Alum Profile: Elise Cargan (’16)

Profile by Mackenzie Senatore (’22)

Elise Cargan graduated Marywood with an English degree and is currently working as a Regional Sales Specialist for the Mideast region of Ryan Homes. Upon with graduating from Marywood and going out into the world, Elise did not know what she wanted to do when she left; all she knew is that she wanted to go Nashville, TN and just go from there!


Her Choices at Marywood

For the first three years of Elise’s academic career at Marywood, she was an Interior Architecture major with an English minor. She said, “If I had to start over again, I would definitely choose to major in English from the get-go.” When she thought about it and realized that English was a better choice for her, because of offered higher-level English classes, she was able to switch and adapt to an English major right before she started her senior year and graduated that same year. “With the help of Dr. Bittel and Dr. Sadlack, I was able to see that I could switch my major, graduate on time, and actually enjoy school and the classes that I was taking rather than view them as a full-time job I was not too fond of,” Elise stated.

How English Inspired Her Career Path

 As a Regional Sales Specialist, Elise not only designs all aspects of new community model homes from the inside, out, but she also aids in new community launches, which involve a lot of social media advertisements, website copy, and signage. So “having English degree,” Elise said, “helped me tremendously and allowed me to throw my hat in the ring for a bunch of different job opportunities in the area and gave me the ability to almost pick and choose what I wanted to do.” Elise reviews active websites and ads to make sure that what is written really highlights the community’s unique selling points and is accurate all across the board. She is able to make sure that what she and the company that she works for are putting out there is attractive to future buyers to help generate sales.

Making a Difference in the Workplace

Elise says that the most rewarding aspect of her job is being able to contribute to a successful new community launch. “Knowing that the model home and community ads and signage all added up to a successful launch really proves that I am able to make a difference,” Elise said.

The Freedom That Helped Her Get to Where She Is Now

 When Elise graduated, she did not have any idea as to what her career path was going to be afterwards. Elise said, “All I knew was that two weeks after graduation, I was going to be moving to Nashville, TN.” Her current job helped her realize what she wanted to do with the rest of her career, “After working alongside our marketing team for community launches, I was able to see that marketing was something that I wanted to pursue.” She is currently working on getting her MS in Strategic Marketing all while continuing to put her skills with English in to good use. “The freedom of being an English major helped me get to where I am now.”



Alum Profile: Riley Covaleski (’16)

Profile by Sr. Lucia Nguyen

Riley Covaleski is an Educational Technology Specialist at Marywood University. She has worked in this position for over two years but has worked at the university for six years. She teaches people to use the educational software used on campus and writes workshop materials for the university.


Riley loves reading, writing, and sharing her knowledge with others. When I asked her what the most rewarding part of her job is, Riley responded, “Learning and getting to help others. I feel so happy when people can understand the knowledge that I have shared with them. I am happy to make a connection to others on campus.”

Although Riley’s specialty is not one typically associated with an English degree, she still has a passion for working with English. Though she currently works in the field of educational technology and writes workshop materials for the university, she wants to expand her work by writing TV shows and movies. Riley also wants to be a novelist.

In addition, Riley shared with me how English inspires her at work. As she said: “Working with English every day reminds me of everything I learned in high school and college. In particular, many things I have learned in literature like the human connection and the value of life and knowledge apply to my work.”

She believes that learning English affects her personal life: “Learning English helps me to be more open to others, to understand others, and to get acquainted with others. I have learned to truly listen to others through studying English.”

After more than six years working at Marywood University, Riley found herself developing much more in written English. She knows more about the variety of writing techniques, use of specific language relating to her work, and English as a whole. Riley also recounted what she learned through writing as a college student at Marywood University. She said, “I learned how to represent myself, both in writing and presentation, and I learned from watching other people’s writing skills.” Therefore, as an alumna of Marywood University, she advises Marywood’s students to be themselves and try their best in their studies. As she said, “Stay true to yourself and be your best. Embrace your excitement for English and the language; that’s what others will notice and be drawn to.”


Alum Profile: Amanda Altemose (’12)

Profile by Ali Brand (’22)

Ms. Amanda Altemose, an English Secondary Education graduate of Marywood University, is an eighth grade ELA teacher at Pleasant Valley Middle School. In the classroom, she mainly teaches writing courses and covers important topics such as literary analysis. With her writing skills and her experiences that she has gained through studying English Education, Amanda has been able to create a fun and influential learning environment that improves students’ writing skills and inspires them to work hard and strive for success.


