What Do You Do With an English Degree?

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Rhode Island College Impact

Let these alumni show you what they did with theirs.

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Talia Ghazal Rostom

English/creative writing major Talia Ghazal Rostom has been steadily forging a writing career since she graduated in 2014. Most importantly, the 30-year-old has learned to adapt her writing skills to whatever job she takes on – be it advertising, news writing or digital media. Employers say versatility is a must in today’s job market.

“I learned from every experience I had, and applied what I learned to the next job,” says Ghazal Rostom.

After graduating from RIC, she was a marketing and PR assistant for Trinity Repertory Company, a freelance news writer for The Valley Breeze; a product development coordinator for Hasbro; and a copywriter and project manager for Fit & Fresh, Inc. She is now digital content writer for Amica Insurance.

It’s soft skills like analytical thinking, problem solving, verbal and written communication and creativity – skills students learn in expository writing and literary analysis courses – that lend an English degree its value in the marketplace.

Ghazal Rostom’s advice to other English majors – “Figure out ways to take these skills to a corporate setting so you have a sustainable career.”

Indeed, many RIC grads have. To name a few:

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Angela DaSilva ’19

Angela DaSilva ’19 is content strategist and associate director of marketing communications for Semantic Web Company.

Phil Johnston ’13 is senior creative copywriter for Left Foot Blue – an internal agency at Hasbro.

And Christopher Margadonna ’13, M.Ed. ’15 is senior director of training and partnerships at MENTOR Rhode Island.

But not every English major wants a niche in the corporate world. Some become educators and/or published authors.  

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Gary Whitehead ’90, M.A.T. ’92

Gary Whitehead ’90, M.A.T. ’92 is an award-winning poet of four books and teacher of English at Tenafly High School in New Jersey. His poetry appears in major national publications such as The New Yorker and The Guardian, and he’s a master at constructing crossword puzzles that have appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and USA Today.

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Dionne Irving Bremyer M.A. ’05

Award-winning fiction and nonfiction writer Dionne Irving Bremyer M.A. ’05 is associate professor of English at the University of Notre Dame and author of the novel “Quint” as well as a collection of short stories called “The Islands” (2022). She’s been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes, has been awarded two Tennessee Williams scholarships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and a scholarship and residency from the Voices of Our Nation Writers Conference.

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Riss Neilson ’14 (photo courtesy of Jadin Gagnon)

Riss Neilson ’14 just debuted her first novel, “Deep in Providence,” this spring 2022. A young adult fantasy, “Deep in Providence” was a finalist in the 2022 New England Book Awards and has met with numerous rave reviews. (Read more here.) Her second novel, “I’m Not Supposed to Be in the Dark,” is due out spring 2023.

All of these alumni demonstrate that no matter what type of career you pursue, an English degree will give you the tools to write your own story.

Also see:

“What’s the Value in Studying the Humanities”

“New Course Helps Humanities Majors Prepare for Professional Careers”

“7 Skills Gained from the Humanities”