May 26th, 2016 §
Christye Watkins reported back to us earlier this year about events in her life since graduating, as Christye Estes, nearly seven years ago. An English creative writing major, Christye, now married (obviously, given the name-change), works as editor-in-chief of all outward-facing content for Volt Athletics, a Seattle fitness firm whose mission is “to provide all athletes and teams with affordable access to professionally-built strength and conditioning.” She’s also author of Volt’s blog. To top off her skill set, Christye’s become a certified strength and conditioning specialist. “My position allows me to marry my two loves,” she says: “writing and the human body.”
“I chose to major in English because it combined so many other disciplines that I loved and couldn’t decide between,” Christye writes in an email. “One year after graduation, if you’d asked me if I’d have chosen differently, I would have said yes. Now going on seven years post-undergrad, I wouldn’t have changed a . . . thing.”
“Never thought I’d actually be able to turn that writing degree into a legitimate career, but not a day goes back that I’m not thankful for it.” Christye’s sentiment isn’t that unusual, though her dynamism and drive certainly are. Her path shows what can be done with the skills provided by an English major applied to a life that reflects the whole person living it.
Speaking candidly, Christye has this to say about her choice of major, ten years after applying to English: “It’s funny how the thing you choose when you’re a dumb eighteen-year-old can turn out wonderfully for your twenty-eight-year-old self!”
Wonderfully indeed, Christye. We in English are proud of your accomplishments!
October 15th, 2015 §
Some explanation is in order! Gabe (English major, Class of 2014) starred in a production of a play called The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) at the Shorecrest Performing Arts Center in Shorecrest, WA last weekend, not all of the Bard’s plays. Gabe describes The Complete Works as follows: “three guys, one dead playwright, and 37 plays, all in under two hours.”
Quite the feat, and one in keeping with Gabe’s work as a young actor and much more; there’s nothing abridged about his aspirations. “Briefly,” says Gabe, no doubt intending the irony, “I’m pursuing performance in music, circus arts, and acting, with a day (night) job at Teatro Zinzanni,” a Seattle dinner theatre along the lines of Cirque du Soleil. “It’s a wild ride,” he concludes.
Hang on tight, Gabe, and best of luck with your career.
April 23rd, 2015 §
Former English major Heather (Eggen) Bowman was recently elected partner at the Portland, Oregon law firm Bodyfelt Mount, where she practices civil litigation, focusing specifically on employment litigation and defense of professional malpractice claims.
After graduating in 2001, Heather put her English degree to direct use teaching English literature at Qiqihar University in northeastern China. Teaching Chinese English majors their only English literature class in their college careers was a challenge, writes Heather, not only because of the intricacies of English language and literature, but also because of the foreignness to her students of the history, politics, geography, and thinking of the West.
As a lawyer, Heather continues, on a daily basis, to develop skills first honed at SPU. Although she rarely has an opportunity to quote William Blake, she constantly interprets documents and case law, tells client stories, and writes and argues her way to (she hopes) good results.
April 2nd, 2015 §
Kate Hoskins, former English major (Class of 2010), recently got in touch with the English Department to report on her life post-graduation. She offers advice for all those finishing up in June:
“I spent the next few years [after graduation] teaching elementary school, and was extremely grateful for a degree that helped me make a difference in my community. College prepared me to teach, but at twenty-five, I had hit the mid-life crisis of Millennials and needed to make a change. I didn’t have a back-up plan. Or a game plan. I just knew I needed to make room for something new.
There are a million ways to make a difference in the world, and I’m learning to see that my way of making a difference might look different than I thought it would. I have friends that have made it into Response and etc. publications for their work in cancer research and non-profits. Other friends made post-grad life look charmed by having jobs or weddings lined up directly following graduation. At the time, my heart ached with envy, and I longed for a similar security. In the four or five years since graduating, many of these friends have realized that they desire something other than the security and success that they’ve found in their professional careers. Some have left jobs, others have gone back to school, and I’ve been humbled to realize that everyone goes through seasons of uncertainty, questioning, and transition in their own good time.
The good news is that your major does not determine your life. You will continue finding out who you are and who God has made you to be long after graduation. Thankfully, it is a lifelong process—a process that is not to be feared, but welcomed. Trust that God will continue to guide you as you move beyond this campus and your next job or internship. It’s okay to be a barista, to move home, to rest, to travel, to stop, and to let things go. Listen to your instincts and don’t force something to happen. Know that you’re going to be okay and there is no formula for your freshman year of life. Take comfort knowing that the first year out is surprisingly unsettling.”
December 4th, 2014 §
A recent email from yet another of our alums, Ashley Smith:
After graduating with a degree in English Literature I worked for a seafood company in Seattle for a couple of years. I was lucky enough to get to travel to Alaska’s Aleutian Chain twice a year and work with fishermen injured while working.
The travel bug bit me during those trips, so in 2008 I packed up and shipped off to the African country of Namibia. I volunteered with an organization called World Teach. They placed me at a secondary school teaching English, and I lived and fell in love with a native family and a fascinating and beautiful country.
After my year flew by, I moved back to the US and straight to Phoenix, Arizona. I worked for a year doing anything I possibly could to make money and finally landed at Yelp.com as a local Account Manager assisting local businesses with their advertising. I was lucky enough to find Yelp when it was still young and the Phoenix office held less than 50 employees. We are now (almost four years later) an office of about 800 and a publicly traded company; and I have moved from local account management to working with National Advertising clients around the country.
I get to travel and manage advertising budgets of over a million dollars a year. It’s very interesting and definitely keeps me on my toes! Two weeks ago, I was offered and accepted a position at Yelp managing a team of my own National Account Managers. I’m very excited to see where this next adventure teaches and takes me!