The New English Major in Fall 2017

As you may have heard, there will be a new English major starting in Fall 2017.

Although this is big and wonderful news, it mostly affects students who will enter DePaul in 2017-2018 and after. Your English major as it exists now will not change. The requirements you see posted in your Degree Progress Report will remain the requirements you must fulfill to graduate.

However, there are three ways the new program may affect your studies—depending on your personal progress in the English major:

  • All Majors: We will change the name of the Diverse Traditions (DT) requirement to Race, Ethnicity, and Sexuality (or RES). In future terms, as you look to complete your DT requirement, scan the schedule for “RES” classes instead of DT.
  • Newer Majors: Autumn Quarter 2017 is the last time the English department will offer the current English Core classes, ENG 220 and ENG 221. If you have yet to complete ENG 220 and/or ENG 221, you must enroll in your missing core class/es this fall. Failure to do so may negate your ability to easily complete the current English major.
  • On-the-Fence Majors: If you aren’t sure whether you prefer to concentrate in Lit Studies or Creative Writing, or if you are thinking of switching from an English major to an English double major, please know that changing your program plan after June 15, 2017 will default you into the new major requirements. Should this happen, meet with James Phelps (jphelps@depaul.edu) right away.

If you have any questions about the new major, or if you are interested in switching into the new major, please schedule an appointment with James Phelps in BlueStar.

Scholarships for English Majors

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Applications due February 5th, 2017

The English department invites applications for three scholarships available to English majors: the Ellin M. Kelly, Ph. D. Endowed British Literature Award ($1500), the Honors English Scholarship ($2900), and the Mary Zavada Memorial Endowed Scholarship ($2800). Each scholarship has different requirements.

To be eligible for any of these scholarships, students must

  • be declared English majors at sophomore level or higher.
  • have completed at least two quarters at DePaul.
  • have completed at least three English courses with a minimum GPA of 3.5 in those courses.
  • plan to register in at least two courses in Spring 2017.

To apply for scholarships you must complete the following steps:

1.  If you have not done so already for the current academic year, complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid at https://fafsa.ed.gov/) and have the results sent to DePaul University. This is only required for need-based scholarships. Please note that you are not required to accept a financial aid package in order to be considered for need-based scholarships. You need only fill out and submit the application. Any federal financial aid accepted on your behalf through the FAFSA process is your responsibility.

2. Complete the General Application at https://depaul.academicworks.com/users/sign_in.

a.       Log into the DePaul Online Scholarship Application using your Campus Connect ID and password.

b.      Complete and submit the General Application.

i.    Once your application has been completed and submitted successfully, it will be marked with a green checkmark.

ii.   If it is gray, the application was not submitted successfully; try again.

3.  After submitting the General Application, you will automatically route to opportunities for which you qualify and more information is needed. If you are recommended for additional scholarships, you will be able to view a list of opportunities.  Apply for them by clicking on the blue “Apply” button beside each scholarship.  Additional questions or information may be required to complete the application process.

After Submitting an Application

If awarded a scholarship, you will be notified via email and you will see a notification on the “applications” tab of the scholarship application site under “active.” You must accept the award within the DePaul Online Scholarship Application in order to receive the money. You will also receive communication from financial aid stating that your financial aid award letter has been updated. If you are not selected for a scholarship, you will see a notification on the “home” tab of the website indicating your application was reviewed and not selected. Individual emails are not sent for those not selected.

If you have any questions, please contact Professor Jennifer Conary, Director of Undergraduate Studies, at jconary1@depaul.edu.

Available Scholarships

Ellin M. Kelly, Ph. D. Endowed British Literature Award, $1500

The Kelly Endowed British Literature Award recognizes the academic achievement of students who have demonstrated their dedication to the study of British literature.  Preference will be given to candidates with a strong interest in Medieval Literature and/or students who plan to go on for a graduate degree in English. Only Juniors and Seniors are eligible for this scholarship.

Applicants for this scholarship will need to upload the following documents with their electronic application:

  • A 400-500-word statement highlighting your dedication to the study of British literature as demonstrated through your coursework, including independent studies or research projects, as well as any related extracurricular activities or future plans.
  • An up-to-date transcript (unofficial transcripts downloaded from Campus Connect are fine).
  • An essay dealing with British literature from any period.

