Student Success Stories

Student Testimonials

Brittney Sears, English Professional Writing and Business Adminstration major
Graduation Date: Spring 2023
Hometown: Woodbury, MN.
Brittney is a current full-time student double majoring in English and Business Administration, student manager of the OWL (The Online Writing Lab), and a member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Council. She is on track to graduate in spring of 2023 and is hoping to use her dual degree to pursue a career in writing and editing in the business world. She also has a desire to write a book chronicling the fascinating stories she’s heard and strange people she’s met while serving as a local bartender over the last several years.

Read what Brittney has to say about her experience at UWRF

What led you to want to become an English major?
“English was always one of my favorite subjects, and it was always something that I was good at. However, I did not think I would be able to do anything with an English major or minor, so I did not even consider it when I started college. After many years of not finding a solid major, I decided to give English a try. It was definitely the best decision I could have made. I love my classes, and it shows in my course work. I have also received a lot of guidance related to potential future careers.”

What have you liked most about your time as an English major or minor at UWRF?
“I love that I have the opportunity to work in my field. With both tutoring and managing the OWL, I am able to work with writing, which fits with my English major, and I am able to work on the management side of things, which fits with my Business Administration major. It feels good to be a part of the community at River Falls as well.”

How have specific English courses at UWRF prepared you for the workforce? Are there any specific skills you can think of that you learned? 
Creative Writing was an awesome class to take, and it made me enjoy writing a little more. Advanced composition was one of the most challenging courses I have taken, but in the best way possible. I learned so much in that class, and it truly polished my writing skills. I have taken a few classes that involve rhetoric, and I have found it fascinating to learn about how to persuade. American literature has been fun, too. It is interesting to learn about history through writing.”

What’s the best advice you would give a future English major or minor? 
“Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do anything with an English major or minor. There are so many things you can do! You can teach, you can write, or you can work for a business. Writing and communication are extremely important regardless of what field you want to go into. If you love English, use if to your advantage!”

grace higgins
Grace Higgins, English Education major
Graduation Date: Spring 2022
Hometown: Fairmont, Minnesota

Grace Higgins is a UWRF senior currently finishing up her work as an English Education major and is planning to student teach in spring 2022 as part of the Consortium of Overseas Students program where she will be a student teacher in the Netherlands. She will graduate from UWRF at the end of Spring of 2022 and is planning to teach English online.

Read what Grace has to say about her experience at UWRF

What did you like most about your time as an English major or minor at UWRF?
“As an English Education major, I loved how well-versed I became in different types of literature, the cultural histories expressed through storytelling, and how to effectively communicate through writing. The skills practiced and topics studied developed my skill set as an effective communicator and interest in the cultural conversations taking place. 

How have specific English courses at UWRF prepared you for the workforce?
Composition Theory: “Composition Theory caused me to examine how I write. In this course, we studied different organization structures to use when writing informative, persuasive, and narrative pieces of writing. We practiced writing in these structures and revising our writing for clarity and audience understanding. Through professor and peer review, I received honest feedback and constructive criticism. In this course, I was prepared to think critically about how well I am communicating to an audience through my writing and how to take honest feedback and constructive criticism. The ability to communicate effectively and learn from feedback are powerful skill sets to bring to the workforce.”

Cyberliteracy: Writing on the Web: “With the increased use and engagement of the internet, it is important to utilize the internet as a tool for content and information. In this class, we studied the ethics of the internet, the different writing styles specific to the internet, and the web design and usability of websites. Although students like myself interact with the internet every day, this course caused me to change my lens from consumer to researcher when going on my favorite websites or reading my favorite content creators. This past summer, I completed an internship with my local Chamber of Commerce leading a committee of professionals in designing and developing a website containing career opportunities in rural Minnesota. My experience in this class was exponentially helpful in writing the content of the website, assessing what information would be on the website, how the information was organized, and in leading a committee in how the website should look.”

Introduction to Rhetorical Studies: “The art of persuasion and effective argumentation is one of strongest skills to develop and acquire. Therefore, this course is influential because it provides students an opportunity to practice and study these skills.”

Investigating Ideas: Reading, Writing, and the Disciplines: “In this course, students practice writing different types of essays on a variety of diverse topics. Unlike courses that only focus on writing and writing form, students learn about writing by reading about current topics, discussing the article’s meaning in class, how the article is organized, and the drawbacks to the article’s content or form. This refreshing approach as a student developed my skill to analyze and critique other writing constructively and how to effectively improve my own writing as a result. The skill set of being able to analyze other’s work and articulate fair feedback will undoubtedly benefit me in the workforce.”

Introduction to Literary Studies: “In this course, students studied the layers of complexity there can be in a text, how readers can discover these layers, and how they add to the overall story or writing. This class developed the qualities of an English major to be reflective and thoughtful in how I approach other’s writing and my own. By being reflective and thoughtful in my analysis of other’s work, as a reader I am better equipped to understand a deeper meaning of a piece of writing. This class focused on the skillset of analyzing and synthesizing through the medium of writing, which is an incredible skillset to have in the workforce.”

Are there any specific skills you can think of that you learned?

