The English Program

The English Department at Saint Vincent College provides an atmosphere and a setting for students to continue the 2,500 year-old conversation about text, language, creativity and imagination. With literature at the center of the conversation, students pursue focused intra-textual reading and apply wider insights that cross national, historical, critical and disciplinary boundaries.

Students in the Saint Vincent College English department think, research and write more fluently about the canon as well as popular culture. Ultimately, the person graduating with a degree in English will comprehend language both as an instrument and an art, having explored the felicitous tension between creative impulse and traditional form. 

What Can I Do With a Major in English?

Our English major alumni not only survive in the “real world,” they thrive.  Saint Vincent English majors teach in high schools throughout the United States, and many recent graduates have launched successful, fulfilling careers as lawyers, business administrators, college professors, librarians, professional writers, editors and authors. 

English Newsenglish-news
Meg Matich

Meg MatichMegan Matich (C’11) earned a bachelor of arts degree in English, minoring in German, at Saint Vincent College before pursuing her master’s degree.

Now, Megan works in financial journalism for a Fortune 500 company, has published two books and has just received a joint grant with the Icelandic Ministry of Education and Culture and the Fulbright Commission to study Icelandic as a Second Language at the University of Iceland as a part of a three-year program. This auxiliary project sprang from her recent work translating several Icelandic poems from Magnús Sigurðsson that were featured in the publication Words Without Borders, which earned her a PEN/Heim translation grant. Megan will utilize the Fulbright grant to translate and edit an anthology of a variety of Icelandic poets. The anthology will include a critical introduction that elaborates on poetry as an arm for social progress and as an important fixture of everyday life in Iceland, an astoundingly literate country. Megan will be supervised by two translation studies scholars, Ástraður Eysteinsson and Martin Regal, as well as her mentor and friend Gyrðír Elíasson, whose poems she is currently translating. She will concurrently intern with two small publishing houses, whose catalogs she hopes to populate with translated literature.

Dennis McDaniel

Dennis McDanielDennis McDaniel, Associate Professor and Chair of the English Department, has published a article in the April 22-May 5 edition of The National Catholic Reporter. His article, “Did Distorted Memories Form the Gospels?,” reviews Bart D. Ehrman’s latest book, Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Stories of Their Savior.

Zach Noble

Zach Noble, a 2013 graduate, Creative Writing concentrator, and former Editor of The Review, will attend Georgetown Law School beginning in the fall of 2016 on a partial scholarship. Zach is presently a staff writer for FCW, an online journal that covers civilian federal workforce issues. Previously, Zach served as assistant editor at the news site TheBlaze. He has also written for The Washington Free Beacon, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Federalist and Washington Technology.

Dr. Michelle Gil-Montero Wins Howard Foundation Fellowship

Michelle Gil-MonteroMichelle Gil-Montero, Associate Professor of English, is one of nine recipients of a $33,000 fellowship from the George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation. The fellowships are awarded for the 2016–17 academic year in the fields of literary translation, literary study, and creative nonfiction. She will use the grant to continue her project on the first translation of poetry by Argentine writer J. C. Bustriazo Ortiz.

Established in 1952 at Brown University, the Howard Foundation annually awards approximately 10 fellowships to early and mid-career recipients who have achieved recognition for at least one major project. The fellowships provide artists and scholars in the creative arts and critical studies with time to complete their work.

Kat Ordiway Wins Creativity Award

Kat OrdiwayKathryn Ordiway, a senior English major from St. Mary’s, PA, has received the first William Stubbs Creativity Award for her collection of integrated stories entitled, On Loyals Haven.

Ordiway’s story collection is--to quote from the Stubbs Creativity Award criteria--“a celebration of imagination, restlessness, free expression, and creative risk-taking.” The stories demonstrate a remarkably profound insight into the human condition and the diversity that exists within a small community--and, by extension, all communities--as experienced through the eyes of the residents of the coastal, Catholic town of Loyals Haven.

Kathryn employs the experimental technique of narrative and perceptual fragmentation and also uses elements of the surreal as she focuses on grief, the perplexities of family life, and the ripple of effects caused by a single, sudden death. Her stories address various societal pressures and the ways in which cultural norms encourage people to make decisions they would not otherwise choose to make, the ways in which family members privately react to each other, and the ways in which these individuals interact with one another in the public eye. Using fluid language and almost poetic descriptions of places and situations, Kathryn's stories particularly concern themselves with the quiet, unspoken divisions that exist between people, even those close to each other because of familial or social circumstance. Her work is a lovely, un-skeptical, un-ironic look at interior landscapes in front of an exterior landscape any sensitive reader will immediately recognize.