The Honors English Scholarship, $2900

The Honors English scholarship provides financial assistance to Honors students who are also English majors. To be eligible for this scholarship, you must be enrolled in the Honors Program and you must demonstrate financial need. Academic engagement and achievement will also be taken into consideration.

Applicants for the Honors English Scholarship will need to upload the following documents with their electronic application:

  • A 400-500-word statement highlighting your academic engagement and achievement in the English major and the Honors Program and indicating how this scholarship will help you financially.
  • An up-to-date transcript (unofficial transcripts downloaded from Campus Connect are fine).
  • A writing sample (a literary essay or a creative work produced for one of your classes)

The Mary Zavada Memorial Endowed Scholarship, $2800

The Mary Zavada Memorial Endowed Scholarship provides financial assistance to students majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing.  You must be in good academic standing and demonstrate financial need.

Applicants for this scholarship will need to upload the following documents with their electronic application:

  • An up-to-date transcript (unofficial transcripts downloaded from Campus Connect are fine).
  • A sample of your creative writing (short story, set of poems, essay, etc.).

 

 

 

Much Ado About an English Major Career

by Robert M. Keding
contributor to the Underground

It’s a dreary Tuesday evening on DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus when Annette Hobbs Magier, Abby Saul, and Naomi Hoffman take the stage for a panel discussion on finding careers in publishing. Before them, in the small lecture hall, sit approximately fifty English majors, each with the same question on their minds: What in the world am I going to do when I graduate?

“I became the world’s best folder of children’s polos.”

For Magier, the answer was simple: “I’d always wanted to be [a magazine] editor, no doubt in my mind.” So how, then, did she go from that near-certain future to working in the boiler room of a Staten Island Ferry, then the children’s clothing section of Marshall Field’s, and now to the top of the marketing department for the publishing house Albert Whitman & Company? Well, to be frank, she doesn’t quite know herself.

Magier’s first inkling that editing was not in the cards came during a post-undergraduate NYU summer publishing program. “Have you all seen The Devil Wears Prada?” she asks the crowd. “Well the magazine [editing] world is exactly like that, not even kidding—absolutely cutthroat.” So Magier changed her plans and began to think creatively. She set her sights on New York City, home to the ‘Big Five’ publishing houses. But she couldn’t just get up and settle down halfway across the country overnight. “My father was a ship captain, so he was able to get me a job working below deck on a boat they were moving from the Great Lake to use in New York as a ferry… I told him how great of a story this was gonna make, and how it’d get my foot in the door… I was totally gonna make it—I didn’t make it.”

She did find herself in job interviews, however, with employers intrigued by her atypical resume. And it was in one such interview, at HarperCollins, where she learned the most useful lesson of her entire career—never limit yourself. She accepted a position in rights management, the kind of place where “nobody wants to be,” clearing the use of book excerpts for school textbooks. She eventually rolled on up into the Marketing Department, finding herself working with children’s books, no less, the very sort of thing she’d taken a liking to at her part-time job in the youth clothing section of Marshall Field’s. “It wasn’t a likely path, and it wasn’t what I planned, but I love what I do now,” she tells the room, a large smile spreading across her face. It seems that in life, just like in our favorite novels, the best endings are often the most unpredictable ones.

“I spent my senior year of college freaking out.”

Abby Saul had an unusual entry into the publishing world. Also wanting to be an editor, Saul enrolled in the same NYU program as Magier, with equally uncertain results. She recalls that by the final event of the summer, a job fair, she didn’t even bother attending. “I decided to just start being an online pest… I emailed literally everyone I could, looking for an opening.” An opening which she got when offered a small role working production: “It was my job to take the book from its finalized manuscript form, and to turn it into an actual finished product—something you could hold in your hands.” Saul had never before considered this part of the publishing process, let alone conceived it as something she might be interested in. “The first thing I worked on was doing touchup and Photoshop for a textbook entitled Structural Concrete,” she recounts, chuckling to herself along with the rest of the audience. “Not very interesting, I know.”

Fortunately, Saul soon moved her way up from Structural Concrete to such work as the Betty Crocker cookbooks. She found doing color correction on chocolate chip cookies much more enthralling than highway overpasses, but there was still more ladder-climbing to do: “Sometimes, in order to progress, you have to leave the place you’re at, jump over into some other publishing house or capacity, and then start working your way up again there.”