  • Effective Communication skills
  • How to analyze story and purpose within writing
  • How to synthesize what a text expresses
  • Engaging with everyday issues and ideas within society

 What’s the best advice you would give a future English major or minor? 
“For one of my ‘Supporting Course’ requirements I took Introduction to TESOL: Reading and Writing. I would highly recommend taking this course if you are planning to teach. I think it is important to study a basic level of linguistics (morphology, semantics, pragmatics, syntax, and phonology) and develop an understanding of the thought that goes into teaching language because teachers will want to aid ELL students in succeeding in their classroom.”

grace kabliska
Grace Kabliska, Creative Writing major
Graduation Date: Fall 2021
Hometown: Onalaska, WI

Grace graduated from UWRF at the end of Fall 2021 with a degree in English-Creative Writing and a successful college career under her belt. Currently, she is applying to MFA programs in creative writing (with a fiction emphasis) and hopes to begin her graduate studies in Fall of 2022. If that doesn’t work out, she intends to pursue a career in publishing.

Read what Grace had to say about her experience at UWRF

What led you to want to become an English major?
“I have always had a passion for reading and writing, and after lots of exploration of what I want to do for a career, I finally decided to chase after what I have always loved. Reading has always brought me joy; and I want to be able to share that joy with others, whether I am teaching at a university, working in the publishing industry, or something else along those lines.”

What did you like most about your time as an English major or minor at UWRF?
“My favorite part . . . was getting to discuss literature and workshop my classmate’s pieces. Interacting with other students that are passionate about writing was both fun and engaging.”

How have specific English courses at UWRF prepared you for the workforce? Are there any specific skills you can think of that you learned? 
“The most helpful feature of the majority of my classes was the chance to workshop my classmates’ materials. If I end up teaching someday, I will need to give students helpful feedback on their pieces, and if I end up working as an editor, I will need to have similar skills. Knowing how to bring up both compliments and constructive criticism is extremely important in this field.”

What’s the best advice you would give a future English major or minor? 
“Give yourself the opportunity to read and write lots of different material. Expand your horizons from the genre that you are most drawn to and learn from lots of different writers with different styles. The best way to find out what works for you is to experiment with tons of different pieces.”


Alumni Success Stories

Greg Peterson, English Education major
New Position:  6th and 7th Grade Language Arts and Literacy Teacher
Hometown: Frederic, WI
Greg Peterson graduated in May of 2021 with a degree in English Education and was immediately hired by the Winona Middle School in Winona, MN to teach 7th grade Language Arts and 6th Grade 21st Century Literacy. In the past year he has also coached the offensive/defensive line for the middle school football team; formulated plans to return to grad school to attain his master’s in English Education, Literature, or Creative Writing; and has added a new member to his family - see photo.

Read what Greg had to say about his experience at UWRF

What did you like most about your time as an English major or minor at UWRF?
“What I liked most . . . was being given the skills to find my voice by using a medium that I enjoyed expressing myself through. Going into the program, I knew I wanted to be creative and develop my critical thinking skills, and I know, without a doubt, that the UWRF English program helped me accomplish both goals ten-fold. The classes I took were fun and interesting, and the people I met along the way were remarkable. The community within the English program felt homey and tight-knit, and I was able to build everlasting relationships with some amazing people. I truly felt like I was a part of a family.” 

How have specific English courses at UWRF prepared you for the workforce? Are there any specific skills you can think of that you learned? 
"While I was an English Education major, the English Department provided me with many wonderful courses that prepared me for my current employment at Winona Middle School. All my English pedagogy courses have been put to good use already [and] . . . my creative writing coursework has also helped me encourage creativity within my students in their daily writing practice. I am also working on some of my own creative projects during my free time.”

What’s the best advice you would give a future English major or minor? 
"The best advice I have for a future English major or minor is to not think about the day-to-day workloads, but how each story and text you interact with can shape your understanding of the world around you. Obtaining a higher education is difficult for everyone, no matter the degree; so, devoting your time to reflecting on how each course, each assignment, each text can influence your growth as a person will provide much better feelings of purpose, pride, and fulfillment. The UWRF English Department is filled with brilliant professors, brilliant curriculum, brilliant students, and that is something I was glad to be a part of.”

Corey Fern, English Creative Writing major
Position: Director of Theater at Osseo High School, Realtor
Hometown: Shakopee, MN.
Corey Fern graduated in Spring of 2019 with a double major in Creative Writing and Stage and Screen Arts. Pre-pandemic, he worked full time as an actor in the Twin Cities theater community. With the closing of most theaters, however, Corey adapted and decided to become a realtor and took a position as Director of Theater at Osseo Public High School.

Read what Corey had to say about her experience at UWRF

What did you like most about your time as an English major or minor at UWRF?
“The opportunity to write for different audiences. I was unique in my class because I was mainly interested in writing plays for the theater. Joe Rein was very understanding of this and allowed me to earn my degree in the way that would be most beneficial to me. Instead of short stories, he would allow me to write one act plays, for example. I had a great opportunity to grow as a performer, director playwright, and author as a direct result of this flexibility. Overall, my favorite part about River Falls Creative Writing was that I was seen and valued. To Dr. Rein I was unique, so he made sure his teachings were as well.”

