1. What drew you to the major?
In my childhood, I spent a lot of time in my public library. Whenever my parents were working, I would volunteer at the library and, after my shift, I would read anything. One eventful day, I stumbled into the poetry section, located in the far corner of the nonfiction section, and thought, “Huh, I could do this.” I began to write in high school, but wanted to continue that when I went to Case Western Reserve University, so I initially enrolled as a creative writing minor with my Chemical Engineering major. However, my interactions with English faculty in workshop classes and my SAGES classes made me realize that I really missed the humanities portion of my education. When you’re crunching equations for your college career, strangely enough, you start to miss writing; after a while, I even felt excited when I was assigned a lab report, because it meant I could write! Although I declared relatively late, I’m grateful that I’ve been able to analyze texts I’ve heard about in the traditional English canon under new lenses of race, gender, and sexuality. In comparison to my larger STEM classes, I love the emphasis the English Department has on fostering individual relationships with students in events and classes.
2. How has your English major prepared you for life after graduation?
Being an English major has added a new dimension on my undergraduate career. The critical thinking, communication, and interpersonal skills that the English department has given me sets me apart from other engineering majors. At least in STEM, there’s so much technical material that many scientists can understand, but they can’t communicate this to a general audience. When I’m writing grants for my research, applying to fellowships, meeting with the professors I’m researching under, or presenting my findings, I do feel as though my background as an English major has helped me take a step back from the technical details, allowing me to see the information that would benefit my audience.
3. What is it like being an English major at Case in particular, with its perceived focus on the sciences?
I’m slightly biased because I’m majoring in both areas, but I always feel as though I stand out a little more because of my humanities interest. At the same time, I feel as though I’ve found really interesting niches between science and English that I wouldn’t discover at a more liberal-arts focused school. For example, I’ve written poetry in the Creative Writing Club using thermodynamic concepts and scientific theorems to explore universal themes. For example, I’m currently writing for The Observer, our campus newspaper, as a science journalist, and because of this, I’m looking for future opportunities as a science writer.
4. Why would you encourage a prospective English major to sign on?
Being a double major in two extremely distinct areas is challenging, and, to be completely honest, I’m not sure if I’d recommend it for everyone. Still, I’m grateful that I did, since it’s really given me unique skills that set me apart from other majors. Maybe it’s because I also do creative writing, but being an English major has also allowed me to examine the way I perceive myself and how I communicate with others, giving me more satisfaction in my college career. Even taking my English major alone, I feel more confident about the ability to present myself and my experiences in interviews, and it’s given me a lot of opportunities into a variety of different professions. If you’re thinking about declaring, I’d highly suggest meeting with a faculty member to talk about when to take certain classes in your sequence; I declared late, and it’s given me a lot of undue stress to take the required classes in my senior year. If you don’t have the space, minoring is also a great option to explore an interest in film, creative writing, journalism, or other areas! If you have any questions, or you also want to be involved in both STEM and humanities, feel free to reach out to me!