Eventually, Saul decided the next best move was to strike out on her own path. Just this past year she has become a freelance agent, a liaison between authors and publishing houses. “The slush pile is a real thing,” she tells the crowd. “Agented manuscripts get seen first in the business… Even as just a new agent I receive around 200 queries a week to sort through.” Although her path forward is not grounded, Saul is optimistic, quite liking the freedom that being her own boss affords her. Unlike other career paths which are clear and predetermined, publishing seems more about doing your own thing. Perhaps it is quite fitting that in such a creative industry, it is so often up to authors to write their own chapters in life.

“I ate peanut butter sandwiches for an entire summer.”

Naomi Hoffman starts off her tale by reminiscing about the time not so long ago when she would have been one of the students listening in the audience. As her senior year drew to a close, her parents kept asking what the plan was for life after graduation, a question all of us English majors have undoubtedly heard a few dozen too many times. Her response? “I’m not sure yet… I’m an artist, Mom.”

Her first summer after graduation was rough. She was strapped for cash and “just sort of listed about.” But, much like Magier and Saul, it was only because of this struggle that opportunities developed. Among other odd jobs, Hoffman found herself babysitting. And even though such work seems far from applicable on an English major’s resume (much like working the boilers on a ferry), she found it one of the most relevant experiences of her career: “Taking care of three kids at one time told me more about publishing than anything else in the world.”

One of Hoffman’s first industry jobs was redeveloping the literary section of Newcity magazine, then in its infancy. The path wasn’t easy, however. The magazine had few resources, and Hoffman found herself working very part time for little, sometimes no money. The hope was that if her new literary section was successful enough, the company would grow as a result, opening up space for her. In the meantime she worked more odd jobs, including “mindless” office work, but eventually she was brought onboard. She is also currently the Editor in Chief of Curbside Splendor, a small indie publishing house in Chicago which recently opened its own bookstore in the South Loop. In these capacities, Hoffman is able to spread her love for literature. It seems that ‘off-the-beaten-track’ is right up her alley.

But it was the final piece of advice that night which was perhaps the most poignant, echoed by all three members of the panel. That is—once you find a job, once you find a position which pays the bills and gets your foot in the door, ask yourself, “Is this where I really want to be?” As all three publishers proved, it is oh so easy to get stuck within your own headspace when it comes to what the future holds. But the most important thing we can do is to trust our gut, pursuing not necessarily what pays the most in money but what lends the most in love. Because even though publishing is an industry and writing novels is a business, we can’t lose sight of what drew us to literature in the first place—our hearts.

Do More Things: Navigating Post-grad Opportunities for English Majors

by Valerie Walker
contributor to the Underground

“Do more things. Do different things,” Gabrielle Zenoni, the Canine Manager at the Animal Care League and one of the speakers at Tuesday’s career workshop “From Major to Minor,” reflected on what she’d tell her undergraduate self if she could go back in time.

Sitting in a lecture room with a couple dozen people, all fellow English majors, makes a person immediately introspective. Everyone in the room had heard the canned, “So you want to be a teacher?” question from puzzled friends and family, those trying to understand why we’d pick such an “unspecialized” field for our Future. The reigning feeling in the room was that even though English appeals to different personalities, it draws similar spirits.

Tuesday’s panel of professionals all had done something decidedly non-English with their degrees. It’s usually intimidating and weighty, other people’s success. However, throughout the first half hour, the panel detailed their unconventional career paths: Dean of Culture, Legislative Director, Public Relations Specialist, Research Associate, Canine Manager—not exactly typical English-major jobs. Finally, they started unraveling those “endless possibilities” we hear about but rarely see.

Each panel member revealed the key skills they gained from their English undergraduate that they regularly use in their current jobs, skills they think many English majors don’t even recognize they have. There were two major themes that cohesively ran through each person’s identified skills: communication and empathy. These skills were chiefly responsible for setting them apart from other job applicants in non-traditional career fields. For example, a market analyst from here at DePaul, Coleen Dickman, described her experience interviewing for her current position by explaining that the other candidates were techy, scientific, market-savvy, etc. What set her apart was her ability to construct coherent marketing materials, something she was prepared for through her English education.