How have specific English courses at UWRF prepared you for the workforce? Are there any specific skills you can think of that you learned? 
“Majoring in Creative Writing has taught me a lot of valuable lessons that I utilize every day as a director. I have a deep understanding of the script that I would not have had if I didn’t study in that lens. It has also helped in my professional writing as a realtor as well. I am perplexed at how often some skills I take for granted are very difficult for others who have been in the industry for a long time. I see this in email writing as well as in advertisements. It is extremely valuable, and it has earned me success.” 

What’s the best advice you would give a future English major or minor? 
“My best advice is to find professors that best suit your learning style and utilize them to their potential. I did that with Dr. Rein, so much so that I began crafting my semester’s schedule around his courses. I adopted Creative Writing as a double major because he inspired me to do so. Studying at university is so valuable because you are paying for it, so you get to craft how it looks. The professors are there to share their vast knowledge with you, so take every moment you can and learn everything you can. Four years will go fast, but many of these relationships can outlast your career at UWRF. At the end of the day, the value for you that lies within the school is in the minds of its professors. Do some research on them; discover their accolades! This will get you prepared to flourish!”

samantha edholm-bean
Samantha Edholm-Bean, English Professional Writing major
Position: Business Analyst
Hometown: White Bear Lake
Samantha Edholm graduated in Spring of 2014 with a degree in Professional Writing and now works as a Business Analyst for the Metropolitan Council’s Environmental Services division, a regional governmental agency in the Twin Cities that undertakes a range of responsibilities, including operating the Metro Transit system and managing wastewater treatment for the seven-county metro area. Before being promoted to business analyst, Samantha worked as a technical writer for six years for the Met Council and still finds she uses her writing skills in her new position on a regular basis.

Read what Samantha had to say about her experience at UWRF

What did you like most about your time as an English major or minor at UWRF?
“The English Department at UWRF is a close-knit group, so I never felt lost in the crowd. What’s more, I met some amazing people who I am still close with today, both fellow students and professors. When I decided to change my major junior year, it was support and advice from my classmates and professors in the department that helped steer me onto the path that led me to my present career. Also, the department is just plain fun! I genuinely had a great time in my English classes.”

How have specific English courses at UWRF prepared you for the workforce? Are there any specific skills you can think of that you learned? 
"The English courses that I took at UWRF absolutely helped prepare me for the workforce. I learned technical skills, of course, but I also learned practical general skills such as how to write a professional email and how to create a resume. I do a lot of work with interns in my job, and I am always shocked when they tell me that they were never taught such critical skills and had to figure it out on their own! Oh, and I’ll never start a sentence with the word “it” thanks to Dr. Hunzer : ) .”

What’s the best advice you would give a future English major or minor? 
"Make the most of the resources available to you through the English department. Cultivate a relationship with your advisor and with your professors and fellow students. Also, if you can, take classes that push you outside your comfort zone or expose you to different perspectives. Literature classes, specifically, are a great way to learn about life experiences that are different from your own.” 

A common concern many students and parents alike have when faced with the question of whether to major or minor in English is whether the decision will lead to future financial and career success. This is likely because societal myths often depict the decision to major or minor in English as nothing less than catastrophic. “Underemployed!” “Life-long debt!!” “STARBUCKS BARISTA!!!” These are just a few of the words shouted by concerned friends and family when the question of majoring in English (or not) is even suggested. And, admittedly, the concern is understandable. Given the state of the labor market, income inequality, and an uncertain future, it’s understandable to want the best for yourself and the ones close to you. However, we in the UWRF English department would like to assure you that an English major (or minor) can, and often does, lead to financial and career success. In fact, recent studies have shown:

  • English and foreign language majors have a lower probability of being underemployed in their first job out of college than those who majored in biology, psychology, or business.
  • Graduates with humanities majors earn comparable median salaries ($53,000 for English majors, for example) to those majoring in biology ($56,000), environmental science ($57,000) and psychology ($49,000). By age 40, in fact, liberal arts degree holders actually surpass STEM degree holders in average annual salary.
  • And last, critical thinking, writing, emotional intelligence, and cognitive flexibility are some of the top skills that leading industries are looking for.

"Myth and Realities about Humanities Majors." Humanities Works,

Nonetheless, it’s natural and understandable to worry about you or your child’s future. Because of these concerns, we have gathered success stories from UWRF English alumni and current UWRF English students in order to help demonstrate that an English major can and often does lead to a successful, meaningful life. 

Read here about UWRF English majors who are living proof that their skills and careers go beyond the local bistro.


English and TESOL internships offer UWRF students the opportunity to participate in planned, supervised work that will integrate career-related skills and experience into an undergraudate education which may lead to employment after graduation.

Visit UWRFGuide to Internships for English & TESOL Majors and Minors for more details.

English/TESOL Department Internship Supervisor
Dr. Mialisa Moline

Contact Us

English Department
M-F 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
241A Kleinpell Fine Arts

SocialMediaGrayFacebook iconLinked In Icon