What made you decide to major in English? Who or what influenced you? 

Amanda has always loved to read and write, and her passion for English really grew during her 11th grade English class. Amanda says that although her teacher at the time was “very tall and intimidating,” he was “really good at teaching English, and encouraged and strengthened my writing skills.” Unfortunately, this teacher passed away from cancer during her senior year, and the motivation that her teacher gave her was a big part of her decision to become a teacher and to major in English. Amanda also teaches in the same school district she graduated from and uses the skills she learned from her teacher in order to inspire her students in his honor. 

How has Marywood’s English program prepared you for your career?

Amanda says that many of the English courses that she took at Marywood prepared her for teaching English herself. Courses like Teaching Writing, Teaching Literature, and English 170 taught her skills that she uses in her own classroom and gave her fundamentals in important topics such as literary analysis. Amanda also did a work study with the English department where she formed close relationships with the teachers, which further helped her in her English studies. Student teaching was also a positive experience that gave Amanda the opportunity to work with kids and helped her “blossom into someone who can teach.” Amanda says that Marywood allowed her to grow out of her shell, and taught her that “the more comfortable you are, the more you can help students learn.”

What is the most rewarding aspect of your career/job?

To Amanda, the most rewarding aspect of her job is working with the students, and seeing them succeed and strive to grow and get better. She says that it is very rewarding when students remember what they learned in her class, and even once had a former student message her on Facebook and ask her an English question. Amanda says that the students “like it when you are fun,” and says that she learns from them every day, feeling rewarded by the students’ enthusiasm to learn and their improved writing skills.

What advice would you give to undergrad English majors?

For current English majors, Amanda gives advice on how to handle the many components of writing. Amanda says that although writing is hard and many other majors may not have to go through as much processing as English majors, writing “can be rewarding, and this way you can help so many people with their writing as well.” Amanda also says that even though college can be hard at times, always remember that there are so many things you can do with English, and that writing is “very rewarding, even when you feel like you can’t do it.”


Alum Profile: Robinne Okrasinski (’06)

Robinne Okrasinski is the Operations Program Coordinator at Universal Orlando. Though
she never imagined herself residing in Florida or even majoring in English, Robinne
achieved her goals by doing what she loves best, by landing the career she wanted, and helping Universal Orlando become a more memorable place to visit.

Majoring in English

In her first year, Robinne originally started as a music performance major and was later undecided, but she transitioned to the English department after her freshman year. “I love to read and write, and having an English major for a background has helped, by strengthening my writing technique and becoming more versatile in the job market,” she notes. Though many associate being an English major with being a teacher or writer, majoring in this area has opened more job opportunities and enabled her to analyze and write more efficiently. When she continued her education in California University of Pennsylvania’s MA program in Tourism Planning and Development—a program that teaches practical knowledge of the industry and for helping people enjoy vacations and entertainment activities—the writing skills she gained from her English major made it easy for her to write analytical essays.

Memorable moments in English

“I really enjoyed Professor Bittel’s class on children’s literature. When we are younger and read stories we don’t always see the hidden gems or fully understand the meaning due to our age, but as an adult we realize more and the story becomes much more interesting.” During her senior year, she explains that Dr. Bittel helped her with her honors thesis on Disney World and made the process less daunting.

Personal hobbies

“I love reading books and still continue to read when I have the chance, but one of my favorite things to do is to write songs,” explains Robinne, “It’s a great way for me to combine my love of English with my passion for music.”

Choosing Marywood University

Finding schools and thinking about what you want to do for the rest of your life can be scary and very overwhelming. “I chose Marywood because I loved the campus,” Robinne reflects, “I thought it was beautiful, and seeing the nuns walking around made it peaceful. I was a commuter and had to drive almost an hour to get to Marywood, but the drive was more than worthwhile because of the friendly and helpful campus community.”

Personal advice

“It’s not bad to be undecided,” Robinne assures, “For awhile you may not know what you want to do, but look into a lot of different areas. Being an English major does not limit you to a future in education.  There are many other career options available to those studying English, and majoring or minoring in this department can open many doors.”

