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Alumni Perspectives

Stefanie Galeano
B.A. in Professional Writing
Graduated in 2009

"The Professional Writing Program took my passion for writing and turned it into a career. Professionals are expected to do more with less. Perfecting the fundamentals of writing and being exposed to various elements of business, design, and theory prepared me for high expectations in the workplace.

Since graduation, I have been fortunate to participate in various print and online writing/editing opportunities, which have included developing an award winning community health magazine, creating company website and advertisement content, freelancing in various styles for diverse audiences, as well as producing a range of professional newsletters, pamphlets, and brochures.

The B.A. in Professional Writing offers a customized program, talented and caring professors, and the unique resources students need to be successful in writing-related careers."

Angela Eckhart
pursuing graduate degree
Graduated May 2007

“The courses I have taken in the Professional Writing degree program at Penn State Berks have provided me with a solid foundation in the writing and publishing field. I benefited from all of the courses, but my favorites were Biographical Writing, Advanced Nonfiction, Writing for the Web, Science Writing, Fiction Writing, and American Literature from 1865. I studied various genres, but my preference is writing fiction. During my internship, I worked with local author Dennis Phillips, researching and writing copy for his book, Golfing Communities in the Southeast, published by McFarland & Company in 2004. I began my graduate studies full time with Wilkes University, and I am pursuing my Master of Arts degree in Creative Writing. I am working on my first novel with my mentor, Kaylie Jones, author of A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries. She is the daughter of the late James Jones who wrote A Thin Red Line and From Here to Eternity. Upon completion of my master’s degree in January 2009, I hope to pursue a career in the publishing world. I have been working for the state for over 11 years as an administrative assistant in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. I am proud to be a graduate of Penn State Berks campus, and the Professional Writing degree has been invaluable to me, opening my future to many possibilities.”

Ben Jordi
Writer/Editor for the Office of the Federal Register
Washington, DC 20002
Graduated December 2004

"The Professional Writing program allowed me to test the waters of different writing genres. What I found was that I could succeed professionally as a business and technical writer while continuing to develop my personal passion for poetry and prose. All were cultivated in the program and all are a part of who I am and what I do today. The single greatest asset the program has, aside from its remarkable faculty, is the internship. Academic knowledge without real-life experience leaves a graduate crippled in their search for work. Whether it's freelance journalism or interning in advertising, there is simply no substitute for having published work before you graduate."

Misty Doane
Data Analysis
Robert Packer Hospital Sayre, PA
Graduated December 2005

 “I do get to use many of the skills I acquired at Penn State in my current position. Patient education pamphlets and booklets are what we are currently working on and I also am designing all of the data collection sheets we currently are using. I think the most important classes I took at PSU that help me at my current job are definitely my tech writing class, news and web writing class, and my peer tutoring class. These classes helped me learn computer skills, expectations of readers and web browsers and streamlining information so that everything I write is understandable and easy to comprehend quickly to all that read the material. Overall, my experience at PSU has given me a wonderful opportunity to hone skills and explore them when I do get to a graduate degree program. I have to say that all of my writing classes were beneficial towards the end goal. I did learn how to get over writers block and learned more of how I wrote through my writing theories class. These classes allow me to look back while the others (tech writing, website writing and web writing) allowed me to look forward.”

Matthew Apsokardu
Marketing and Communication Specialist
Classic Wines, LLC
Graduated December 2006

"The Professional Writing program is an interesting branch-off of traditional degrees like English and Journalism. Instead of focusing purely on literature or news writing, PW spans the spectrum of writing that many businesses encounter in their daily operations. My personal experience in the program was very positive and I was lucky enough to work with some fantastic faculty. The class sizes ranged from normal (15-25) to small (5-15). These smaller classes allowed for great discussion and interaction with the faculty, and I always felt as if my career in PW was being thoughtfully guided. The diversity of experience is one of the most attractive features of the program; one can have a creative writing course, an advanced literature course, and a technical writing course all in the same semester. As a marketing and communication specialist, I’m very thankful for the variety of writing I was exposed to during my years at PW. On any given week I find myself writing press releases, newsletters, articles, web content, etc. Each of these formats requires different tone and style. Simply learning how to write critical analysis or newspaper features won’t cut it. Even for someone who wants to freelance novels, it’s a good idea to learn how to write smaller pieces and acquire writing credits before shooting for the big time."

Gladys Santiago
Media and Marketing Associate, Nielsen Business Media
2004, B.A. in Professional Writing, Minor in Communication Arts and Sciences

"The Professional Writing program provided me with experience in a wide variety of writing genres, which allowed me to explore many career options. The faculty members are passionate about the writing process and their emphasis on revision helped me become a more critical reader, writer and thinker. During my internship, I learned how to present information to business professionals in a manner that encourages them to take action. At no time during my internship was I filing, faxing, making copies or getting coffee. Instead, I spent my time conducting interviews, meeting with investors and creating online content.

I’ve used the research skills I learned as a Professional Writing major throughout my graduate studies at NYU and continue to utilize them when preparing reports and media kits for work. I especially enjoyed creating a portfolio during my senior year, because it helped me stand out from the pack of other job seekers. I still maintain an online portfolio to keep track of my work and network with marketers."