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SVC English Majors in the Classroom

Our majors teach in elementary, middle grade, and secondary schools, both public and private, in New York, Virginia, Maryland, Florida and the District of Columbia.  In the Pittsburgh area, Saint Vincent English majors teach in the Gateway, Norwin, Hempfield, Canon-McMillan school districts, and at Bishop Guilfoyle, Geibel Catholic, Serra Catholic, the Valley School of Ligonier and the Winchester-Thurston school.

SVC English Majors in Creative Writing Programs

Recent graduates have attended top MFA programs in creative writing with notoriously steep acceptance rates.  They have studied Poetry at Saint Mary’s College, Colorado State, Vermont College of Fine Arts, and Columbia University, Literary Translation at Queens College of CUNY and Screenwriting at Chapman University. 

Our students and graduates have active writing lives, and many have attended top creative writing residency programs, including Banff, NY State Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College and the Juniper Institute at UMass.

SVC English Majors in Academia

Students from our department have earned doctorates from the University of Cincinnati, the University of Minnesota, Michigan State University, Duquesne University, Carnegie-Mellon University, West Virginia University and the University of Leuven, Belgium.  Presently, two recent graduates are pursuing doctorates at the University of Pittsburgh and one at the University of Illinois. 

Our students are professors at numerous institutions, such as the University of Ankara, University of Arkansas-Monticello, University of St. Thomas, Saint Vincent College, University of Texas and others. Some majors have earned the terminal degree of Masters in Library Science and work as librarians and archivists, and others have gone into academic administration and student affairs. 

SVC English Majors in Law, Business and Professional Writing

Every SVC English major who has applied to law school has been admitted.  Our majors have studied law at Duquesne University, the University of Pittsburgh, Dayton University and Penn State Law School at Dickinson. 

The skills in writing and critical thinking have won our majors fulfilling administrative careers with companies and organizations such as United Way of Pittsburgh, Wheeling Jesuit University, Samuel Industries, Postcard Mania, Saint Vincent College, BNY Mellon and The Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, among many more. 

Of course, many of our graduates have successful careers as freelance writers, copywriters and journalists, working in such firms as Mullen Advertising, St. Lynn’s Press, Public Citizen, Rosetta Books, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Blaze, the Washington County Community Organization and the Wisconsin Taxpayer Alliance. 

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Requirements for a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English

Required Courses
English majors must take the following 4 courses:
EL 202 - Intermediate Writing (taken after the freshman year) - 3 credits
EL 325 - Literary Criticism I (offered only in the fall) - 3 credits
EL 326 - Literary Criticism II (offered only in the spring) - 3 credits
Taken after the freshman year, these two Literary Criticism classes are not sequential.
EL 400 - Senior Project - Taken during the fall semester of the senior year, this course engages you in the completion of your capstone project. Capstone projects may range from twenty-five page literary analyses to collections of poetry. These projects should spring from your concentrations and may be extensions or elaborations of a paper that you completed in another English course.

English Concentration
By the end of your freshman year, you should choose one of the following concentrations. Advisers will work with you to create term projects and a senior project that spring from your concentration. If you seek any exceptions for the courses required for the concentration, please see the department chair. 

American Studies
Choose four of the following:
EL 113 - Women and Literature - 3 credits
EL 131 - American Literature: Exploration to Civil War - 3 credits
EL 132 - American Literature: Civil War to the Present - 3 credits
EL 137 - American Short Story - 3 credits
EL 138 - Multi-Ethnic Literature of the US - 3 credits
EL 139 - African American Literature - 3 credits
EL 143 - The Beat Generation - 3 credits
EL 242- American Renaissance - 3 credits
EL 256 - Sentimenal Fictions - 3 credits
EL 258 - American Modernism - 3 credits
EL 274 - Representations of Childhood in Film - 3 credits 

Children’s Literature:
Required courses:
EL 128 - Children's Literature: Fables to 1900 - 3 credits
EL 130 - Children's Literature: 1900 to Present - 3 credits
EL 273 - Representations of Childhood in Literature - 3 credits
EL 274 - Representations of Childhood in Film - 3 credits 

Classicism and Romanticism:
Required classes:
EL 115 - British Literature: Neoclassicism to Modernism - 3 credits
EL 131 - American Literature: Exploration to Civil War - 3 credits
EL 210 - Classical Greek Poetry & Drama - 3 credits
EL 224 - The Romantic Age - 3 credits
EL 242 - American Renaissance - 3 credits 

Creative Writing:
Choose four of the following:
EL 110 - Introduction to Creative Writing - 3 credits
EL 142 - Creative Writing: Magazine Production - 3 credits
EL 203 - Poetry Workshop - 3 credits
EL 204 - Fiction Workshop - 3 credits
EL 244 - Creative Nonfiction Workshop - 3 credits
EL 252 - Creative Writing: Literary Translation - 3 credits 