Alum Profile: Angelica Cordero (’11)

Profile by Ryan Calamia (’19)

What is your favorite memory?

Favorite English department memory?  Running around outside of Dr. Conlogue’s classroom crowing, “WENDELL BERRY!  WENDELL BERRY!” with Dr. McMillan.  He was a good sport about it.  I enjoyed that a lot about Marywood; the department felt like a crazy family.

What was your greatest personal accomplishment?

In the spirit of keeping this Marywood related, keeping Bayleaf alive!  When I was in school there weren’t too many people involved with it, but I saw on social media the other day that there’s a Bayleaf Live event now.  That’s great!  It’s really important for the artists and writers of MU to be recognized.

What did you want to do when your graduated Marywood?

My goals now are very different from what they were when I graduated.  Fresh out of school I was showing paintings and drawings at a lot of galleries, sold a few pieces, wanted to be a freelance illustrator.  I started working in clothing retail to have a more stable source of income and ended up falling in love with the visual side of the business.  I honestly had no idea what visual merchandising was when I was in school and had very little interest in fashion, but that’s changed a lot over the years!

What are you currently doing now that you are out of Marywood?

I am currently working as a Visual Manager for UNIQLO, a Japanese clothing company.  I actually got my degree at Marywood in Fine Arts; English was my second major.  I had an amazing English teacher in high school and AP tested high enough to not have to take any required English classes.  But I missed it!  Within my first month I was signing the paper to take on English as well.

Where I’m at now is a marriage of my experiences thus far, including my time studying English and Illustration at Marywood.  Visual and verbal communications are the core of my work, much in the way that an illustration is a visual response to a written question.  People will often wonder what the two have to do with each other, but they have everything to do with each other!  I wouldn’t last very long if all I could do was make things look pretty; I need to express an idea or concept without words, but words are where it starts.  The composition of a story, the composition of a painting, and the composition of a room aren’t all that different from each other if you’re willing to spend the time thinking it through.  At the end of the day I think of myself as a visual problem solver.

More recently I’ve been taking on more responsibilities with networking and local marketing for our Philadelphia store, and I can certainly thank studying English for that!  Building relationships and communicating in a positive way grow from my learning.

What is your life outside of work?

Honestly I love my job so much that it’s kind of bled into my outside life.  UNIQLO offers a lot of opportunities for employees to get involved with community outreach and charity.  No matter where your career path takes you remember what you can do for others.  If you’re succeeding, try to pull others up with you.

What is your advice for English majors?

Don’t just read what pertains to your own interests.  If you love nonfiction read a fantasy novel.  If you’re into art, read some science text books. You’ll be surprised what kind of inspiration you find in there!  Read business theory and contract composition. I swear it’s useful for everything; everyone should know how to write up a contract.  Read fairy tales, children’s literature, and picture books!  I have stacks of children’s books.  There are a lot of complex ideas in there.

Also don’t get discouraged when you graduate.  Your experiences outside of school will greatly influence your path in unexpected ways.  I had no interest in fashion in school, and just last month I styled for a major spot at Wharton’s Charity Fashion Show.  You’ll be a very different person in five years than you are right now.  Don’t scoff at the jobs you might have to take right after school.  I swear you’ll be able to apply anything you learn eventually.

What are you reading now?

I recently wrapped up a huge Terry Pratchett binge.  That was followed by a Margaret Atwood binge.  I’ll probably hop back on the Haruki Murakami train next.  I also have some books on business management that were written by the founder of UNIQLO, Tadashi Yanai, and some that he recommended.  He challenged us to read 100 books a year, not just on business but any topic.  He knows that great ideas come from unexpected places.

Advice for Future ENGL 170 Students: 2018 Edition

Without further ado, here’s this year’s list:

  • Don’t be afraid to revise your thesis.
  • It’s not you, it’s your paper. Don’t take criticism personally.
  • Sleep, even if you don’t think you’ll be able to fit it in. Even a few hours helps.
  • Have an open mind about different kinds of literature
  • If you wouldn’t bet your life on what a word means, double check.
  • Believe that what you’re saying and writing about matters.
  • Write like you are doing yoga. Breathe, be flexible, and hold your position.
  • Don’t be shy when peer editing. You don’t help anyone by just saying, “Your paper’s good.”
  • Don’t lose hope because nobody’s perfect their freshman year. (Or ever, really.)
  • Don’t put off until next week what you could have been doing tonight.
  • Use the resources that Marywood provides. Get your money’s worth.
  • Keep up with friends and family.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the silly questions, because everyone else is probably wondering the same thing.
  • Just keep swimming. Nobody will let you drown.
  • You can and you will until you start thinking otherwise. Don’t be your own worst critic.

