Alumni Career Profiles

Susanna Craib-Cox ’96

"There's so little time to make a good impression on people, and a badly-written or overlong piece won't advance your cause."

Jeanne Dillon ’96

"I would not have been as successful as I have been in any of these jobs if it had not been for the strong writing, editing, and critical thinking skills I gained as an English major at Washington and Lee."

Jason Shaffer '97

"The example provided by the dedicated and caring faculty in the English Department inspired me and gave me a model of professional service toward which I could aspire."

Rebecca Makkai '99

"There are many ways to be a writer, but there's no substitute, I believe, for deep study of the best literature available, the best stuff produced in hundreds of years of human effort."

Jenn Backe ’04

"After majoring in English at Washington and Lee University and participating as a work/study intern at Shenandoah throughout college, I was inspired to pursue a publishing career."

Meg Franklin '04

"[T]hanks to my studies in English and creative writing at Washington and Lee, I am able to speak articulately and forcefully about my work in a way that actually enhances my paintings."

Mike Rennard '07

"I've found a richly fulfilling career simply by pursuing what I love, and I attribute a great deal of my success to the professors in the W&L English department who helped to teach me how to think."

Audrey Horn ’08

"Clients and colleagues ask me to distill complex issues and policies down to the most salient points, and communicate my findings and analysis in a clear and concise way."

Liz Williams Payne ’08

"Being an English major prepared me for my career by teaching me valuable analytical skills that I need to accurately assess the needs of my business and my people."

Brianna Gapsis '09

"I’m now in my fourth year of medical school, and I continue to write as I am learning to heal."

Regina Mills ’09

"The knowledge I gained as an English major at W&L led to more confidence in teaching my content area... and successful entrance into a Top 20 graduate program in English."

Eric Reitz '09

"[M]y English degree has equipped me with the skills needed to compose my own official biography, various press releases, and all other public relations documents I need to move forward."

Lucy Hundley '10

"He told me he knew I could learn web skills, but writing and communication strengths had to be developed and cultivated for years."

Adam Lewis ’10

"Despite certain perceptions of the English major's practicality in the American workforce, it has contributed more to my overall on-the-job abilities than any other experience—by far."

Michael Morella ’10

"I regularly engage with a wide range of scholars, specialists, and colleagues, made all the easier by the small-class discussions and one-on-one conversations that were everyday occurrences in Payne Hall."

Eric Veres ’10

"Success depended not on my views, but on the effectiveness of my oral and written expression of those views."

Jenna Worsham '10

"I think my major's rigorous focus on modern poetry in particular helped prepare me for a focus on modern theatrics."