Drama and Performance:
Choose four of the following:
EL 114 - British Literature: Middle Ages to Restoration - 3 credits
EL 126 - Rock 'n' Roll Criticism - 3 credits
EL 127 - Shakespeare on Film - 3 credits
EL 210 - Classical Greek Poetry & Drama - 3 credits
EL 213 - Shakespeare's Histories - 3 credits
EL 214 - Shakespeare's Comedies/Tragedies - 3 credits
EL 236 - Modern European Literature - 3 credits  

Interdisciplinary Studies:
Choose four of the following:
EL 121 - Faces of Battle - 3 credits
EL 127 - Shakespeare on Film - 3 credits
EL 138 - Multi-Ethnic Literature in the US - 3 credits
EL 147 - Arthurian Literature - 3 credits
EL 149 - J.R.R. Tolkien - 3 credits
EL 211 - Medieval Studies - 3 credits
EL 224 - The Romantic Age - 3 credits
EL 274 - Representations of Childhood in Film - 3 credits 

Literary Translation:
Required courses:
EL 110 - Introduction to Creative Writing - 3 credits
EL 236 - Modern European Literature - 3 credits
EL 252 - Creative Writing: Literary Translation - 3 credits
Choose one of the following:
EL 203 - Poetry Workshop - 3 credits 
EL 204 - Fiction Workshop - 3 credits
EL 244 - Creative Writing Workshop  - 3 credits

Literature and Politics:
Choose four of the following:
EL 111 - Green Writing: Literature and the Environment - 3 credits
EL 113 - Women and Literature - 3 credits
EL 121 - Faces of Battle - 3 credits
EL 138 - Multi-Ethnic Literature of the US - 3 credits
EL 139 - African American Literature - 3 credits
EL 143 - The Beat Generation - 3 credits
EL 179 - Literature of Social Protest - 3 credits
EL 256 - Sentimental Fiction - 3 credits 

Literature and Spirituality:
Choose four of the following:
EL 124 - Literature and the Bible - 3 credits
EL 143 - The Beat Generation - 3 credits
EL 148 - Modern Catholic Literature - 3 credits
EL 211 - Medieval Studies - 3 credits
EL 216 - British Renaissance Literature - 3 credits 

Literature and the Family:
Choose four of the following:
EL113 - Women and Literature - 3 credits
EL 138 - Multi-Ethnic Literature in the US - 3 credits
EL 273 - Representations of Childhood in Literature - 3 credits
EL 216 - British Renaissance Literature - 3 credits
EL 244 - Creative Nonfiction Workshop - 3 credits 

Literature of Dissent:
Choose four of the following:
EL 110 - Introduction to Creative Writing - 3 credits
EL 139 - African American Literature - 3 credits
EL 143 - The Beat Generation - 3 credits
EL 179 - Literature of Social Protest - 3 credits
EL 126 - Rock 'n' Roll Criticism - 3 credits
EL 224 - Creative Nonfiction Workshop - 3 credits 

Medieval and Renaissance Studies:
Choose four of the following:
EL 114 - British Literature: Middle Ages to Restoration - 3 credits
EL 127 - Shakespeare on Film - 3 credits
EL 147 - Arthurian Literature - 3 credits
EL 211 - Medieval Studies - 3 credits
EL 212 - Chaucer - 3 credits
EL 213 - Shakespeare's Histories - 3 credits
EL 214 - Shakespeare's Comedies/Tragedies - 3 credits
EL 216 - British Renaissance Literature - 3 credits  

Modernism and Postmodernism:
Choose four of the following:
EL 126 - Rock 'n' Roll Criticism - 3 credits
EL 138 - Multi-Ethnic Literature of the US - 3 credits
EL 143 - The Beat Generation - 3 credits
EL 236 - Modern European Literature - 3 credits
EL 258 - American Modernism - 3 credits
One of the following may substituted:
EL 203 - Poetry Workshop - 3 credits
EL 204 - Fiction Workshop - 3 credits
EL 244 - Creative Nonfiction Workshop - 3 credits
EL 252 - Creative Writing: Literary Translation - 3 credits  

Narrative:
Required courses:
EL 110 - Introduction to Creative Writing - 3 credits
EL 204 - Fiction Workshop - 3 credits
Choose two of the following:
EL 137 - American Short Story - 3 credits
EL 236 - Modern European Literature - 3 credits
EL 256 - Sentimental Fiction - 3 credits
EL 258 - American Modernism - 3 credits 

Poetry: 
Required courses:
EL 110 - Introduction to Creative Writing - 3 credits
EL 203 - Poetry Workshop - 3 credits
Choose two of the following:
EL 114 - British Literature: Middle Ages to Restoration - 3 credits
EL 115 - British Literature: Neoclassicism to Modernism - 3 credits
EL 143 - The Beat Generation - 3 credits
EL 210 - Classical Greek Poetry & Drama - 3 credits
EL 212 - Chaucer - 3 credits
EL 216 - British Renaissance Literature - 3 credits  