Credit to Paige, Niorka, Noah, Sarah, Gale, Korah, Katie, Emily, Anna, Shea, Colleen, Jake, Jessie, Sabrina, Tori, and Sam.  Happy Summer, everyone!!

Check out last year’s list here!

Senior Sem 2018!! A little something to whet your nerdy appetite…

Our Senior Seminar students will be presenting their work at a mini-conference in Swartz on Thursday evening (5/10) at 6p. Please join us! All are welcome!

Image result for writing

Curious about what our students have been so busy researching?? Read on to see their abstracts!!

Dominic Behler, “Writing Magic in Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is a book about books. Susanna Clarke details a fictional practice of magic using footnotes that reference a fabricated body of scholarship, which is studied by “magicians.” The texts and authors to which she alludes allow the reader to further consider the book in their hands, emphasizing the meta-textual nature of the novel. The system of magic represents humanist agency, political power, and the cultural heritage of England. Clarke sets the novel in England’s Regency era, which further presents the text as an act of revision, or writing history over. The cultural heritage of magic then becomes a part of the text’s conversation with the reader. Faeries and spells are not the true magic of Clarke’s England. Instead, the author implies that the act of writing and the novel’s very existence possess the spark of magic.

Ryan Calamia, “Dealing with Trauma through Letter Writing in Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower

My paper argues that writing can help one to cope with trauma. People who experience trauma sometimes have a hard time dealing with it. They often do not even know what the trauma is. To deal with trauma, people can consult a therapist or seek relief in medication. The Perks of Being a Wallflower represents writing as a form of trauma therapy. Charlie, the novel’s protagonist, comes to terms with his trauma through writing letters to a “friend.” A close analysis of the narrative reveals that writing is an effective way for people to cope with trauma.

Colleen Campbell, “Kenji Mizoguchi’s The Life of Oharu: Understanding the Struggles of Japanese Women in the Seventeenth Century”

I examine Kenji Mizoguchi’s The Life of Oharu to show how the film represents the social, gender, and religious issues that affected women in the male-dominated world of seventeenth-century Japan. The Life of Oharu recalls the experiences of Japanese women during this time to remind viewers that the long struggle for women’s rights is not over.

Devon Davis, “Fear, Morality, and Reluctant Readers: What Children Can Learn from Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Series”

Everyone has a campfire story to tell. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it rhymes, but far more often it is meant to scare those listening. Alvin Schwartz was a primary purveyor of these scary campfire stories for many years, and his series dedicated to adapting folklore still enchants children today. Through close analysis of three scary stories, this paper explores how Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series has had a positive impact on children, despite parental backlash.

Jillian Gratz, “The Fragility of Relationships in a Materialistic World: Emily Bronte’s Commentary on Society in Wuthering Heights

It is a well-known truth that we live in a materialistic society; the effects of this world, though, are not always apparent. The temptation to become caught up in material and monetary wealth for its own sake consumes some humans; others find wealth in their spiritual beliefs, passions, and relationships. Relationships, though not always regarded as the highest collateral damage of societal pressures, often suffer when one or all involved take their focus off the delicate makeup of interpersonal intimacy. Emily Bronte depicts this unfortunate reality in Wuthering Heights. Her characters Catherine and Heathcliff suffer under societal pressures to achieve status, and pay the price for their uninformed choices. Bronte’s views about this human phenomenon burn through her writing, giving it an honest and, at times, hopeless storyline that asks readers to stay true to their love and themselves and to forsake all that leaves a human being empty.

Hannah Moore, “Inaugural Addresses and the American Identity: Analysis of the Inaugural Addresses of George Washington and Donald Trump”

Through a rhetorical analysis of the first presidential speeches of George Washington and Donald Trump, I argue that inaugural addresses have remained consistent in content but have changed linguistically over time. All addresses similarly define national identity, particularly in relation to civil religion, American values, and beliefs about the country itself. However, since 1960 inaugural addresses have become simpler and more accessible due to changes in society and technology. To identify these similarities and changes, I offer a close reading of the addresses of our first and most recent presidents.

