MEET THE ALUMNI EVENT, OCTOBER 2018

MEET THE ALUMNI EVENT, OCTOBER 2018

Recently some English major alumni returned to campus to talk with current students. In case you were unable to be there, you can read some of their thoughts below. We asked them to reply to a few key questions:

Adam Hecht, Class of ‘05

 Director, Program Management, Boostr

 How did you come to the position you now hold?

After working in music for almost a decade after Wagner, I went into the media sales business and learned as much as I could about advertising from both the creative and technical sides.  I was interested in how ads were delivered and targeted over the internet, so I learned the "back-end" of the business and made sure I was technically proficient. I had written some by-lines in industry trades like AdExchanger and Digiday, and I had a bit of a reputation from networking at conferences and the like, so the CEO of Boostr reached out to me when the Product Manager position opened.

What advice do you have for current English majors?

Don't pigeon-hole yourself. You likely have diverse interests, so pursue them to the fullest extent you can. You aren't any less of a writer because you also love to write code and know what a database is!

How has your experience as an English major helped you in your work life post Wagner?

Being able to easily spot the key ideas in any situation has been tremendously helpful.  In the same vein, being able to coherently and logically defend my own position, whether dealing with an internal issue or explaining to a customer why I built something in a certain way, has made my life both easier and more enjoyable. Finally, I would say that the discipline I learned to "sit down, shut up, and write" has served me increasingly well as more and more distractions crop up both work-related ("Hey Adam, got a minute to chat??") and not-so-work-related (Facebook, reddit, etc.)

Other thoughts you would like to add are also welcome.

"Most people wouldn't be the protagonist in their own life story."  It's a silly, throwaway line that I read somewhere (likely Twitter), but it profoundly affected me.  Your story is barely out of the prologue, but do remember to be the protagonist. It makes things more interesting.

 

 

Thomas Scarcella, Class of ‘15

Marketing Editor, STV

How did you come to the position you now hold?

I have a good friend who once held my same position at STV; as fate would have it, she was leaving the company just as I started looking for full-time work. She put in a good word for me, I went through the application and interview process, and here I am!

What advice do you have for current English majors?

Keep your mind open when it comes to trying out extracurriculars, classes, internships, etc. -- it can help you figure out what to do after college, and might make it easier to pull an early-stage career shift. For me, I originally planned to go into academia (so I did an honors thesis and research projects among other things), but I also got involved with the literary magazine, school paper, and editorial internships that eased the transition when I decided to pursue an editorial career instead.

How has your experience as an English major helped you in your work life post Wagner?

Being an English major at Wagner not only taught me how to write well, think critically, and communicate effectively, but it also gave me the capacity to adapt to unfamiliar work environments. This surprisingly marketable set of skills enables you to decode the inner workings of just about anything, and it's allowed me to pursue a variety of fulfilling (and largely unexpected) work avenues: as a teacher and tutor, financial copyeditor, satirical writer, and marketer for an architecture/engineering firm.

Other thoughts you would like to add are also welcome.

At Wagner, you get small class sizes and caring professors mixed with proximity to one of the greatest cities in the world. The job market is brutal and the world largely unfair -- but the connections, experiences, and opportunities at this school are valuable tools to navigate it all. And I believe the English degree provides both a profound framework to understand this complex world, as well as a solid foundation to build a good career in it.

 

Barbara Zito, Class of ’99

Career Development Specialist, Rutgers University Career Services, also a writer, editor, and content strategist

How did you come to the position you now hold?

I have a dual career path—one in writing and one in higher education. For over a decade, I have been a freelance writer and editor, and I had a stint as a full-time blogger for three years, writing about education, professional training, and career development. That led me to my “other” career in higher education. Career development was a natural fit for me. I was an Assistant Director of Career Development at Wagner for four years, and now I’ve been at Rutgers for over a year.

What advice do you have for current English majors?

Leverage those writing skills! English majors are desirable job candidates for a variety of different industries and careers. If you are pursuing an academic career, ask your professors for advice about their paths toward advanced degrees.

How has your experience as an English major helped you in your work life post Wagner?

Writing has always come naturally to me, which is helpful in building my successful freelance writing and editing career for the past decade.

Other thoughts you would like to add are also welcome.

I’m working with an editor to finish my first novel. I hope to host a future reading at Wagner!