Jason Shaffer '97 Associate Professor of English, United States Naval Academy

The importance of the W&L English major to someone who became an English professor probably seems obvious, right? Not so much. I entered W&L with vague ideas about possible career paths, but no clear sense of what I wanted to do. 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. The challenging, rewarding work demanded in the major prepared me for the in-depth research that I engaged in during graduate classes and writing my dissertation. Academia is a risky field in the humanities, but I owe my own success to the English major at Washington and Lee.