Jessie Rice, “The Value of Dystopian Societies”

My paper explores how George Orwell’s 1984 teaches readers the importance of literature and language and how they influence how and what we think. School curricula include 1984 today in order to demonstrate how powerful words can be. My presentation raises questions about political power, education, and freedom of speech.

Michael Smith, “Reading the Dream Diary: Learning Empathy by Discovering Meaning in Yume Nikki

Yume Nikki is a cult classic indie game that uses dreaming as a lens to explore trauma, loneliness, and suicide, but you’d never guess any of these things just by looking at it. The graphics are antiquated, the hallways and hells they portray reveal nothing at a casual glance, and Yume Nikki does little to offer the player fun mechanical challenges. The structure of Yume Nikki presents a mystery to the player but refuses to provide a clear solution. By finding patterns, deducing underlying rules, and theorizing possible backstories for Madotsuki, the player engages in critical learning, and along the way comes to understand Yume Nikki’s protagonist far better than he or she ever could have through reading dialogue. This process of learning and the intimate understanding it creates evoke the powerful empathetic responses that have made the game an enduring influence.

Sam Temples, “’Oh, that dirty war’: Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises as a Trauma Novel”

Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises can be read as a trauma novel, a genre that depicts the psychological injuries that war veterans suffer. By reading deeper into the text, we understand the trauma that haunts World War I veteran Jake Barnes and the charming Lady Brett Ashley. Jake and Brett grapple with loss as they try to piece together their shattered identities. Engaging in frivolous behaviors to cope with their suffering, they only mask their issues, leaving their traumas still very real and alive. By uncovering the deep trauma laced throughout The Sun Also Rises, I open conversations about how literature not only explores trauma but also suggests strategies to cope with it.

Alum Profile: Kendra Rafferty (’12)

KendraProfile by Colleen Campbell

Ms. Kendra Rafferty, an English graduate of Marywood University, is currently working at Emerson College as their Senior Assistant Director of Communications for their Graduate Admissions department. Her job is to handle all the external marketing and communications for the graduate programs. With the skills that she has gained through studying English, Kendra has been able to work collaboratively with other departments, including the larger central marketing team. In addition to this, she also travels year-round for recruitment purposes.

How did an English degree prepare you for your career path?

Kendra says, “My English degree and the liberal arts education I received from Marywood prepared me to take my career in almost any direction I wanted to go.” Kendra recognizes that the skills she has acquired as an English major have helped her to “communicate efficiently and effectively (with clarity).” She stresses that crafting language and recognizing the necessity of altering tone to match clients’ needs are skills that employers want from an employee.

Favorite Marywood Memory

Her favorite memories at Marywood include spending time with her classmates in the library while working on group projects and workshopping each other’s essays. Above all, Kendra raves about the essays she wrote in her Creative Writing class. She enthusiastically says, “I wrote some of my favorite pieces in Dr. Laurie McMillan’s writing class.”

Advice to current students

Kendra adds, “Be brave and unapologetic with your writing and your life choices.”  She advises us to be bold and not let fear cloud our confidence. In the interview, she stated that “the people you meet, the memories you make, and the skills you learn will shape the decisions you will make in the future.” Even more, she says to enjoy college life because soon you won’t have time to do the things you love. She asserts, “I find myself trying to sneak in an hour or two during the week to write or read the books I love.” Kendra insists that time is precious, so use it wisely.

What is your greatest personal accomplishment?

Kendra firmly says that “Working in a field related to my degree and using the skills I learned while at Marywood is an accomplishment not everyone can claim to have.” She insists that she could not be happier with her career and the time she spent at Marywood.

What are you reading now?

Kendra is currently reading Apology to the Moon by poet Jim Daniels. She says, “I love small presses,” and her favorite is Batcat Press. She loves them because they produce “fantastic handbound, limited edition works.” Besides Apology to the Moon, she is also reading- and loving Difficult Women by Roxane Gay. Kendra adds that “Her writing is magical.”

