Student and Alumni Spotlight

Carrianne DillonCarrianne Dillon
Class of 2015, B.A. English

After graduating from Sacred Heart in 2015, I took a gap year before deciding to enroll in the University of Glasgow’s Masters in Fantasy Literature.  The program in Scotland is brand new and is the only Masters certification in the world for this type of literature.  My year, 2016-17, is the second one, and we get to be the forerunners and champions of Fantasy as a valid and important genre in academic discourse.  My cohort includes about 20 students from around the globe, all of whom have vastly different undergraduate backgrounds.

As a graduate student, I am so grateful to the faculty of the English Department at Sacred Heart.  The scope of the material taught, the patience and kindness of my professors, and their unwavering belief in me prepared me to enter graduate school feeling confident that I would be on an equal footing with my peers.  My professors taught me how to work with and assess different types of literature and theory, to be in control of my writing, and to develop confidence and poise in my speaking abilities.  They also introduced me to poems, stories, and novels that have proven invaluable to my success here.  I would not trade my experience at Sacred Heart for anything and I can think of no better place to send prospective students. 

When I return to Connecticut, I plan to pursue a career in education.  In the meantime, I will continue traveling, eating, writing, and enjoying myself in the UK. I have an informal journal blog at https://fantasyinscotland.com/ and I am always happy to get comments, questions, or book recommendations!


 

Michael Lenard
Class of 2017, English minor

The English program at Sacred Heart has opened my eyes to a myriad of diverse perspectives that I otherwise would not have encountered. Ranging in topic, often with unique and exciting interdisciplinary twists, the English courses I have taken at SHU have been among my favorites in college. The department's professors are passionate, supportive, and encouraging, and my writing has become more effective as a result. Pursuing the English minor has challenged me to continuously polish and improve my communication skills. Combined with my business degree, I feel that the minor has opened up many doors for my future, including a plethora of career paths and graduate school opportunities.

 


 

Katherine Nichols
Class of 2012, B.A. English

I graduated from Sacred Heart in spring 2012. Directly following graduation, I attended Michigan State University College of Law to earn my Juris Doctor degree in spring 2015. Throughout my three years at MSU, I studied abroad in Poland and under a state court judge in Lansing.  I also served as a mediator in MSU's Mediation Clinic and as a Law Clerk to a 501(c)(3) providing legal services specifically for those with disabilities. My favorite externship was working as a Student Attorney in Ann Arbor, which allowed me to practice family law exclusively for domestic violence survivors. This experience strongly influenced my decision to become a family law attorney. 

Being an English major helped me immensely in law school. I was able to read and comprehend material quickly because I was used to having to read novels in a few hours. The most valuable skill I learned was how to trace multiple literary themes throughout a novel, which in law school helped me to identify and pull together the right issues from different topics in a legal case. I also chose to major in English because I wanted to understand the motivations behind people's actions, which today allows me to relate better to clients from various backgrounds. 

I wholeheartedly enjoyed being an English major at Sacred Heart. One of the highlights was studying Irish Literature abroad in Dingle, Ireland during a summer session. It was memorable to read about a particular part of the country and then visit the actual sites. On campus, I led the English Club and organized an annual Bookstore Crawl in New York City to visit famous bookstores like the Strand. I was also involved with the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, attending two conferences at which I moderated a panel and presented my own work. The conferences gave me the unique opportunity to hear how others interpreted literary works I had studied in class from different perspectives. Many of my classmates who attended them went on to teach English or study it in graduate programs.

Currently I am an Associate Attorney at a small law firm in Michigan, and I very much enjoy my work and helping to build the practice. If you are thinking about law school, please feel free to contact me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kanichols15!


 

Patrick Robinson
Class of 2018, English major

At Sacred Heart, I am studying English literature and Theatre Arts. Since starting in fall 2014, I have been involved in nearly thirty theatrical performances, including both plays and musicals. Being an English major has given me the tools to better analyze and comprehend these performances. By reading great literature, I have gained a deeper understanding of human behavior, emotion, and character.  It has also made me more aware of structural elements like plot and setting. In my classes, I have studied a wide range of writers, from Henry David Thoreau to postcolonial authors like Kamala Markandaya. I have been extremely fortunate to work alongside the dedicated and inspiring professors in the department who have pushed me to achieve success in a healthy and comfortable environment. After graduation, I plan to pursue a career in acting.  

 


 

Cristina ZangagliaCristina Zangaglia,
Class of 2017, B.A. English           

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a teacher. As I got older, I noticed that I had a real passion for language because I grew up in an Italian-speaking household. When I entered college, I chose English as my major because I always enjoyed reading and writing. Along with my Italian minor, I hope to earn my certification in both subject areas and fulfill my dream of teaching.

Throughout my time at Sacred Heart, my favorite courses have been those in my major. Although the content has been educational and interesting, the faculty are what make each course worthwhile. The professors are brilliant people and so good at what they do. Each one of them has shown a genuine care and respect for me as their student. Because they have supported me while pushing me to work my hardest, I have grown both academically and personally.

The major has allowed me to develop interpersonal skills through class discussions, and I have gained a strong understanding of how to write and speak clearly and concisely. As a result, I was chosen to be a member of the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society last year. During spring semester of 2015, I also had the opportunity to study abroad in Rome, Italy. There, I was able to complete my Italian minor and take a Shakespeare course that involved traveling to Verona! The English Department will always hold a special place in my heart.