An Interview with Graduating Senior Abbey Barker

Congratulations to Abbey Barker! She will be graduating in May with a Bachelor’s degree in English. We took this opportunity to ask her a few questions about her time here at St. Rose and what her plans are for the future.

Headshots by K. Pfeister, February 2014 (8)

What made you decide to become an English major?

I was originally a Communications major with a Journalism concentration when I started at Saint Rose. After my first six weeks of classes, I realized that switching my major would be the most beneficial thing for me in the long run. Dr. Cailin Brown was incredibly influential in my decision to transfer over to the English department. She said to me, “Abbey, I have three degrees on the wall and none of them are for journalism. Become an English major and it will be the best decision you’ll ever make.” She was so right.

Why Saint Rose?

I’ve lived in the Albany area for most of my life, so Saint Rose has always been in my periphery. When the time came to observe the school, I loved the small class sizes and the familial atmosphere that makes Saint Rose a wonderful place to grow and learn.

What was your experience like as a St. Rose student? Any particular classes or moments that stand out?

My experience at Saint Rose was a bit different than most English majors: Throughout all four years I’ve had either an internship or job located in Manhattan, so most of my time has been spent there continuing my education outside of the classroom. Inside the classroom, my greatest memory was English 311, Writing Creative Non-Fiction, with Professor Nester in the fall semester of my sophomore year. Nester really challenged all of us, pulling out our true potential – I’m still learning from that class nearly three years later. Other standout moments are my literature and theory classes with Dr. Sweeney and Senior Seminar with Dr. Morrow. I can’t say enough wonderful things about both Dr. Sweeney and Dr. Morrow; I am so thankful to have been able to learn from them.

Do you have an area of concentration?  What are you most interested in, with regard to English studies?

Creative non-fiction and memoir are the areas I have tried to focus the most on throughout my time here. Thanks to Dr. Sweeney, however, I have also become interested in cultural theory and criticism.

What’s next for you?

A few days after graduation I will be moving to Brooklyn and continuing to work at Bob Mackie Design Group as their Administrative Director.

What are your long-term goals for your degree?

Ultimately, my goal is to write for television and film. Within the next year, I am going to start taking improv and sketch writing classes at Upright Citizens Brigade in Chelsea (where Amy Poehler started out) and hopefully make the transition from there to television. I would also love to be a staff writer for a fashion magazine at some point along the way. I have a few areas of deep interest, so I’m thankful for a degree that can carry me through whichever creative field I decide to land in.

Any advice for new or prospective English majors at St Rose?

The greatest advice I can give to new English majors is simply to intern. Interning is not just a plus for your resume and experience levels, but it ensures that you’re not merely going through the motions of college. Internships can either make you fall in love with your major and goals post-graduation or it can show you that you don’t love it and want to take a different path. If it weren’t for my internships, I would have stayed a communications major. An internship a year or each summer can work wonders for students, on both education and personal fronts. The English department is incredibly supportive of their students who chose to take their studies into the real world and truly make themselves available to help you find the best placement.


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