Life After McKendree English
McKendree English alumni pursue an impressive range of careers—from education to law, public policy to editing. Below are just a few of our alumni with their job titles.
Heather Belmonte, '09, Associate Editor, Concordia Publishing House
Ashley Dachsteiner, '11, Department of English, Belleville West High School
Bethany Hinkle, '10, Department of English, Nashville Community High School
Megan McQuiston, '11, Teacher's Aide, Mascoutah School District
Ashley Rakers, '12, Department of English, Belleville West High School
Emily Renschen, '11, Department of English, Mater Dei High School
Jodi Bell Siepp, Chair, Department of English, O'Fallon High School
Lannette (Day) Story, '12, Department of English, Belleville West High School
Stephanie Dulaney, '09, Executive Assistant to the President, Lindenwood University-Belleville
Nell Novara, '07, Assistant Director of International and Area Studies at Northwestern University School of Law
Jayme Blandford, ’08, Assistant Professor of English, St. Charles Community College
Katherine Porter, '08
Meagan Musgrave, ’11, Graduate Student, Department of ____ at Carnegie Mellon University
Reflecting on their time with McKendree English, several alumni have this to say:
Associate Professor of English, St. Charles Community College
I'm very thankful for my experience with the McKendree University English department. I had great mentors within the department and I always knew they were available to help further my career in English. My English professors went above and beyond their duties to help me apply to graduate school, submit papers for conference presentations, and to look for opportunities to research my areas of interest. Because of the English department, I am currently in my 2nd year of a Master's program at West Virginia University and I hold a position as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. My experiences at McKendree gave me a background in English Pedagogy, Gender Studies, Theory & Criticism, and Literature which has helped me as a Graduate Student.
I can not talk about the quality of the English program at McKendree University without focusing on the English department faculty, for they are the ones who pushed me to develop the research and writing skills that were, by senior year, worthy of graduate level consideration. To me, the fact that I was able to refer to every professor I had in the English program as “Dr.” says a lot. The fact that I encountered each of those “Dr.’s” in a classroom of a size and atmosphere that facilitated daily group discussions and allowed for meaningful student-teacher interaction says even more. My professors were first-rate academics with the depth of knowledge and level of professionalism you’d expect at any major university, but they actually knew your name and cared how you were doing, academically and beyond. After spending a year at the National University of Singapore in the Master of Arts Literary Studies program I know I couldn’t have been better prepared for further academic or professional work than I was by McKendree.
My semesters in McKendree University’s English program were some of the most enjoyable times of my life. Within the first weeks of starting my English major, I knew that it was the right place for me. I spent hours in classes with professors and students who all share the same love of literature, writing, and learning. While the classes were fun—reading classic, great books and discussing literature—they were also challenging. My classes pushed me to be a better student, and to look at and think about literature and life in ways that I had not done before. I feel that with the small class sizes, and the personal relationships I developed with my professors, I gained the highest quality of English education possible. As a current high school teacher, I am fully confident in my subject matter and in teaching young adults some of the same skills and, hopefully, appreciation for literature, that my McKendree professors taught me. I also enjoyed the English major so much that I am planning on continuing my education and gaining a Master of Arts in Literature. I know I would not be the teacher—or the individual—I am today if not for my time at McKendree.
My English degree through McKendree has continually proven itself to be a beneficial choice. Many people may ask you why you chose that degree because all you can do is teach with it. Although I have chosen to become a teacher, my English degree has opened numerous other career opportunities in the fields of journalism and marketing. This is largely because English is not just reading long books, it develops and sharpens essential workplace skills of organizing information for presentations, communicating effectively through speaking and writing, and reading with understanding. You will learn 80% of a job's requirements after you have accepted it; the 20% they look for in your interviews are these basic skills that you will learn as an English major.
Senior Communications & Marketing Coordinator, Fontbonne University
As I move further away from college, I become more and more grateful for my four years at McKendree. The campus environment, strong English department, and journalism experience I gained editing The McKendree Review prepared me for work in the field of communication — multitasking, writing, editing, and juggling life and job are all tasks I deal with on a daily basis. I credit my McKendree degree and professors with helping me succeed.