A liberal arts degree for the artisan economy

28 Jul

An upbeat  PBS story on why liberal arts degrees, more so than business degrees, equip folks for success in the “artisan economy” of the 21st century. The short version: how the critical thinking, reading, and writing skills at the heart of the B.A. prepare you to make your own way in a world where career paths have become less clear and certain.




WISH: DC internships, housing, & general career advice/info

10 Jul

If you’re interested in interning in the DC area, or even if you’re not, here’s an organization that you might find useful. WISH is “officially” an organization that provides housing for interns in DC (WISH stands for Washington Intern Student Housing), but their blog, the Wishington Post, has great info about internships, job-hunting, and networking. (I found their writeup of the “5 Worst Companies to Work For”–which are not just DC-area companies–quite eye-opening.) 

The blog also posts internship openings. I believe they have a Facebook page and Twitter feed as well, so there are a variety of ways to keep updated if you’re looking to intern or apply for jobs in DC, especially in the political sector, nonprofits/NGOs, and journalism.

As for WISH itself, it looks like a great way to find a community of fellow interns, which not only gives you a way to make friends in DC, but also provides great networking opportunities. They also have a speaker series introducing you to different job fields, job-hunting strategies, and internship-related issues. And they also have a variety of social events in DC. It’s a bit pricey, but less than Loyola tuition :-)

WISH site: http://internsdc.com
Wishington Post: http://internsdc.com/blog

The work-education nexus

18 Jun

Great article in today’s Chronicle of Higher Ed about how work experience and one’s college education enhance one another. If you need any more encouragement to take an internship–or participate in meaningful service or extracurricular activities– while you’re in college, this should put you over the edge.

Because the article is only accessible to subscribers, I’ve transcribed some choice bits below. The whole thing is worth reading if you have access: http://chronicle.com/article/Want-a-College-Experience-That/147123/

If you are interested in doing an internship for credit for the fall semester, get in touch with either me or Dr. Forni, who will be taking over internships next year while I’m on sabbatical. We can help!

Want a College Experience that Matters? Get to Work

Scott Carlson, The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 18, 2014

Now and then, I get invited to journalism classes to talk to students about making a living as a writer. Last year I got a particularly special invitation: to speak to a room full of budding journalists at the Minnesota Daily, the college paper of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. This was the place where I learned about writing as real work—late at night and on weekends, cranking out profiles and essays to see them dropped within a twine-tied bundle of papers the next day at the cafe where I worked. When I arrived at the Daily for my talk, I found students much like my friends and me from years ago—coming from all kinds of majors, devoted to the craft. “Come with whatever you want to talk about,” the managing editor had told me in the invitation. But it was clear what they all wanted to talk about: how to land their first jobs in a stagnant economy, in a profession that is tougher than ever to break into.

That visit came back to me last month as I looked over the findings of the Gallup-Purdue Index, a survey of 30,000 Americans aimed at finding which college experiences lead to a happy job and life. Most of the buzz about the survey focused on the conclusion that caring and stimulating professors significantly raise a student’s chances of finding employment and well-being. But another important finding of the study was less noticed: Graduates who felt that their colleges had prepared them for life beyond the academy—through such activities as internships or jobs where the students were able to apply their classroom knowledge—were three times as likely to be engaged at work. Those who had done a long-term project, held an internship, or participated heavily in extracurricular activities or organizations doubled their chances of being engaged at work. Unfortunately, only a third of the survey respondents said they had gotten such an internship or job during college.

… snip …

Many of the outcomes resonate with my own experience, although my journey was more haphazard. I was an English-literature major who wanted to be a writer, but there were few opportunities to write for a real audience within the department, and I didn’t have a clue how to make a living at it. All I had heard in my creative-writing courses were clichés about the writing life: getting up every morning and putting something down on paper. That was too amorphous to be helpful.

Thanks to pushing from an uncle, I stumbled into a semester-long internship at a newspaper in Washington, where I was a transcriber and gofer for a veteran investigative reporter. That led me back to the Minnesota Daily, where I landed a job as a reporter covering arts and culture. And while the reporters got excellent training in writing on deadline, they also wrestled with the same problems that vex professionals: How do you balance hard-hitting news with crowd-pleasing stories, especially when advertisers are skittish and revenue is down? If the police want to dig through your notes in an investigation, what do you do? How do you handle a colleague (usually a friend) who isn’t cutting it?

Tony Wagner, who just finished his year as the Daily’s editor in chief, says he faced a dilemma when the newspaper came across a police report of an alleged sexual assault at the apartment of some university basketball players. Staffers deliberated right up to press time about whether or not to print the names of the players. They did, and a local metropolitan newspaper, the Star Tribune, did not. “You might talk about something like that in the classroom, but I don’t know of any place other than a student paper where you would actually wrestle with it,” he says. Graduating this spring, he has landed a job at American Public Media, the producer of A Prairie Home Companion, Marketplace, and other public-radio programs.

