Unique course for writing majors prepares students for career

Several English Writing and Rhetoric, ENGW, majors at St. Edward’s University have been accepted into top graduate programs in the country.

These students have credited their successes to supportive faculty, challenging coursework, and a passion for the subject.

Students and faculty have praised a class unique to the ENGW major, Career Preparation.

“Career Preparation course was a huge help for me. Writing a personal statement and revising an academic writing sample really helped me with my graduate school application,” said Hannah Davis, an ENGW major who is pursuing a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition at Texas Christian University.

Students in Career Preparation receive guidance for life beyond the undergraduate program, whether they choose to pursue graduate school or focus on building a career.

Besides the general writing track, ENGW students have the choice to pursue a specialization in journalism, creative writing or professional writing. Various core and supporting classes lead up to a required internship fulfillment at a local or on-campus at a program.

Some graduating ENGW majors cite the versatility of the ENGW department’s curriculum and Career Preparation as a notable contribution to their success.

Davis said St. Edward’s professors were integral to her academic success.

“I think the most helpful aspect of my major has been my professors. The courses have all provided me with challenging and interesting work, but without the influence of my professors, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I owe my success to them,” Davis said.

ENGW major, Ryan Mitchell, was recently accepted into a Masters program at Carnegie Mellon, and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Rhetoric. He found the expansiveness of the ENGW program as beneficial to his education. Although the ENGW curriculum covered a great number of topics, from grammar to visual design, Mitchell contends that his classes never wavered from the program’s central concern: rhetoric.

“I think that the major is microcosmic of the liberal arts education in general. I have taken classes that deal with topics from computer programming, Writing Online, to editing practices, Advanced Editing. What each class has in common is a constant acknowledgement of the rhetorical situation surrounding your work,” Mitchell said.

These graduating seniors have been affected by many of the professors in the ENGW department. 

For Mitchell, establishing a close relationship with his professors, allowed him to better cultivate his writing.

Jacob Lozano, ENGW major,  was recently accepted into the Ivy League research university, Dartmouth College. However, he said graduate school is not a valid choice for everyone.

“In order to make it in grad school, I think you have to have an understanding of what you want out of it. It’s not because it will make you more marketable or ultimately make you x thousand more in a job. It’s because you love doing what you do, and you don’t know what else to do but to learn more about it from people with experience,” Lozano said.

At Dartmouth College, Lozano plans to pursue a Master of Arts in Creative Writing with a specialization in Screenwriting.

Instructor of English Writing and Rhetoric, Beth Eakman, has noticed a number of notable trends within the ENGW community that have encourage student’s academic achievement. Eakman teaches a number of senior level ENGW courses including Magazine Writing and Career Preparation, a course unique to the ENGW department.

“Career Preparation is our last chance to give students an advantage before graduation. I think the course is one of the reasons our ENGW students have been so successful. In Career Preparation, we help identify the steps needed to accomplish students’ distinct goals,” Eakman said.

Eakman contends that ENGW majors are simply a dedicated group of students, capable of finding notable success and development through the ENGW department.

“ENGW, as a major, attracts hardworking students. No one becomes an ENGW major just to get rich or to have an easy college experience. In this way, the major self-selects dedicated and talented students,” Eakman said.