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Meet Our Graduates

See below for some information and testimonials from some of our graduates!

Stacy Ennis

Creative Consultant and Strategic Wordsmith at Creatively

B.A. English and Art, Boise State University
M.A. English and Comparative Literature, University of Cincinnati

Check out the video below for information about why an English major has been such an important part of Stacy’s career.

Stacy Ennis Transcript

Hi, students. My name is Stacey Ennis. I want to talk to you little bit about what you can do with an English major. My English major has allowed me to do so many exciting things that I never would have been able to do without it. I moved overseas to a couple of different countries, Dominican Republic and Vietnam to teach English, and then I came back and got my graduate degree, also in English. My graduate degree is in writing and editing and from there I really set myself up to be able to do anything I wanted.

The thing about our world today is that technology has enabled machines to do a lot of stuff, but the one thing machines can’t do is create really compelling content. So, if you have the ability to be able to read something or listen and understand something in written content and translate that into something that’s really compelling whether it’s, you know, copy for marketing or into a book, that’s such an important skill that very few people have. An English major is exactly what you need to equip you to be able to do that.

So, right now I am self-employed. I started my business about 8 years ago and I’m really fortunate because I get to work with people all over the country and world and I get to help them write their books as a ghost writer. Then I also do consulting, so I work with teams and I work with individuals to help them clarify their message and really understand what they’re all about so that they can communicate well with the rest of the world. Basically, I get paid to do what I dreamed about when I was a little girl and it’s so exciting to me that I get to wake up every single day and come to my own office and I get to work with these amazing people.

I am just really grateful that I followed my intuition and that I got an English major versus, you know, switching to other majors, because I actually did switch. I started out as an English major. I think was communication and then I went to graphic design and then I came back to English. I ended up getting a minor in visual art so I still could use some of my artistic skills in my education and also in my career.

So, basically English majors are awesome and way underrated and don’t think that it doesn’t equip you to do something amazing, because for me it has really been foundational to being able to accomplish the life that I have now. I have got all these exciting things in the future that I’m also really, really looking forward to and an English major has been a big part of that. So, thanks for listening and choose an English major!

Ben Reed

Lecturer, Communication Foundations at Iowa State University

M.A. Language and Literature, Boise State University

See below for a video about how getting an English degree from Boise State helped Ben both personally and professionally.

Ben Reed Transcript

Hello, my name is Ben Reed and I am a 2014 graduate from the English department where I received my Master of Arts degree in Language and Literature. I wanted to take this opportunity to talk a little bit about my experience with Boise State University, how it developed me both professionally and academically and how your continued support can keep that tradition going.

The one aspect that I cannot speak enough praises about for Boise State University is its supportive staff and faculty. Whether this is getting the information you need from both the registrar and various department offices all the way up to the lifelong friends and mentors that can be had through these programs of study, the supportive nature and the desire to succeed is present throughout all of the university. This is becoming more of a rarity in larger institutions where they become more interested in getting students in and out with their degree without really a plan on where to go next. I never felt any of that pressure happen during my time here at Boise State. I had equal importance to my mentors. My research meant just as much as theirs did. They helped make sure that my essays, my written work that I would then send out to publications, were at their strongest quality possible and I also made sure to develop my professional documents such as presenting at conferences making sure that I had a very clear and descriptive vida or resume through classes and various opportunities that the university provided me.

So, again, when I left Boise State University, it wasn’t just with a degree; it was with a fully developed professional portfolio and plan on where I wanted to go next. That came particularly clear to me within a few months of my graduation. I received a three-year contract at a developed university at Iowa State and it was a wonderful post-graduation career opportunity. It helped develop me even more professionally and it kept me very well supported for those three years at the conclusion of which I was accepted into a Ph.D. program at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. And, again, the staff and faculty were so supportive in getting me the documents that I had on file at Boise State University. My mentors were more than happy to look at my letters of intent, my various submissions packets. Time had not created any distance between us. They were more than happy to see me move to that next step of my academic journey and I fully attribute that supportive nature to me moving into this Ph.D. program. So, there’s a lot of support to be found here, a lot of caring for your success that, again, a lot of larger institutions are becoming a little less frequent in.

Beyond that, what’s being taught in this university, especially in terms of the arts and humanities, are becoming increasingly important in our culture. In a time where ways of expressing ourselves is coming under question or even attacked from various avenues, the arts and humanities not only help keep this spirit of innovation and expression alive, but also develops us into more professional and ethical communicators. For instance, at Iowa State University I never ran into any disciplinary issues or reprimands for the way that I spoke to students or colleagues and I fully attribute that to the lessons that I was taught and my education in the English degree: that I knew how to present myself professionally and ethically. In a society that’s trying to persuade us from every avenue in various means, it’s important to know how those persuasive techniques are being used and then how we can use them appropriately ourselves. However you are deciding to support Boise State University, whether it’s coming in as a new student or through donations or other financial support, I cannot commend enough the wonderful program that Boise State University offers and welcome you to the Bronco Nation. Thank you.

Lyn Uratani

Job Resource Specialist at City and County of Honolulu

B.A. and M.A. in English with Literature Emphases, Boise State University

Lyn Uratani

Lyn Uratani, B.A. and M.A. in English Literature

Upon finishing my B.A. and M.A. in English with literature emphases from Boise State University in 2011 and 2013, I expected to devote much of my early career to high school teaching, which I did for two academic years after commencement. However, my studies in English at Boise State also prepared me, unknowingly, for a very different field: federally-mandated workforce development programs. What follows is a brief overview of how the experience and advice I obtained from the Boise State English Department have helped me acquire my most recent positions at the City and County of Honolulu.

