It’s a Tie for Graduate Top Honors!

Graduate Top Honors in English this year is a go to Kaitlin and Brianna who tied it up for the top spot. Read on to probe the thoughts and aspirations of two truly talented students!

Kaitlin, originally from East Brunswick, NJ is in the Literature concentration. When asked what she would like to do with her diploma, Kaitlin said, “My plans after graduation are to go back further south. I’m looking at either the NYC or NJ area.” What about the question that haunts every English M.A. student to his/her core: Are you going to go for your Ph.D.? Kaitlin commented about further education and job prospects, “I’m not sure if I’m going to go on for a Ph.D. If I do, it wouldn’t be for another few years, but I’m going to look into adjuncting positions because I’ve always wanted to teach writing. I’m also interested in the publishing industry or anything involving new media.” What will Kaitlin do with all her spare time after studying is over (at least for a while)? She said, “I’m really looking forward to getting back into creative writing which I haven’t had much time for lately!” A fond memory for Kaitlin is the conference she attended last spring in Rhode Island. About the experience she commented, “I really liked going to the conference at URI and feeling like I was sharing my work in a professional setting outside of the comfort of St. Rose.” Kaitlin has gained a lot of wisdom as she comes to the culmination of her degree, so here are her keys to success: “I think the biggest lesson to be learned is start your research early! Not always an easy thing to do but definitely necessary when you’re juggling two to three final papers a semester. Also, I would say to branch out and not be afraid to explore the research topics that are the harder or more unfamiliar topics to you. I think I learned the most from the more difficult papers I wrote, but they were also the more rewarding. Lastly, invest in a Keurig.”

Brianna is a Writing concentrator and one of those brave souls that dare to do it all in five years—she is a dual B.A./M.A. major. About the next step Brianna said, “I have absolutely no idea. Being in the B.A./M.A. program has kept me pretty busy for five years. I may pursue a Ph.D. eventually, but I think I want to start the job-hunt. Whatever I do, I definitely want to keep writing. I’m going to keep trolling Project Muse, keep submitting stories and poetry for publishing. Having my Masters at 23 is still pretty good, so I figure I can take a year or two off without feeling too guilty.” Besides hard work and dedication, Brianna said that she has accomplished a lot with many thanks to Saint Rose. Brianna commented, “I’ve been lucky enough to be in a stellar program with exceptional professors and peers where dedication and hard work have become the norm. Doing my best has always been important to me, but I just simply like writing, I like reading and thinking about and discussing literature. Being able to do those things in such an encouraging and challenging environment has been fantastic.” Brianna also acknowledged the importance of the skills she’s obtained with her degrees and experiences at Saint Rose: “The skills I’ve learned will definitely be useful in the future. Learning to write and communicate clearly, being able to do thorough research and to synthesize information, and just to bring an analytic and critical eye to my own work will hopefully be beneficial. The writing skills I’ve learned at Saint Rose is already paying off, and I’m excited to see what else is in store.” Those writing skills are definitely paying off— Brianna’s poem “We Do Not Die” was recently published in  Thoughtsmith, an online literary magazine!

Finally, here are some memories and skills that will stick with Kaitlin and Brianna as they move on from Saint Rose:

Kaitlin: “Memories of, no matter how much work school was, being able to have friends in class who all were in the same boat. In other words, feeling like we were figuring out this grad school thing together. I really enjoyed doing independent work with Megan Fulwiler and being able to build my own projects and classes based on the specific things I was interested in. My Advanced Project was probably the favorite thing that I did in graduate school. I found the research fascinating on it and really enjoyed being able to look at real-time data from my classmates’ tweets! It was something I can say I was truly proud of by the time it was all finished!”

Brianna: “I’m an intern at a lobbying firm right now, and these skills have already helped me gain access to more interesting projects, like researching for new lobbying opportunities, reading through budget documents, and editing client memos and proposals. I may not get to write about Zizek and RHPS every day post-grad, but having written about Zizek and RHPS has sharpened my writing skills, and has allowed me to engage topics in more complex ways, which has made me a stronger writer and thinker. Saint Rose has given me the opportunity to explore creative ideas in both my creative and academic writing, and has granted me access to people with truly excellent minds.”

Congratulations on your outstanding work, Kaitlin and Brianna!


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