Pop Culture Studies:
Choose three of the following:
EL 125 - History and Development of Science Fiction - 3 credits
EL 126 - Rock 'n' Roll Criticism - 3 credits
EL 127 - Shakespeare on Film - 3 credits
EL 149 - J.R.R. Tolkien - 3 credits
EL 256 - Sentimental Fiction - 3 credits
Choose one of the following:
EL 129 - Young Adult Fiction - 3 credits
EL 130 - Children's Literature: 1900 to Present - 3 credits  

Shakespeare:
Choose four of the following:
EL 114 - British Literature: Middle Ages to Restoration - 3 credits
EL 127 - Shakespeare on Film - 3 credits
EL 213 - Shakespeare's Histories - 3 credits
EL 214 - Shakespeare's Comedies/Tragedies - 3 credits
EL 216 - British Renaissance Literature - 3 credits  

Women’s Literature:
Choose four of the following: 
EL113 - Women and Literature - 3 credits
EL 138 - Multi-Ethnic Literature of the US - 3 credits
EL 148 - Modern Catholic Literature - 3 credits
EL 244 - Creative Nonfiction Workshop - 3 credits
EL 256 - Sentimental Fiction - 3 credits

World Literature:
Choose four of the following:
EL 110 - Introduction to Creative Writing - 3 credits
EL 111 - Green Writing: Literature and the Environment - 3 credits
EL 122 - African Studies - 3 credits
EL 138 - Multi-Ethnic Literature of the US - 3 credits
EL 210 - Classical Greek Poetry & Drama - 3 credits
EL 236 - Modern European Literature - 3 credits
EL 252 - Creative Writing: Literary Translation - 3 credits 

Writing:
Required courses:
EL 110 - Introduction to Creative Writing - 3 credits
EL 107 - News Writing - 3 credits
EL 108 - Technical Writing - 3 credits
Choose one of the following:
EL 142 - Creative Writing: Magazine Production - 3 credits
EL 203 - Poetry Workshop - 3 credits
EL 204 - Fiction Workshop - 3 credits
EL 244 - Creative Nonfiction Workshop - 3 credits
EL 252 - Creative Writing: Literary Translation - 3 credits  

Electives
Choose four courses offered by the department, but keep the term project requirement in mind.
Requirements for a Minor in English

The minor in English offers a flexible program of study that allows students to build skills in writing, analytical reading and critical thinking. This minor nurtures curiosity and fosters appreciation of literature, art and culture. A minor in English communicates both technical and analytical competencies to future employers and graduate admissions counselors. Because it enhances intellect, conversational agility and marketability, a minor in English complements any major.

Students seeking a minor in English must take:
  • Either EL 325- Literary Criticism I or EL 326- Literary Criticism II
  • Five other English courses - Two of which must require researched literary analyses credits.

See also Minor in Children's Literature and Minor in Creative Writing

Term Projects

Term projects are heavily weighted requirements of certain courses listed below. The nature of these projects may vary, but two of your term projects must be researched literary analyses. You must file evidence of completed Term Projects in your electronic portfolio in the English Majors Blackboard site. 

Inform your instructor that you would like your project to count toward the course project or literary research essay requirement, and upload that project to your online portfolio on the Blackboard site. Papers completed in the Common Courses, including your senior capstone project, DO NOT satisfy the term project requirement. 

The following courses require Term Projects: 

  • EL 121 - Faces of Battle: War and Peace in History, Literature, and the Arts  
  • EL 122 - African Studies 
  • EL 124 - Literature and the Bible 
  • EL 125 - Science Fiction 
  • EL 126 - Rock 'n' Roll Criticism 
  • EL 128 - Children's Literature: Fables to 1900
  • EL 129 - Young Adult Fiction 
  • EL 130 - Children's Literature and Media 
  • EL 143 - The Beat Generation 
  • EL 147 - Arthurian Literature 
  • EL 148 - Modern Catholic Literature 
  • EL 149 - J.R.R. Tolkien 
  • EL 203 - Poetry Workshop
  • EL 204 - Fiction Workshop 
  • EL 224 - The Romantic Age 
The following courses require Researched Literary Analyses: 
 
  • EL 210 - Classical Greek Poetry & Drama
  • EL 211 - Medieval Studies 
  • EL 212 - Chaucer 
  • EL 213 - Shakespeare's Histories 
  • EL 214 - Shakespeare's Comedies/Tragedies 
  • EL 216 - British Renaissance Literature 
  • EL 242 - American Renaissance 
  • EL 256 - Sentimental Fictions: American Women Writers in the Nineteenth Century
  • EL 258 - American Modernism 
  • EL 259 - Critical Approaches to Children's Literature 
  • EL 273 - Representations of Childhood in Literature 
  • EL 274 - Representations of Childhood in Film
Electronic Portfolio

The Electronic Portfolio is a virtual folder in which you will upload electronic copies of your four Term Projects, your senior Capstone Project, and brief surveys regarding your composition of these projects. During your final semester, to fulfill requirements for your Exit Interview grade, you will upload a Senior Reflection paper that assesses your work as an English major throughout your college career.