Other candidates had similar stories, some even saying that employers are going to train their new employees regardless of their degree specialty, but they can’t train them in critical, empathetic, and basic grammatical skills. Gabrielle Zenoni said that her reading countless novels, writing from different perspectives, and critically working to understand other characters’ emotions through English study fostered her ability to empathize with people—and with animals. Even though she doesn’t do a lot of writing or “reading Dickens” in her current job as Canine Manager, she feels her background in English has given her skills pertinent to her job.

In a different reflection on the past, Annie Davis, a former teacher and current Director at the Education Pioneers in Chicago, expressed her regret over choosing to teach after college. She chose it because she loved literature, not because she loved teaching children. This example is pertinent even beyond those considering a career in education, and speaks to our desire to pursue something because it’s easy, expected, or conventional. The vein of this panel was to dispel the fear of pursuing niche jobs, the ones we don’t hear about at career fairs or on a Google search of “Top 10 Careers for English Majors.”

The last consensus among the panelists was on the subject of internships. They all agreed that they should have pursued internships that diverged from writing, publishing, education, etc. They encouraged the attendees to apply for internships (and jobs) that explicitly express interest in students with different majors: economics, marketing, biology. These positions will push English majors to sell themselves and the skills they’ve developed that wouldn’t be listed in a job posting. On the subject of internships, Professor Chris Green, who emails internship opportunities to English majors, shared that only around half of the posts get filled because students are afraid to apply, thinking they’re unqualified. He encouraged students, saying, “You shouldn’t feel bad if you don’t know what you want to do.”

That thought brought us full circle back to Gabrielle Zenoni’s “Do more things. Do different things.” Try an internship in an unconventional field, market your invaluable communication skills, and never forget the skills learned in an English major are preparation for niche careers with thousands of job titles never heard of that may be the perfect fit!

English Major Career Workshop

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Mark your calendars, English majors!
From Majors to Minors – Career Applications of English Majors will be held next week on

Tuesday, October 11, 2016, 4:30-6pm
DePaul University – Lincoln Park Campus
Arts and Letters Building, Room 103

Meet six professionals who majored in English (many of whom are alumni!).  They will share their paths to their diverse careers and detail how they explored opportunities, promoted their skills, and how they gained relevant experience while in school. 
Below is a sneak peek of the guests attending and the agenda.  You will have a chance to meet all of our professionals through panel discussion, break out small groups, and a casual meet and greet at the end of the workshop. 
 
Register now on Handshake.
 
Workshop Agenda
4:15pm-4:30pm                                Check In
4:30pm-4:45pm                                Panel Discussion
4:45pm-5:30pm                                Small Topic Roundtable Discussions (Rotate every 15 minutes)
5:30pm-6pm                                     Open Q&A and open meet and greet
6pm                                                  Conclusion
 
Sneak Peek – Participating Guest Speakers
  • Public Relations Specialist, CNO Financial Group (former Business Writer for LoganSqarist)
  • Legislative Director, Illinois State Senator Daniel Biss, Office of State Senator, Daniel Biss, 9th District
  • Director, Education Pioneers
  • Research Associate, IRMA, DePaul University
  • Dean of Culture, Epic Academy
  • Canine Manager, Animal Care League

Internship with poet Valerie Wallace

Interested in the world of book publicity and marketing? This internship would be a wonderful introduction. If you’re selected, email Professor Chris Green at CGREEN1@depaul.edu, and he will get you registered for academic credit for Winter Quarter.

Internship with poet Valerie Wallace

Valerie Wallace is the author of the forthcoming full-length book House of McQueen, which won the 2016 Four Way Books Intro Prize in Poetry.

An intern would help her with tasks and projects related to marketing during the year ahead of publication, including building and maintaining an email list, scheduling readings, social media, possibly non-technical help with a book trailer. Proofreading parts of the manuscript before it goes to her editor, and helping organize the end matter (publications, acknowledgements) would also be of great help. Intern should have a comfort level with email, Excel, Word, cloud sharing, Twitter, be a good writer, and have a personality oriented toward caring about small details.

An interest in poetry is not required but preferred. Willingness to travel to Hyde Park for one or two meetings is requested.

Time period: 10 weeks during one or spread across two semesters.
Start date: January 2017

For more information about Valerie: valeriewallace.net

Contact: valeriemw@gmail.com