events will help students to connect with alumni and with each other, discover exciting career potential they may not have known they had and build a supportive community within English and across [other] disciplines,” Jones said.