Listen. Listen closely. Can you hear it? It’s that ever-looming question of “English major? English… What are you planning on doing with that?” However, you don’t have to feel your stomach drop every time this question is asked, because the English Department is here to help. This coming Monday, February 6th, the UP English department is hosting its annual “Life after the English Major” event. With a panel featuring four different alumni with a combined experience of 22 years in the outside world, the event will give first year students and soon to be graduates alike a taste of what the future might hold.
One of the alumni to attend is Alex Dickinson, who graduated in 2013. Now working as a writer for Instrument, a digital creative here in Portland that generates content for companies, Dickinson credits the English program with giving him the ability to see potential in his writing, as well as the tools to strive for growth. In his testimonial on the English Department Alumni page, Dickinson explained how his English degree prepared him for life after school: “The patience acquired from taking my time with my own writing in school, scrutinizing every word, to meet the high standards set by my instructors, showed me what it takes to make the best piece of writing possible. And that’s what’s required of a professional writer.”
Sarah Bokich, Class of ’06, took a different path and now works as a Service Marketing Manager for FEI Company, a microscopy company in Hillsboro that uses hardware and software to take images of the incredibly tiny partials that make up the natural world. Although not working in a career devoted to writing, Bokich continued to pursue her passion for poetry after graduating from the University of Portland. Recently her chapbook of poems, Rocking Chair at the End of the World, was accepted by Finishing Line Press and will be released in February of this year.
Alex Foy, Class of ’14, and Kelsey Fleharty, Class of ’10, will also be in attendance. Foy now works as a Brand Manager for OJ Skateboard Wheels, a company in Portland that specializes in rolling you towards the best skateboard wheels on the market. Fleharty, after graduation, attended law school at the University of Oregon and now works as an Associate Attorney at a firm in Portland. Offering a wide range of experience in a number of fields, these four alumni will bolster the hope you need to inform the doubters that yes, reading Emily Dickinson will help you after graduation, and yes, a humanities degree is giving you the best skills to enter into the wide, wide world of postgrad life. Or, at the very least, there will be cookies.
The Life After The English Major event will be held in Franz 015 on Monday, Feb. 6 at 5:45 pm.