On Tuesday Feb. 21, graduates from West Chester University’s English program discussed their careers with students in the Philips Autograph Library. The Fourth Annual “What Can You Do With an English Degree” Career Panel was sponsored by the English department and the Twardowsky Career Development Center. This year’s panelists included an attorney, a communications specialist, an author and a newspaper editor.
“One of the key reasons we organize this annual panel is to illustrate the rich variety of careers open to English majors,” said Dr. Eleanor Shevlin, who co-coordinated the event with Dr. Timothy Ray.
Another goal of the panel, Dr. Shevlin added, was to give current West Chester English majors the opportunity to make contacts with graduates working in careers they might want to pursue.
The first panelist to discuss his career was Anthony Argiropoulos, Esq., a commercial transaction attorney for Fox Rothschild. He discussed how his English literature degree has helped him in his career.
“I have to be able to write clearly,” Argiropoulos said. “The bottom line is, you have to be able to organize your thoughts.” Argiropoulos had never taken an undergraduate business or accounting course, but he has tried corporate cases. Argiropoulos said, “I know how to communicate ideas, and I know how to put my thoughts on paper.”
The second panelist was Brian Wasson, a senior communications associate with The American College of Physicians. Wasson said he had no clue what he was going to do when he graduated, and he spent two years managing an outdoor sporting goods store.
Wasson said he eventually got a job in marketing and public relations, and he now writes press releases. He talked about his job writing press releases and said, “A good P.R. person has information that newspapers need.” Wasson also noted that he obtained his master’s degree ten years after graduating from WCU.
The third panelist to discuss her career was Beth Goldner, a fiction writer and author of “Wake” and “The Number We End Up With.” Goldner began by introducing herself and saying, “I highly recommend that if you want to be a fiction writer, no matter what, keep your day job.”
Goldner talked about her career of uncertainty, but added that she found great pleasure in having written a book. She said that the English degree she obtained at WCU forced her to become a good reader.
“I can’t imagine not having studied literature in order to write,” said Goldner. Goldner will be visiting campus again on March 1 at 4:15 p.m. to hold an informal discussion on craft in Recitation Hall, room 305. She will also give a fiction reading in Philips Autograph Library at 7:30 p.m.
The final panelist was Andrew Hachadorian, an editor of West Chester’s Daily Local News. Hachadorian introduced himself and said that he was a totally non-traditional person. He spoke about how he used to skip class to work for the Daily News in Philadelphia covering elections.
“I got my degree two years ago,” Hachadorian said. He explained how his degree in English literature has helped him gain a better understanding of good writing. Hachadorian recounted his many positions at various newspaper companies. “I did just about everything,” said Hachadorian, “even deliver papers.”
The one downside, he mentioned, was that he only earned $140 a week at his first job. “You’re not going to get rich in this department,” Hachadorian said.
He also discussed his goals of having four major news projects a year, and added that the Daily Local was in the finals for a Pulitzer Prize.
The panel discussion ended with a question and answer session open to all students and faculty in attendance. Following the Q and A, Students were given the opportunity to talk individually with the panelists and partake in refreshments.