English major (Writing Concentration) with a minor in Business Administration
What brought you to CSU?
I transferred from Texas Tech after my freshman year. My mom lives here and I decided that CSU would be a good fit for me. I had always heard about how spectacular the English program was and once I visited I was sure that I wanted to go here. After being in Lubbock, TX (which is flat, arid, and BROWN) for a year it was nice to finally be in a place with trees! The trees sealed the deal!
What classes are you taking this semester?
I’m currently taking BUS205, E305 [Principles of Writing and Rhetoric], E320 [Introduction to the Study of Language], E341 [Literary Criticism and Theory], and SPCM100.
Favorite English class? Favorite English teacher? Favorite assignment or project?
So far my favorite English class would have to be either CO300 [Writing Arguments] or E305 [Principles of Writing and Rhetoric]. It is so incredibly hard to pick my favorite teachers but the top three have to be Christina Sutton, Paul Trembath, and Doug Cloud. They’re probably the best professors I’ve had throughout my collegiate year thus far. My favorite assignment is something I have in E320 [Introduction to the Study of Language]. I’m researching how Google has been using artificial intelligence and causal voicing to linguistically improve Google Voice Search.
Why is it important to study English, the Humanities?
I believe studying English is the key to being an effective communicator and being able to think/read/write critically. Although many people question what exactly there is to do with an English degree, I can say from experience that it has given me the clear advantage over the rest of those I’m competing with for internships and will compete with for jobs in the future.
You are the current president of the PRSSA. Tell us more about that.
Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is a network of more than 11,000 college students that seeks to advance the public relations profession by nurturing generations of future professionals. It not only enhances member education through speakers and real-world experience but it is pivotal in broadening your network and getting internship and job offers post-graduation. I oversee the CSU Chapter and run meetings along with traveling to International conferences to hear from the greatest public relations and marketing professionals in the world. I work on inclusion, as you do not have to major in Journalism or Public Relations to be apart of PRSSA. Here I am an English Major running the whole thing! Being President has given me the opportunity to work on leadership skills, advocate for a group of people, and enhance my communication and writing skills. I cannot say enough about the organization. It has propelled me into numerous opportunities that I would not have without becoming a member.
You interned recently at the Federal Reserve in Denver doing speech writing, social media, and internal and external communications. How did that happen, and what was that like?
That’s correct. I was interning in the Public Affairs Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Denver Branch. I met my boss at a PRSA/PRSSA International Conference last October in Atlanta, GA. She gave me her card and although I’m not a Public Relations major, she gave me a shot at the internship. I interviewed and by some miracle they gave the me job as a Sophomore going into my Junior year. (This is atypical as they try to have Junior-Senior interns to hire upon graduation in the coming year). The PA department in Denver is really a part of the Regional, Community, and Public Affairs department. As the only intern in this area, I got to try my hand at all three. I used knowledge from my business minor to understand the economics and data analysis in the Regional Affairs area. This is where the speechwriting came in. I learned about low-moderate income housing and how to integrate these people with resources that the Bank offers. And finally in PA, I was able to write stories for the quarterly publication, work on social media campaigns, educational outreach, and create a marketing and distribution plan for financial education materials to teachers in the 12th District of the Federal Reserve.
Allyson’s last day of work at the Federal Reserve
Next summer you have an internship with the Pentagon. How did that happen? What will you be doing there? What are you looking forward to most about it?
I do not HAVE the internship there — yet. It is one of my options. I’ve been working to apply to multiple governmental agencies like NASA, The Department of the State, the United Nations Organization etc. Truly, in order to get these internships you have to know when to apply. That’s all there is to it. If I am to get any one of these positions in Public Affairs positions I will be most excited to see how internationally recognized organizations operate their communications. It in a sense is a whole different ball game when you have to communicate with nations around the globe.
How has your English major given you an advantage? How has it prepared you for the work, the life you hope to have?
I have the clear advantage. When comparing my work to that of let’s say a Journalism or Communications major, my work has a clear motive and is most effective in accomplishing its goal. I owe that largely to the study of rhetoric and audience analysis. We are required to take Literature classes like Intro to Poetry and British Literature— which help I’m sure, somehow, but I haven’t found out exactly how yet. However, those upper division level Lit classes require a serious competence when it comes to reading difficult texts, understanding those texts, and regurgitating and then analyzing that text. That skill alone can be applied to EVERYTHING in the business world. The world has a need for effective communicators and English majors are most likely at the top of their game when it comes to communication in any form. I can now write and give eloquent speeches, be direct in communications of any style (email, editorials, social media, blogs, etc.), I can read just about anything, and I can communicate with just about anyone. Being in the English department with such a variety of people with different personalities and interests has sculpted me to be have the skill set to work with anyone.
Do you have any advice for English majors?
Think outside the box. Sell yourself. When I tell people I’m an English Major they immediately ask me what grade I want to teach. It is an uphill battle to prove the worth of the English Major but the proof is in the paper. Be confident in explaining why you are the best communicator they could find and how multi-faceted your skill set. Although many are apprehensive to hire “outside of the box” I am proof that it can and will happen. Don’t think you must be an independent novelist/poet if you’re into creative writing, don’t think you have to be an editor if you’re a writing concentration, and don’t think you have to review books for the rest of your life if you’re in love with literature. You most certainly can, but that is not the ONLY option. The possibilities are endless, you just have to go out and find them.
What advice do you have for students about internships?
Research, research, research. I go on Google about twice a week and just browse internships. Also, apply for everything you may even have a SLIGHT interest in. Unlike graduate school, this application process doesn’t cost you a dime. So why not utilize that and get recognized. You might not make it past the interview but you have built your network in the process.
What’s your biggest priority right now?
At the moment — the 5 papers I have to write before finals week. (Don’t we all!) Apart from that, making sure I study effectively and am healthy by the end of this semester is taking top priority.
Where will we find you in five years?
Hopefully you will all find me as a Public Affairs Specialist for either a government agency or Fortune 500 company, living in a downtown loft, still binge-watching television but hopefully living on more than scrambled eggs and oatmeal! College, right?