Hear from Our Recent Grads!

Congratulations to the Class of 2019! Click to learn more about the English major from our recent grads!

We are so proud of the hard work, passion, creativity, critical acumen, and ethical sensitivity that students bring to their studies in English. To learn more about our recent grads' experiences in the English major, we interviewed newly minted alumni Samantha Rubin, Corinne Brubaker, DeForest Rolnick-Wihtol, Kieandra Koch and Oliver Hansell. Check out the interviews below.

Hearty congratulations to Samantha, Corinne, DeForest, Kieandra, Oliver, and all of the Class of 2019!


Meet Samantha Rubin, an English major with a Creative Writing minor, as well as a public relations officer for Sigma Tau Delta and a Writing Associate with the Writing Associates Program.

Q: What are some of your proudest accomplishments from your time in the English Dept?

A: I’m most proud of the friends that I’ve made in the major. They inspired me to be the person that I am, and my college/ English experience wouldn’t be the same without them.

Q: What is some advice you have for underclassmen in the English department or thinking about going into English?

A: If you’re in the major I suggest getting involved in the English undergraduate organizations. I’m grateful for Sigma Tau Delta and Writing Associates because I met my best friends through them. Also, student organizations allow you to apply the skills you’ve learned in class, and they teach you about teamwork, professionalism, time-management, etc. I also met a lot of other great people through these organizations who are just as motivated as I am, and I’m interested in following them and the many things they are doing.

I also suggest getting to know your instructors because they’re a valuable resource and they want you to succeed. Additionally, they’re cool people outside of their profession if you get to know them.

Lastly, if you’re on the fence about becoming an English major because of the question, “what do you do with that major?” Don’t be. English is more than English literature. This major teaches discipline, critical thinking, and valuable communication skills that translate into any field.

Q: What are your plans for the future?

A: I’m moving to Washington to start a position with Fisher Investments. Yes, an English major can go into the Finance industry, the world needs communicators! I’m excited about this opportunity because I can use my English and Creative Writing skills to make an intimidating industry more accessible to people.

 


 

Meet Corinne Brubaker, an English major, Spanish minor

Q: Were you involved in any English-affiliated student clubs or organizations?

A: I was involved in and an executive committee member of Sigma Tau Delta the National English Honors Society, a Prose Editor for Unbound Journal, and a Tutor for the Writing Associates program.

Q: What are some of your proudest accomplishments from your time in the English Dept?

A: My proudest accomplishment was receiving my acceptance letter from the 
University of Denver Publishing Institute, which had been a goal of mine for years. Presenting my paper at the Sigma Tau Delta National Convention was another proud moment of mine. Lastly, I was very proud of myself for earning an A in Lara Bovilsky's Milton course, a class which I strongly considered dropping because of how difficult it initially seemed.

Q: What is some advice you have for underclassmen in the English department or thinking about going into English?

A: I would strongly urge English majors to get to know their professors and GE's well. Attending office hours frequently and speaking up in class will show them that you truly care about succeeding in their class. Also, get involved! The best memories and friendships of my college career have come from the clubs and organizations that I was involved in.  
Q: What are your plans for the future?

A: I am headed to Denver to study the field of publishing at the Publishing Institute. From there I hope to become an Editor, though my irrational dream job is to be a florist/doula.

 


 

 

DeForest Rolnick-Wihtol reading.Meet DeForest Rolnick-Wihtol, an English and Spanish double major, as well as the Executive Committee Director for the UO Poetry Slam Team and the English Dept’s social media manager for 2019.

Q: What are some of your proudest accomplishments from your time in the English Dept?

A: I published four books of poetry during my undergrad, as well as submitting my work to many literary magazines, including the Siren and Unbound on campus. I even submitted my collection “Wild Horses” to the Northwest Undergraduate Conference on Literature and won an honorable mention. I’m also very proud of the time I spent working as a Humanities Undergraduate Research Fellow under professor Kate Myers, and that I am graduating from both my majors summa cum laude and from Spanish with honors. It’s also been amazing to work as the English Dept’s social media manager — it was a huge honor and I hope I have done the English department justice!

Q: What is some advice you have for underclassmen in the English department?

A: Push yourself, don’t settle for safety, and never underestimate your own abilities. Most experiences are more incredible, more useful, and more life-changing than you imagine them, and you are more incredible, more able, and more resilient than you imagine yourself.

Q: What are your plans for the future?

A: This summer I will be earning my certification to teach English as a foreign language in Puerto Vallarta, México, and then settling in Querétaro, MX to work in U.S.-Mexican relations and climate justice. And keep your eyes out for a fifth book of poetry!

 


 

Meet Kieandra Koch, an English major who “switched from Human Physiology and never looked back.”

Q: Were you involved in any English-affiliated student clubs or organizations?

A: I was a part of the Writing Associates program, under the direction of Kate Myers. Being in this program was hugely beneficial to me not just because of the way it introduced me to teaching pedagogies and encouraged me to create my own philosophy of what it means to be a good teacher, but also because it helped me hone my skills in communication and professionalism. All of these skills I plan to bring with me as I move on to graduate school and the professional world beyond that.

Q: What are some of your proudest accomplishments from your time in the English Dept?

A: It's hard to say what my proudest accomplishment is from my time in the English department; I feel I've had many small accomplishments over the years that have encouraged me to stick with it even in difficult and overwhelming times.

When I joined the Writing Associates program I set a goal for myself to stick with it for as long as possible, so I felt proud when I met my goal and spent four terms in the program, after which I graduated. Being a writing tutor challenged me in many ways - academically and personally - so I felt proud of myself for sticking with it even when it was difficult.

I've also made it onto the Dean's List every term since I switched to the English major. Grades obviously aren't the only indicator of success, but that kind of recognition has brought me a lot of pride as well.

Q: What is some advice you have for underclassmen in the English department or thinking about going into English?

A: My advice to underclassmen, and anyone thinking about going into English, is to always be open to new viewpoints and interpretations. That advice is good for anyone I think, but especially for English students who will constantly come into contact with different ideas and opinions - not just about texts, but also about people, life, and the world as we know it. I think it can be challenging to keep an open mind and consider other people's interpretations and ideas, but it’s when everyone lets go of their preconceived notions about being the most “correct” that the best discussions of literature happen, and everyone learns more – I know I certainly did.

Q: What are your plans for the future?

A: This month, I’ll be starting graduate school here at the University of Oregon to get my Masters in Education through the UO Teach Program. I’m hoping to become a middle or high school English teacher. A lot of people ask why I would ever want to become a teacher (the crappy salary! The bratty kids!), but I can’t think of anything I’d rather do. English, literature, and language in general are important, now more than ever, and I know it can change lives because it changed mine. It’s my sincerest hope that I can pass that passion onto the next generation.

 


Meet Oliver Hansell, an English major with a German minor.

Q: What are some of your proudest accomplishments from your time in the English Department?

A: I was on the Dean’s List several times and made some great friends.

Q: What is some advice you have for underclassmen in the English department or thinking about going into English?

A: Read smarter, not more: learn how to skim.

Q: What are your plans for the future?

A: I’m applying for a Fulbright scholarship to teach English in Germany.