English Alumni Working in the Arts
I'm currently working as the Web Editor and Writer for Suffolk University's College of Arts and Sciences. I am also the Communications Director for The F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company based in Wakefield, MA. After receiving my bachelor's degrees in English and Theatre Arts from Stonehill, I went on to complete my Master's degree in Theatre Education from Emerson College. I graduated in May of 2006. While at Emerson, I worked for their Center For Diversity in the Communication Industries, where I managed the office and had the opportunity and to create, write, and edit many publications they put out. Upon graduation, I worked briefly at Chamber Theatre Productions (a job I was able to get thanks to my Stonehill connections-Patricia Sankus, Department Head of Theatre, is also the Creative Director for Chamber) before ultimately landing my job here at Suffolk. At Suffolk, my English skills are used heavily every day. I am responsible for the review and editing of every website page in the College, as well as the creation of new, dynamic news stories by attending university events as a press contact. I also teach a freshman experience class, as well as one section of freshman English-opportunities that I have obtained thanks to my solid Stonehill education. Having made such close relationships with several of my professors in both English and Theatre Arts at Stonehill, I had a great foundation in how to be a mentor, how to best serve students, and how to set young people up on a solid road to success. I cannot say enough how important it is to get to know your professors as people and learn from their academic and personal advice. My best advice for current English majors is to not only appreciate the wisdom of your professors, but also remember never to lose your own unique voice. My background in theatre combined with English gave me a great foundation to be myself, and that shined in my interviews and in my personal interactions. I was actually told that I had given one of the best interviews my current boss has ever seen-I attribute this to the confidence I have that my own skills are top quality, and my voice is important. It may be difficult to find yourself when you a buried underneath countless papers, all demanding you to fit yourself into the writing style your professor prefers, but in the end, your own thoughts express themselves best when you feel like you are putting your voice behind them.
A 2004 Graduate
After graduation, I headed to New York to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry at New York University, but quickly realizing it wasn't right, decided to leave but continue work in the city as a cabinetmaker. Eventually, I became intellectually restless enough to go back to school and am now finishing up an M.A. at Brooklyn College, with plans to go onto a PhD next Fall. I am also an adjunct lecturer at the college, where I teach College Composition. I'm not sure if I have any advice or even any probable lifecoach dictums, but I would emphasize the importance of enjoying the pleasure of knowing and learning for its own sake. You must eat the cake while it's fresh. Yes, carpe diem and memento mori but also to reach for and cherish those "nameless graces no methods teach."
John O'Hern '67
I "retired" last year after 35 years in the museum business, moved West after a lifetime in the East, and fully expected to spend the rest of my life reading and hiking in the mountains. That didn't last long. I'm now Senior Editor for two art magazines-American Art Collector and Western Art Collector-write several columns and exhibition previews each month, and work as an independent curator and art writer. At Stonehill I was editor of the Summit and drove the administration crazy with my editorials. English classes gave me the opportunity to read good literature and to analyze its content and style. Theology and philosophy classes taught me precise thinking. Throughout my career I have encouraged students to learn as much as possible, to be curious, to travel, and to take chances. A degree in English is a good base for any number of careers. I honed my writing skills both in my classes and at the Summit and that led me to my first job in public relations at Bowdoin College. That pr experience led to my first museum job, overseeing p.r. and publications at a major art museum. Now I'm back where I started-writing about art. During a hiatus from art museums I attended grad school in architecture and spent 6 years as resident curator of a Frank Lloyd Wright house. Writing was the order of the day there, as well. I wrote grant applications and the successful proposal to get the house designated a National Historic Landmark. I also wrote the successful application for listing the neighborhood on the National Register of Historic Places. An English major can do just about anything!