Profile by Elise Cargan (’16)
Currently serving as Lackawanna College’s Vice President of Academic Affairs, Erica Barone Pricci, Ph.D., is one of Marywood’s esteemed English department alumni. After her undergraduate studies at Marywood, Erica received her Master’s degree in English from Lehigh University and then returned back to Marywood to receive her Ph.D. in Human Development with a concentration in Higher Education Administration. When asked about how her studies as an English major helped prepare her for her career field, Erica can only rave about how beneficial studying English really is: “I learned to think critically and analyze problems in a logical, thoughtful way. My job requires me to communicate every day with a variety of constituencies, including students, parents, faculty, and staff, and my written and verbal communication skills were shaped by the strategies I learned as an English major.” Erica also cites the rhetorical situation— specifically Dr. Conlogue’s chalk-rendered version— as well as literary criticism and the importance of being a good reader as key to being a well-rounded professional.
Erica has many fabulous memories about her time as an undergrad at Marywood University. One of her favorite things to do in her English classes was to sit in a circle with her fellow classmates and discuss literature and writing. Through this process— one that is unique to schools like Marywood, which enjoy small class sizes— Erica was able to truly understand how literature helps make meaning out of life’s most complex situations, like giving new life to the tragedy of the 1930s and the Dust Bowl through John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. “When literature helped me understand society and culture in a way nothing else ever could, that was when some of my best memories were made,” she notes.
Advice for the Future
Like many seniors graduating from college, Erica experienced the same anxiety and dread as everyone else when looking for a start to her future career. Her advice for looking for a job is simple: find one that you are passionate about, and then figure out how your skills fit into it. She also urges current English majors to truly understand the versatility of an English degree: “English majors are great readers, thinkers, and writers, and the career opportunities for someone with those skills are endless . . . I am grateful to the Marywood English Department for giving me the foundation to pursue an educational and career path that I love!”