Since November 2016, I have been employed full-time with the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Community Services (DCS). My current position of Job Resource Specialist is in the Ho’ala Program, a branch of the DCS that provides structured pre-employment training and retention services to welfare applicants. I was later informed that I had been hired for this position based on my degrees in English, Literature as well as my college-level teaching experience at Boise State.

In July 2017, I will transfer to the City and County of Honolulu’s Oahu Workforce Development Board (OWDB), where I will serve as the Assistant to the Executive Director. There, I will use my skills and strengths to prepare reports and correspondence, schedule and arrange board meetings, and research and develop OWDB policies and procedures intended to support the State of Hawaii in its implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014. I was informed that I was selected for this position partly due to my degrees in English from Boise State and my recent acceptance into the English doctoral program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa to begin August 2017. Given the needs of the OWDB in context of policy research and development, members of the hiring committee found especially appealing my combination of writing, research, and organizational skills as seen in my completion of graduate coursework and an award-winning Master’s thesis at Boise State.

Although multiple members of the Boise State English Department have been supportive and encouraging in response to my research agenda and earliest questions about the possibility of a career in academia, not once did they attempt to mask the harsh realities and challenges surrounding adjuncting, tenure, and the politics of higher education. Furthermore, in comparison to previous English departments during my undergraduate experience (I transferred twice), BSU faculty provided me with the most meaningful and useful job search advice, not just because they were forthright and realistic in addressing current issues affecting careers in higher education, but rather, they generously offered ways to defend the applicability of my English degrees for employment opportunities elsewhere. I credit both of these approaches with helping me to successfully interview for and obtain the above-mentioned positions within local government, and as such, I am enormously grateful and proud to call myself an alumna of the Boise State English Department.  

Jeri Walker

Freelance Writer and Editor, Word Bank Writing & Editing

B.A. in English, Rhetoric and Composition Emphasis, Boise State University
M.A. in English/Language Arts Teacher Education, Boise State University

Jeri Walker

Jeri Walker, B.A. in English, Rhetoric and Composition Emphasis; M.A. in English/Language Arts Teaching

English Major Past: Teach! It’s a lot of work for relatively low pay and long hours. Sign me up!

I arrived at Boise State as a junior after two years spent living and working in Yellowstone and Everglades National Parks. Before that, I had earned an associate of arts from North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene. I chose a writing emphasis major, and then earned a bachelor’s degree with vague plans work in the travel industry. During the summer, I got a letter informing me of an opening for a teaching assistantship with the writing department. I figured, why not?

Rhetoric and composition became my area of study and the $27,000 two-year teaching assistantship helped immensely. I never would have paid for school on my own. At one-point, I considered pursuing a PhD, but in the end, I ended up taking an additional year and a half to earn a master’s degree in English education. I then spent a semester substitute teaching before working as an English teacher for six years. The highlight of this time was designing and implementing a creative writing curriculum. Many former students have told me how much their college classes resembled my creative writing class.

English Major Present: Go rogue! Patience and perseverance leads to being your own boss.

The boom in independent publishing inspired me to attempt to start an author blog in 2011 when I moved to North Carolina. I gave myself one year to write a draft of my first novel. That didn’t work out as planned, but by posting critical book reviews, I received my first editing inquiries. Surely that is a testament to the skills I gleaned at Boise State from the rigorous effort put into my literature and writing classes. When I returned to Idaho in 2013, I did an internship with the literary journal The Idaho Review.

My road to self-employment was a gradual one, but I have now been a full-time independent contractor for two years. I’ve contracted with Six Red Marbles to edit literature study guides, and I’ve also contracted with one of Boise’s newest partner-publishers, Red Cricket Press. Most of my clients are indie authors. I am lucky to work almost exclusively with fiction and memoir, so I have edited APA and MLA texts for traditional and self-publication. I spend a lot of time networking with authors online, but referral business continues to grow. Working on one’s own isn’t for everyone, but if you’re disciplined, it can be great!

English Major Future: Life as a Digital Nomad! Because an English major really can do anything.

Given all I have learned about making a living online, future plans involve starting an alternative lifestyle blog where I travel the country in an RV and share my experiences. I will explore the whys behind such travel more so than the hows. The blogged material will potentially become a book. Such books can then be used in conjunction with speaking engagements. Sponsorships of various types can also be obtained within this niche. I’ve also considered building my own tiny house and writing about it.

For better or worse, my life has been interrupted by a breast cancer diagnosis at age forty. I’ve hemmed and hawed for years, but there’s nothing like the feeling of literally running out of time to light a fire under a reluctant writer’s ass. I’ve always been more at home writing narrative nonfiction, so now my writing path is clearer than ever. I have cancer to thank for that. Memoir is a tough market to crack, but my stranger than fiction life story just might make a bestseller. But it never will if I don’t get the writing done.

A Word of Advice: Guess what? Degrees can only teach so much. You must be driven. Always.

If you want to be an author, you’re going to have to be an authorpreneur—that means learning all you can about best business practices and building an author platform. Such skills are not directly covered within English degrees. Also, learn all you can about marketing and social media. Plus, it never hurts to learn how to use WordPress. Better yet, learn how to code and understand good SEO practices. We live in an online world, so even if you’re planning on becoming an English teacher, learn to become literate in the digital realm. In another life, I would have become a web designer. Who knows, maybe I will. The world is my oyster. I am an English major.