Secondary Education Certification

If you are pursuing Secondary Education Certification, you must take the following courses, which may serve as elective or concentration credits: 

  • EL 119 -  History of the English Language (offered only in the fall);
  • EL 129 - Young Adult Fiction or EL 273 - Representations of Children in Literature for Young Adults;
  • EL 127 Shakespeare on Film (offered only in the summer), EL 213 - Shakespeare’s Histories (spring semesters only), or EL 214 - Shakespeare’s Comedies and Tragedies (spring semesters only);
  • One of the following American literature courses: EL 131 - American Literature: Exploration to Civil War or EL 132 - American Literature: Civil War to Present            
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Internships and Careers

Ultimately, the person graduating with a degree in English will comprehend language both as a tool and an art, having explored the felicitous tension between creative impulse and traditional form. Such a comprehension enables graduates to succeed in teaching, law, professional writing, creative writing and academia.

Kathryn Ordiway: Editorial Intern

Internship: Editorial Intern, St. Lynn’s Press/Pittsburgh
Date: Summer 2015
Class of 2016

Kathryn OrdiwayThere’s never a dull day in a publishing company, especially if you’re an intern at a small press. This summer, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to intern at St. Lynn’s Press in Pittsburgh. Somehow, there seems to be this common consensus that interns spend most of their time picking up the mail and getting coffee for their boss; my experience was the complete opposite.

From day one, I was part of every part of the publishing process, from beginning to end. My big project for the summer was to pitch book ideas at the query meetings we had every week. I wrote copy for newsletters and blogs, worked on tipsheets, attended all the staff meetings and participated in phone meetings, communicated with authors and agents, and, of course, edited. I saw books at every stage of the editing process. I also spent a lot of time on the copyright office’s website registering books. 

My time with St. Lynn’s wasn’t just about professional experience. I had amazing life experiences as well. We visited a St. Lynn’s author who lives off the grid, took a field trip to the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, went to the Three Rivers Arts Festival, and took the occasional walk along the Monongahela River. 

It was an amazing summer on the South Side and I was sad to see it end. I left St. Lynn’s with a fuller appreciation for the editing process and a new understanding of what it means to edit someone else’s work. 


Zach Tackett: Editorial Intern
Internship: Sampsonia Way Magazine & City of Asylum/Pittsburgh
Date: Summer 2012
Class of 2013

Zach TackettAs an editorial intern for Sampsonia Way Magazine, I was given the opportunity to gain real life experience in journalism and civil rights activism. After a few short weeks during the summer between my junior and senior years, I conducted interviews with several prominent figures, including a Guatemalan journalist who was forced to flee her home after speaking out against an unjust vigilante law enforcement group, as well as City of Asylum/Pittsburgh's then-current writer-in-residence, Israel Centeno, about his first U.S. publication.

I learned to write in not only classic-journalistic styles, but also through more multimedia-driven styles, such as photojournalism and blurb "roundup" styles. Before leaving, I also had the opportunity to volunteer for City of Asylum/Pittsburgh's annual Cave Canem reading where such fine poets as Nikky Finney, Nikki Giovanni, Angela Jackson, and Thomas Sayers Ellis read their award-winning work. (I also aided in the video interview of Thomas Sayers Ellis.)

It was a busy and fun experience, and I walked away from my internship with a stronger understanding and appreciation of the editorial process, more experimental styles of journalism, and web-based content, and on a more personal note, with more patience for taking the time necessary to truly edit something. 


Bethany Biesinger: Professional Writing Intern
Internship: Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau
Date: Spring 2011
Class of 2014

Being an intern with the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau was an excellent experience. That was in the spring of 2011 at their office in Ligonier. The first portion of my internship was writing summaries of the grants that had received funding from the Visitors Bureau. This was both for their records and in preparation for the program for their presentation of the grants. It involved researching the groups and choosing pertinent information for the summaries. After writing the summaries, I also proofed them. I was permitted to make my own schedule, and usually worked 10 to 15 hours a week. They then asked me to stay on once this project was finished.

My new job was to manage their client and member database from events and shows the Bureau would host or have a display at. It involved working with the database they had purchased for this purpose, organizing it, and entering new information. This internship absolutely came in handy because I have done both of these things in my current graduate student researcher job with the Learning Research and Development Center. My GSR position requires 20 hours of work a week and completely pays for grad school, healthcare, and gives me a monthly stipend. Part of my GSR position involves proofing documents and units. I have also worked on their membership database and have created programs similar to the ones at the Visitors Bureau. The internship undoubtedly helped me to get my GSR position and my GSR position has been worth thousands for me.