Alum Profile: Pat Kernan (’16)

Profile by Kayla Seymour

Black Coffee and Journalism: A Conversation with Pat Kernan


Pat Kernan: a man who enjoys tea more than coffee but drinks more coffee, black. You can catch Pat Kernan Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday writing the obituaries, or “obits,” for the Times Leader. The Times Leader is the local newspaper of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.  On average, he edits fifteen obits a day. The funeral home will send Pat the obituary, and he will edit the grammar and polish it up into “newspaper style.” Pat did the math, and if he continues on this luxurious path of writing fifteen obits a day for a typical five day work week, he will be at four thousand a year.

On the weekends, Pat is on the hunt for a good story. He will listen to the police scanner, and if he hears a possible headline,he will go to the scene and get what information he can from the cops and the surrounding people. For an aspiring journalist, this directness may seem intimidating. Yet Pat says to “not be afraid of hearing ‘no.’ You’re going to hear it a lot. Just find other people. When a journalist loses that fear of rejection, he or she will get better at reporting.”

Pat got his start in journalism before he even graduated Marywood University in 2016 with his degrees (yes, degrees!) in both English and Communication Arts. The former Editor-in-Chief of the Times Leader visited one of Pat’s journalism classes and saw possibility in Pat. Originally, Pat was just supposed to be an intern for the Times Leader, but they ended up hiring him. Along with this golden career path, Pat also works for the Weekender. The Weekender is the local, free magazine for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area. For the Weekender, Pat interviews local musicians. Pat would like to work with artists in the future and work in the field of music journalism. Are you curious about his favorite band? Right now, Death Grips.

Although Pat’s career is budding, it still has its challenging aspects. Pat explains that sometimes his job gets “depressing, because obviously obituaries,” and sometimes the news is not always good. Pat looks at me with solemn eyes: “Kids get shot…the challenge is disassociating yourself from it. The reporter is not a part of the situation; they’re just there for the story.”

In other news, Pat is currently reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson. Thompson created gonzo journalism. Gonzo journalism is a form of journalism in which the reporter becomes a part of the story.  Rolling Stone sent Thompson on an assignment to cover drag racing. Thompson took a smothering amount of drugs and recorded everything he saw.

For the future journalists of Marywood University (or any other institution), Pat gives some advice. English and Journalism (or Communications) are a great combination of degrees for this career path. Pat explains that a journalist is a “historian working in today. A journalist is writing today’s stories to talk about.” This is a big role to fill! So, being well-rounded is important.

Pat also emphasizes something iPhone screens and televisions of today try to distract us from—getting involved. Every group you are in is something to put on a resume. What matters on a resume more than grades, especially in communications, is what the applicant did (clubs, events, volunteering, et cetera.) Pat explains that what got him the job at the Times Leader was all the work he put into the Wood Word (Marywood’s school newspaper.)

Furthermore, Pat gives Marywood his warmest regards. Marywood has prepared him to not only be a better writer, but also a fine-eyed researcher. He advises student writers to “find as many sources as possible.” For example, finding twenty sound resources is much better than finding the required amount of three. This sort of technique follows Pat when he is finding a story for the Times Leader: “When I’m out I’ll ask as many people as I can.” By doing this, Pat has a bulk amount of information to work with. This allows him to weed out the best information and, thus, write the better story.

Thanks to Marywood, Pat explains how all the professors in the English department left fingerprints on who he is today as a journalist.

“Dr. Brassard really tightened up my writing. Dr. Bittel and Dr. Sadlack helped me with finding the best research. Dr. Conlogue helped me read more critically. Dr. Wotanis helped with her background in hands-on journalism.”

In the abyss of April, with many student obligations coming up, it was refreshing talking to Pat, especially talking to him about his greatest personal accomplishment: “My greatest personal accomplishment is actually getting paid for what I want to do now. For example, writing for the Wood Word was one thing, but making money for my writing is another. I’m happy that I can pay rent and eat just based on writing.” Pat then goes on to explain that it is better to worry more about the bigger picture. “Do not worry about the paper, but worry about the class,” he explains, “Worry about things as a whole, and figure out what’s important based on that. Worry more about the experience than the grade.”




