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Woman reading Pam Houston book on a bench next to a pile of books
From books to careers: English majors find they have many skills to offer in the job world. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Find Ideas of How This Major Could Help Develop Into a Great Career

By Susanne Rockwell on August 22, 2017

Get inspired by what our UC Davis English majors are doing in their careers. The Department of English also collects alumni stories that show the many paths its students have taken since graduation. Check them out, too.

We’re looking for more contributors. If you are a graduate who would like to share your career story, contact blog editor Susanne Rockwell at sgrockwell@ucdavis.edu.

Social media director for Rail Europe

Jackie DesForges ’10, English major and art history minor

Jackie DesForges on a train looking out a window
Jackie DesForges

I’m currently the social media director at Rail Europe, which sells train tickets, rail passes and tour activities for Europe. From our head office in Paris, I oversee our social media teams in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Argentina, Brazil and in the U.S. Our job is figuring out the best way to tell our brand’s story through text, photographs and video on the social media channels that our customers frequent every day. It’s similar to the vice president of communications role I held at my sorority during my senior year at UC Davis (except that now I get to travel a ton to gather photo and video content – a significant upgrade!)

I am also the co-founder of my company’s #TalesOnRail Artist in Residence train trip, which is my favorite way to directly channel my love of art and literature into my job. Storytelling and creativity are essential skills for almost any job nowadays, especially when so much of a company’s life is being told online, and the media landscape is changing so rapidly. It’s an ideal time for English and art history majors to explore how their degrees translate into 21st century storytelling careers! 

Check out Jackie and her team’s work on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Technical writer at Kratos Security and Defense

Portrait of LIndy Gervin with buildiing under construction in the background
Lindy Gervin worked at UC Davis in Finance, Operations and Administration before taking a job in late August 2017 at a Sacramento defense company, Kratos Security and Defense. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Lindy Gervin ’13, English major focused on literature and critical theory

I have been working as a writer in various roles for the past five years. In late August, I took a job as a technical writer for Kratos Security and Defense, working with engineers and technical professionals to develop documents accessible for the government and commercial market.

Before my new job, I was senior technical writer for UC Davis’ Finance, Operations and Administration division. These documents have the potential to impact everyone on campus, because students, staff and faculty are responsible for safety in some capacity.

I was most influenced by the critical thinking aspect of being an English major. That skill has served me well. I am able to assess a project from several angles by analyzing the information from subject matter experts, and then communicating it to a specific audience in a way that makes sense to them.

What helped me kick-start my career was working during my undergraduate years. I started as a marketing assistant intern at a local publishing company, and was hired several months later. I kept this job through college, which made my transition into a full-time position after graduation much easier because I had concrete experience to offer to my next employer.

 Join Lindy on LinkedIn.

Development analyst at UC Davis and specialist clerk II at the Alameda County Probation Department

Woman at her desk with a computer
Alex uses analytical skills gained in her English program to tackle complex data and information in two fields, fundraising and law enforcement. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Alex Garcia ’13 English

Majoring in English allowed me to develop my analytical prowess. As an English major, you are constantly reading to discover meaning and writing to create it. As a result, you learn to see the world around you as situational, with the meaning in everything varying and dependent on the context in which it is presented.

 In both of my current jobs — working with fundraising and probationer data — the ability to consider things from multiple perspectives has been great help. I’m able to see the information I’m given to analyze as possibly resulting from many factors as opposed to just one. That allows me to make more informed recommendations and decisions.

My biggest piece of advice would be to think outside of the box when considering what jobs your major can help you get. Capitalize on and sell the skills and knowledge you gain in your major. Do that and you’ll go places in your career that you never dreamed.

Since getting her bachelor’s degree at UC Davis, Alex has earned a Master of Public Administration in 2016 from California State University, East Bay. Starting fall 2017, she is starts on a Doctor of Education at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.

Join Alex on LinkedIn.

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