Exceptional Alumniexceptional-alumni-english
Exceptional Alumni

The following Saint Vincent College English Alumni have gone on to exciting, interesting, and diverse careers after they graduated. Whether you wish to pursue teaching, law, publishing, or writing, the English Department will prepare you for any career path that you might choose and work with you to make your dreams a reality. 

Ben Summers, Doctoral Student

Ben SummersI recently was accepted to The College of William and Mary's Computer Science doctorate program! I'll be teaching and studying the insides, outsides, and communication networks of computers for the next 3 to 5 years! 

I am lucky enough to have received some very substantial scholarships and a teaching aide position so I'm not going to have to pay much (or really anything) for school. It's a sweet deal and I can't express how excited and honored I am to be accepted to such a prestigious school. This summer I'll be attending concerts, reading as many books as I can get my hand on, and working as a full-time software engineer for Iron Bridge Integration!

On the English side of my two majors, I was recently published in Pittsburgh Craft magazine and have continued to write for Sunken Treasures Music Blog. I hope to continue writing about beer, music, and movies because, really, can I have a bigger dream job? And now that people are actually paying me, there's no reason to stop!

I absolutely believe that my English major helped me get where I am going. SVC gave me the best possible nerd to "normal person" translating skills; I know that my ability to explain complex computer science concepts in simple terms is a major advantage. Additionally, my training in English has given me some great opportunities in non-computer science areas. My time writing for The Review gave me the journalistic experience I use everyday for Sunken Treasures and my other music writings. I know that my articles, which have been spotlighted by The Flaming Lips, Gotham Publishing, and Grave Mistake Records, are chosen because of the eloquence, creativity, and technical skills stressed by the English program. My journalistic experience opened the door to my publications with Pittsburgh Craft magazine, writing as the London AIFS Student Blogger ( http://blog.aifsabroad.com/author/gruntbladegmail-com/ ) when I studied overseas (as well as my publication for the AIFS official blog ( http://blog.aifsabroad.com/2013/05/23/a-very-rock-and-roll-tour-of-london/ ). It's amazing how much I've had published in the few years I've been here and I cannot express how thankful I am for everything I learned and was given by the department. Not many students, no matter what the school, can say their copy was published as a cover story for a magazine that has a distribution in one of the major cities of the US!

I'd love to pass along Sunken Treasures Music Blog where I write as Marco Esquandolas ( http://sunkentreasuresmusic.com/ ) and mention all the achievements of the Coverlet Concert Series to bring major Pittsburgh bands to SVC for free. It's the perfect cross of my organizing, music love, and time as a writer for Sunken! And, in my opinion, is the coolest thing that has happened on this campus. 

Jenna Miley, International Educator

Jenna MileyAfter I graduate this May, I will jet off to France for the next year. I was accepted as a scholarship student at the International College in Cannes, which is on the beach in the South of France. At the college, I will work for about twenty hours a week in the library in order to compensate for daily French language courses, meals, and lodging for three months. I was also accepted into the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF), which is sponsored by the French Ministry of Education. At the end of September, I will start a job teaching English at the secondary level in the Academy of Créteil, a region in the suburbs of Paris. Also during the fall, I plan to start my applications for graduate school. I would like to pursue a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, and my long-term goal is to become a college professor.

Pursuing an English major has definitely helped me achieve my immediate plans for after graduation. The Teaching Assistantship Program in France is very competitive and I know that my major in English greatly enhanced my application. Obviously, learning proper grammar rules is fundamental to teaching English as a foreign language; however, the English major encompasses much more. During my time at St. Vincent, the English Professors aided me in becoming a more confident public speaker, a more inquisitive reader, and a more skillful writer. My English major has also allowed me to cross cultural barriers and explore the world. As an undergrad, I was fortunate enough to study abroad in both France and Russia and to study each county’s respective national literature. Ultimately, my major in English has effectively prepared me to reach all of my life goals and has opened up the world to me for exploration.

Joseph A. Carroll, Law School Student

Joe CarrollAfter graduation, my next major step is law school. Starting this fall, I will be attending the Penn State University Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Until the semester starts on August 18, I will continue working as a legal assistant at my family’s law firm, Carroll Law Offices, in Somerset, Pennsylvania and continue working as a church service pianist and organist at Grace Lutheran Church in Stoystown, Pennsylvania and Trinity Lutheran Church in Hooversville, Pennsylvania. In the long-term, I obviously hope to graduate from law school and pursue a successful career in the legal profession, meaning that wherever I end up practicing law and whatever type of law I end up practicing, I genuinely, honestly, and ethically help my clients to the best of my abilities. 

I am exceedingly confident that my English major was instrumental in my success up to this point and will be invaluable to all of my future achievements. My English coursework has taught me to think deeply and write concretely.