Alum Profile: Kasey Lee Lynn-Gadzinski (’14)

KaseyProfile by Sydney Toy (’20)

Getting into Teaching

Kasey Lynn is a 10th and 12th grade English teacher at a high school in Virginia, but she did not always plan on becoming a teacher. When asked about her major and original plans for her future, Kasey says, “I came to Marywood as an English Literature major and really wanted to be a speech writer for politicians.” After graduating from Marywood, she went to Georgetown University to get her master’s in American Government. During the summer of 2014, Kasey went to work for the Ready for Hillary super PAC. Regarding the work she did there, Kasey explains, “Another girl and I were in charge of the digital aspects. We created the Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, and posted to them. We then looked at all of the numbers and the data and analyzed what got the most likes or retweets in order to generate more posts. We also helped to launch the Ready for Hillary bus which was really cool.” When she finished up her work on Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Kasey went to grad school. While in grad school Kasey worked for telecommunications firm called Stone’s Phones, a non-profit that worked with politicians. Kasey explains, “I was a ghost writer while working here. I was writing different scripts for politicians who would host telephone town halls to talk to constituents or get more people to volunteer and vote.” After completing grad school, Kasey worked in Public Relations for The Merit Group. While working there, Kasey realized she did not enjoy her job. She says, “I didn’t really like the hours working there. That’s when my husband, who went to school for teaching and is a teacher now, suggested I try teaching. Because of my background in English, all I had to do was take some online classes to get my degree, and now I’ve been teaching for two years.”

Favorite Marywood Memory

When recalling her favorite Marywood memory, Kasey lists her Senior Seminar class. She says, “It was lots of fun. One day my classmates brought in balloons and we made a video about an author we were reading about. The professor was even in on it. We just made the best of it and it made writing my Capstone paper more fun.” Kasey also mentioned any class she had with Dr. Bittel because of her stories about her daughter.

Life Outside of Work

Outside of her job as a teacher, Kasey is also the assistant girls’ varsity soccer coach for the high school she teaches at. She says, “I played soccer at Marywood but never played in a game because I tore my meniscus for the second time and couldn’t play anymore. But I’m happy that I was able to get back into it as a coach.” Aside from soccer, Kasey spends a lot of time reading short stories that she could use as material for her class. The school that Kasey works at is very diverse so she tries to find short stories that are easy for everyone to comprehend and to relate to. Regarding the diversity at her school, Kasey says, “About fifty-six different languages are spoken at the school where I work. There are kids there from Vietnam, Guatemala, Egypt, Ghana, El Salvador, the Middle East, South America, and Africa. A lot of these kids have also had interrupted education, so they don’t know simple grammatical rules like we would know; so I have to pick out stories that they could easily understand and relate to.” Aside from reading for class, Kasey does a great deal of curriculum writing for her work as a teacher, which she finds very enjoyable because she “loves creating assignments.” Kasey is also working on rewriting the curriculum for the English department at her school as well, which takes up a good amount of her time. On a more relaxing note, Kasey loves spending time with her French Bulldog Lola and her husband and especially loves taking Lola to the beach.

How has English helped you?

Looking back on her degree and how English has helped her prepare for her career, Kasey believes that her degree has helped her a great deal with her job and the work required of her. When recalling the most important skill she has learned from her degree, Kasey says, “The analytical skills specifically gained from my degree in English. My bosses love it and are impressed by it.” Aside from her degree in English, Kasey also has another degree in Spanish. This helps her communicate with the students who only speak Spanish or very little English; it also helps her teach these students how to write correctly in English.

Greatest Personal Accomplishment

Reflecting back on her life and the choices Kasey has made since graduating college, Kasey says her greatest personal achievement is that she “is the only person to have a master’s degree in her entire family, and I’m the first person in my immediate family to go to college.” Kasey also feels that what she does for her career is a great personal accomplishment for her as well. Kasey specifically cites “teaching students and helping students apply to college. I love to share my personal experience with my students to show that I can relate to them. I also love seeing the looks on their faces when they understand something or when they finish applying to college.”

Life and College Advice

Kasey offers up some advice regarding both college and life that she has found to be very true. Regarding college, she says to “take time and enjoy it.” She says the key is to balance both work and fun because it will help you in the long run. Kasey also says to “be fully prepared to do the work involved with your major and to go the extra mile because it will pay off in the end.” When talking about life, Kasey says that it is “unpredictable, so be willing to move with it wherever it takes you and have fun along the way.”