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Aimee Davis

When I started at UCA, I knew I wanted to be an English major, but I had no idea what I wanted to do with my degree once I graduated—I just knew that reading and writing seemed to be the things I was most passionate about and kind of good at, and I hoped to be able to find a job that would let me use those skills. I declared English as my major freshman year, and after taking a few classes in the Writing Department as well, I became a double major in English and Writing. I found that studying the two in tandem really enhanced my skill sets—reading and analyzing great works in my literature classes strengthened my ability to write my own technical and creative work, and learning how to construct a strong and persuasive argument in my writing courses helped me identify those same tactics in writers I loved. I also worked for two years in the Writing Center and learned how to help others identify the strengths and weaknesses in their writing, which in turn enhanced my own critical and creative work.

 

After graduation, I was lucky enough to be accepted in the Creative Writing MFA program at Louisiana State University, which also combined these two disciplines—the program required not only a holistic series of writing workshops but also a dedicated coursework in literature to undergird my work and frame my thesis. I also got the opportunity to teach my own courses, both during and after my graduate study. In my third year, I served as managing editor of the program’s literary journal and discovered that publishing was an ideal channel for my interests—I loved how making decisions about layout and design combined both practical and creative elements, and I loved finding ways as an editor to highlight and elevate other people’s work.

 

Thus, I decided to pursue a career in editorial and publishing work and soon got a job as a production editor at a publishing company in Nashville. The job offered invaluable training in real-world editorial work and print and digital production, but I also learned how to work more quickly and more efficiently and how to ensure quality products under non-negotiable deadlines.

 

Currently, I work as a marketing strategist at an engineering firm, and although my title suggests public relations, my day-to-day work is all reading and writing and editing and designing. The “strategy” part of my job relies on identifying what a particular client wants or needs and then crafting a message that speaks directly to that. This kind of analysis and critical thinking is exactly what we learn as English majors, and in my experience, many employers recognize that skill set and want to take advantage of it in a variety of fields. I have found that the key is being able to show an employer how your skill set can benefit them and taking the extra step of translating your academic background into the context of an employer’s discipline.