Specifically, the methodology of two classes which form the backbone for literary analysis, Literary Criticism I and II, mirror the common pedagogical method used in the study of law of learning the origins and theory of law and the more practical application of the modern manifestations of that history and development. Beyond teaching the history and progression of literary criticism, these classes required me to write essays and term papers which demanded mastery of both the theoretical underpinnings of a given method of literary criticism and the specific application of that method to a text. The formation of well-written arguments, analyses, and the application of intricate, historically developing methodologies in relation to complex, lengthy texts will help to prepare me for the similar task presented in the law of examining complex fact patterns and legal principles with the goal of constructing a meaningful argument to further my client’s needs.

In particular, in my 40-page Senior Thesis, I canvas a large body of scholarship on Ernest Hemingway in order to contribute to the current understandings of Modern masculinity and religious symbology. This cumulative project of the English major allowed me to refine and enact the innumerable lessons I learned about writing, reading, and thinking in my earlier coursework.

The skills I developed as an English major and relationships I formed with faculty were vital to my success on the LSAT, my non-English courses, my job as a legal assistant, and my acceptance at ten top-tier law school—seven of which offered me full tuition scholarships. 

Yet, likely even more valuable than these tangible benefits of my English major, the faculty and other students of the English department have drastically expanded my awareness of and appreciation for literature, movies, music, visual art, politics, religion, the usage of medieval weaponry in class, Klingon Shakespeare, beagles, babies, and baseball.  I find that my everyday appreciation for the world around me has been legitimately and, often, oddly improved by my English major.  Beyond developing a nearly irresistible desire to correct grammar and style errors in advertisements, newspapers, and Facebook posts, my English major experience has helped to foster my general curiosity and thirst for knowledge which I consider essential to being a lifelong learner and allows me to more fully appreciate references and allusions to various cultural and artistic works made in daily conversations, TV shows, movies, and books. The value of the relationships I have formed with the remarkable, quirky, and compassionate faculty and students of the English department cannot be overstated. 

Overall, my English major has sharpened my ability to read, write, work, and think—skills that lay the foundation for success in practically all walks of life, whether it be law, teaching, business, music, poetry, or parenting. 

Our Studentsour-students-english
Super Students

Morgan Stout
morgan-stoutI find that both the English and Education departments here at SVC are second to none. Both of the departments provide students with ample opportunities for success not only academically but in their future endeavors. In particular, SVC affords their education students with the opportunity to pre-student teach as a preparation for their required student teaching. I love working with the middle-school students during my pre-student teaching experience so far. I find that it is important to instill a love of reading and to create a firm foundation for literacy at a young age. I wish to teach my students that literacy is a necessary skill that will affect their performance in both school and in life. The middle-school education curriculum incorporates such reading and literacy skills as text-based citations, word roots construction, and how to properly execute grammatical devices. I find that my Literary Criticism II class helped me to understand a multitude of critical concepts that adds a new level contemplation during reading. I wish to incorporate more of these literary critical theories into the middle-school curriculum so that my students can be better prepared for high school and college English classes.


Connor Chywski
connor-chywskiI have had the exciting experience of being a part of the English and Secondary Education departments for nearly three years.  During this time, I have encountered magnificent professors who show such genuine care and concern.  The small class size combined with these highly qualified and experienced individuals makes for a superb education experience through which essential skills are learned.  The education department has been instrumental in placing students in the field and making our faces familiar sights within many districts.  Additionally, my advisors have been an invaluable resource in getting through the many challenges of meeting mandated state standards and qualifications.  The English department has broadened my mind and sharpened my skills in my chosen content area.  The rigor of the writing courses and multiplicity of literature at my disposal has advanced my understanding and offered a wide range of skills.  Furthermore, the English department curriculum allows for many concentrations and flexibility in scheduling classes. Within the English and Education departments, students have the opportunities to take part in academic conferences as well as join honors societies, which are helpful in opening doors in the future.  Both departments have been instrumental in creating an atmosphere wherein students may learn and access the essential skills needed for their chosen fields. 


Christina Morgal
For the past three years, I have had the exhilarating experience to be a part of the English Department here at Saint Vincent. My professors have encouraged and inspired me to become a better writer and literary scholar through their course lessons and essay prompts as well as their attention to fostering our skills as English majors. The Department utilizes the small class sizes to host in-depth discussions of the novels and authors that we study in class and to provide personal insight to students work and research. I recently added a double major in Communication and the transition has been seamless due to the overlapping of topics and techniques explored by both departments. These departments allow me to develop writing skills for literary analyses, journal articles, and press and public relations releases. The English Department also offers students work-study positions that allow them to apply their skills to a multitude of jobs relating to the literary field. My current work-study positions in the department include being the Webmaster and Social Media Co-Director and a staff reporter for the school newspaper, The Review. My Webmaster and Social Media position requires for me to learn how to work on and design a website as well as communicate the image of the department that is as accurate and enticing as possible. I utilize my writing, editorial, and communication skills in this position as the information must be presented in the correct grammatical fashion and the most attractive design. As a staff reporter on the newspaper, I have learned a different writing style than the analytical style that the college environment fosters. This position allows me to be both writer and editor of my articles in order to produce the most newsworthy story that presents the information accurately. Overall, my experience with the English and Communication department thus far has allowed me to grow as a writer and to cultivate skills that will allow me to find a job in the literary field. And, I got to present a paper on Harry Potter at this year’s Sigma Tau Delta national conference! 


