Alumni Career Panel — Fall, 2016
Our current students welcomed back five inspiring alumni to talk to about the career paths they followed since graduation:
- Amarin Young — Program Coordinator , YWCA of the University of Illinois— spoke about her recent transition from school to the workforce and how framing one’s skills is essential to compete with "more obvious” candidates from other majors, also speaking about the realm of non-profit organizations.
- Adam Bleakney — Head Coach, University of Illinois Wheelchair Track and Racing Teams— spoke on coaching and how a good teacher in the classroom, who impassions students about the content, serves as an excellent model for anyone who wishes to acquire some sort of leadership position, emphasizing that bonds of trust and understanding are essential to meaningful communication.
- Liza Booker — User Experience Analyst, Argonne National Laboratory — emphasized how the GSLIS school served as a wonderful conduit to the realm of UX (User eXperience) and how interviews/rejection can often be intimidating, but being persistent is key to succeeding.
- Luke Trayser — Senior Copywriter, Ivor Andrew— pushed students to keep their writing skills sharp and to get experience now (i.e., in college).
- Mike Santoro — President, Walker Sands Communications — encouraged English majors to get involved in business.
The panelists quickly dispelled the notion everyone has it “figured out” by the time they are in college, opting instead to emphasize the manner in which everyone’s interests, skill sets, majors, et cetera shift, adapt, and readjust as they move through life. Among the most workplace-useful skills the panelists developed as English undergraduates: close reading, writing, critical thinking, understanding audience, skill framing, interpreting information and data, sensitivity to human experience, and strong communication skills. Similarly, the panelists emphasized that taking chances and getting involved and trying different things out now (i.e. joining RSOs, volunteering, getting internships, taking classes outside one’s major, mentoring, and so forth during college) are imperative to helping shape ones post-undergraduate career.
For more information about the panelists and their career paths, please contact an advisor in English.
Ana V. Fleming, Writer