I, too, learned in a college newsroom the basics of what I went on to do every day, and it helped me land my job at The Chronicle.

Some people—like the wealthy entrepreneur Peter Thiel, who has offered students money to drop out of college and get on with work—might say that my English degree was unnecessary. But novels of ideas and literature of feminism, minorities, and marginalized people opened up the world of a kid raised in a monochrome Twin Cities suburb. In particular, the late Peter E. Firchow—the “caring professor” of my own college story—taught me to look at society through close reading of utopian and dystopian fiction. That training was invaluable to me, personally and professionally, in America after September 11, 2001. My literature degree wouldn’t have taken me far without the work, but my work wouldn’t have been as rich without the literature degree.

job listing: Editorial Assistant at Johns Hopkins

3 May

The Johns Hopkins University Press is hiring an editorial assistant to work with the history and life sciences editors. This is a high-quality entry-level position right here in Baltimore. And I know that they are motivated–apply right away. Note that the listing asks for either two years experience or additional education, which includes your Loyola English degree.

See the note below from one of the hiring editors, who emailed the Loyola English department.

- Dr. Norman

Sent to Loyola English:

Could you please forward this to the person or persons you think might be able to encourage a bright Loyola graduate (even if graduating this month) to apply? This is an entry-level position, and we need someone who will work hard and has good writing and phone and some graphics skills.



Vincent Burke, Ph.D.
Executive Editor
Johns Hopkins University Press
2715 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21218

Job posting– Editorial Asst., American Historical Assn

3 May

Here’s a good entry-level opportunity for those interested in publishing, editing, and especially, history– an Editorial Assistant position at the American Historical Society in Washington, DC:


Thanks to Dr. Girard for passing along this lead!

Resource profile: Idealist.org

21 Apr

Last month, I posted a profile of the Baltimore Collegetown Network’s Internships page. This month, I wanted to provide a fuller description of one of the other sites listed on Making English Work’s Resources page: Idealist.org.

This is a great site to check out if you are not from the Baltimore area and looking for internships for the summer. Because they highlight nonprofit and social justice-oriented organizations and businesses, the positions are well suited for people like you. They also do a great job of vetting their postings so that you don’t have to wade through the numerous “false positives” and internships-in-name-only-but-really-just-free-menial-labor postings that makes sites like Intern Match more heinous than helpful.

Just as an example for what you might find at Idealist.org, here are the number of hits for the Boston Metro area using the following keywords:

  • writing: 92
  • advocacy: 38
  • sustainability: 70
  • global: 103
  • editorial: 3
  • journalism: 11
  • communications: 197

Note: KEYWORDS MATTER! As you can see, if number of hits is your goal, “communications” is a good place to start (not “English major” or “literature”– or even “editing,” sadly). Many communications positions require strong writing and editing skills, so if you want to go into a writing or editing career, an internship in communications is a good place to start.

Happy hunting! –JLC

Internship panel and resume review, Tues. 4/8, 6-8pm

7 Apr
Come to the English Department’s spring internship panel and resume review!
The event will take place on Tuesday, April 8, 6-8pm, in the English Department Lounge. The event kicks off at 6pm with panel presentations by Baltimore-area employers looking for summer and fall interns and current student interns who will share their internship experiences. Panelists will discuss how to locate and secure an internship, how to make it successful, and how it fits into an education and career plan.
Panelists will be
  • Employers: Sue Lin Chong (The Annie E. Casey Foundation) 
  • Current Interns: Tom Flanagan (ABET intern), Molly Corry (UB/Event planning intern), Marianne Williams (Stone House Publishing; MD Wineries intern), and Courtney Cousins (City Paper intern, Christmas at Environment Ohio intern, and Enoch Pratt Library volunteer)
  • Dr. Jean Cole, internship coordinator: preliminary remarks and introductions
  • Dr. Sondra Guttman, for-credit internship mentor
In the second hour, at 7pm, we will begin an interactive resume review. Dr. Melissa Girard will present a few brief tips about resumes, and then we will organize small-group breakout sessions where students can have their own resumes reviewed by professionals in a variety of fields. Students should bring 3 printed copies of their resumes with them to take full advantage of this opportunity. However, students who don’t yet have a resume are still welcome to participate and review the excellent sample resumes on display.
The Resume Review and Workshop will feature
  • Sue Lin Chong (law, PR, communications, non-profit sector)
  • Colleen Depman Kukowski (FBI/goverment, law)
  • Brianna Panzica (publishing, editing)
The Internship Panel is always a great event. This year, we’re very excited to add the resume review into the mix. Please let your students know that they are welcome to join us for one or both hours of the event. Also: there will be pizza!

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