English/Creative Writing Department hosts Career Night


Photo courtesy of oakland.edu

The English/Creative Writing Department at Oakland University hosted a virtual career night event on Nov. 10. The department was joined by Career Consultant Kirsten Boutorwick from Career Services.

D'Juanna Lester, Arts Reporter

On Nov. 10, the English/Creative Writing Department at Oakland University hosted a career night event —  “Navigating your next steps with your English/Creative Writing degree.” This was a virtual event that ran from 7 to 8:30 p.m., hosted by Rachel Smydra and Annette Gilson from the department. 

The event was for the students in the College and Arts and Sciences majors to learn about options for internships and what they can do with their degrees post-graduation. Career Services Career Consultant Kirsten Boutorwick presented a PowerPoint on the Career Services office discussing what they offer and how they can provide students with the necessary tools to get internships while they’re in school. 

The office’s services include: exploring career paths and options, resumes and cover letters, job search strategies, as well as interview prep and mock interviews. The slideshow also went over Handshake, and what students can use it for — searching for jobs, making appointments with advisors, viewing resources, checking out sample resumes and tracking FLAGs worksheets. Handshake can be accessed through the Career Center Services website. 

There were several guest speakers from different companies that spoke to students about what they did with their degrees, sharing  non-traditional job options. One of the guest speakers, Kim Eberhardt, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in public relations (PR).  Now she works for Identity — a communications and PR firm in metro Detroit. 

Eberhardt informed students about what the company does, and how students can use their English degree at Identity, which helps clients with communication challenges. She discussed the “importance of strong writing skills — understanding the written word and how people communicate with each other.” 

Pat Wilkinson introduced the students to Tyler Technologies — a corporation that helps to protect public safety and government software. The company  offers services such as police software, police records and many other services relating to police and public safety. 

Many OU alumni students joined the call to talk about their journeys from being in students’ to working in their positions after graduating college. They shared personal stories of overcoming obstacles and explained how they got to be where they are now. 

Audra Pieknik talked about how she became a director of The Art Experience — a community arts studio in Pontiac. Post-graduation, she became an English teacher, then a music teacher. She later took on the role of director of The Art Experience where she combined her love of art and English. She got to understand what made her her, and she stressed the importance of taking things step by step. 

Elizabeth Pellerito took a different approach, asking students what they want to do with their degrees. Many responses were similar — editing, publishing or something involving writing. She talked about her personal journey of not feeling creative enough and doing many internships during her time at OU. 

Pellerito now works for a company that hosts adult education workshops, teaching people how to build better working conditions for themselves. She reminds students that they’re allowed to change their minds about things, and they have a network while we’re students at OU. 

“Our generation isn’t locked into a career like our parents’ and grandparents’ generations were,” Pellerito said.