Double Majors

Bridget Synan
bridget-synanDouble-majoring in English and politics has given me the unique opportunity to fully engage myself in two interesting fields of study. I find that more often than not my areas of study overlap and lead to new and insightful discussions that I may have otherwise missed. For example, being aware of the socio-political climate and historical time period (I'm also a history minor) in which a novel takes place allows me to better understand character motivation. 

For my senior English thesis, I am working on comparing The Great Gatsby and The Sun Also Rises with a view to how World War I led to a change in social and cultural dynamics depicted in the works. As for politics, I was able to engage myself in a Shakespeare as a Political Thinker course and plan to do my politics thesis on the way in which the political regime at work in the play affects plot and character motivation. I believe that without the multi-discipline background double-majoring has allowed me my theses would not have been possible. 

Traveling to conferences and attending lectures in both areas has been another major benefit of double majoring. I am able to discuss ideas in both areas outside of the classroom and feel that my background gives me an ability to sort through a broader range of new ideas. 

Overall, I believe that having a major in English has greatly benefitted my academic career, as I have honed the ability to write and communicate ideas verbally. Ultimately, my writing and critical thinking skills will benefit my career, whether in law school or other academic ventures.  


Alexis Zawelensky
alexis-zawelenskyMy primary area of student is Marketing, but I recently chose to add English as my second major. The decision to complement my business degree with a duel-focus in the humanities initially came as a surprise to many, yet I find that this decision has been one of the best I’ve made in life thus far. 

My classroom experiences as an English major have taught me to approach traditional marketing concepts in a new light, and have thus broadened my understanding of marketing as a whole. Additionally, the flexibility of the new concentration curriculum allowed me the opportunity to tailor my educational requirements to perfectly complement and enhance my marketing focus.  

I’ve also found that my English major has greatly complemented my business internship experiences; this summer I was a marketing intern for a company that entrusted me with writing their mission and vision statements, rewriting important Sales Proposal documents, and drafting other mass-propagated marketing materials, all because of the skills I’ve acquired in my duel-degree. In particular, I found the techniques taught in my Intermediate Writing course to be particularly valuable as I could apply the skills I learned in class to any field of study.  

My ultimate career goal is to obtain a PhD in Marketing. I know that my time spent in the English department here at Saint Vincent has more than adequately prepared me to write and publish an outstanding dissertation and other consumer-related research.  


Gina McKlveen
gina-mcklveenDoubling majoring in English and Studio Arts has been one of the most beneficial and equally satisfying decisions I have made since coming to Saint Vincent College. When I first graduated from high school, I had no idea what I wanted to major in, let alone where I wanted to go to college. So I spent my first year at Westmoreland County Community College trying to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. It wasn’t until I sat down with Dr. McDaniel, the chairperson of the English department at Saint Vincent, that I was fully convinced that the pursuing an English major was the right path for me.

Not only was the English department welcoming of a transfer student like myself, but it also offered a flexible curriculum that allowed me to pursue both of my passions—literature and the visual arts. Through my studies so far, I’ve learned how to evaluate a body of work with a more critical eye, artistically and theoretically. The connections between literature and art have allowed me to trace the antiquities of these two fields of study and their influences to current literary and art critics. Particularly, Dr. Snyder’s Literary Criticism I: Ancient to Modern course has introduced me to literary critics from Classicism to those of the Renaissance as well as the Romanticism and Modernism movements. Coming from an art background, it is interesting to see how writers reflect the artworks from these same movements and vice versa. Together, these “Sister Arts” go hand in hand and studying each one in greater depth has helped me fully understand and appreciate the work these visionaries created.

In the future, I plan to apply these critical precepts when studying law. Both writers and artists have been the key advocacies for changing the law through their social commentary, so by understanding the concepts and theories of both Studio Art and English I will be able to analyze legislative principles from new perspectives. Ultimately, whether I become a lawyer, author, or artist, I know my dual major will continue to benefit my academic pursuits.


  • Learning Objectives

    Studying English at Saint Vincent College will enable students to:

    • critically read primary literary texts;
    • situate an individual literary work by genre, as well as in literary and cultural history;
    • write essays, in a variety of discourse modes, that reflect a mastery of the Six Principles of Good Writing;
    • write an effective research paper on literature; and
    • understand and apply literary theory.