Student and Alumni Spotlight

Viki CaputoViki Caputo '17 | English Major, Creative Writing Minor

Sacred Heart has allowed to me do things I have never imagined possible. The English department and the inspiring professors has let me pursue one of my biggest dreams: becoming an author. 

In November of 2016, I completed a three-year long project of mine. With the help of Dr. Sandra Young and Dr. Jonas Zdanys, I was able to finish writing my first book: “Trust Me: Through the Eyes of a Survivor.”  The book focuses on the truth behind various types of mental illnesses. Through a number of personal experiences and anecdotes, mental health is explored and explained in a deeper manner. This inside understanding of what mental illness is tells the reader an insightful and powerful story. The stigmas and myths of mental illness are identified, explained and corrected. This book sheds a necessary light on mental health, educating the uninformed and providing hope for those who suffer to find the joy and fulfillment in life.

On January 15th, 2018, my book will be officially published and released by Kharis Publishing. Without the love, help and support from professors, friends and family, this dream of mine would have never become a reality. Without Sacred Heart, this idea that I dreamt up one day when I was just a kid would have never taken flight. This accomplishment is going to be one of my biggest yet, and I have the Sacred Heart University English Department to thank for their constant support and faith in me and my story.

Carrianne DillonCarrianne Dillon '15 | English Major

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 and I am always happy to get comments, questions, or book recommendations!

Michael LenardMichael Lenard '17 | 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 NicholsKatherine Nichols '12 | English Major

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!

Patrick RobinsonPatrick Robinson '18 | 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 '17 | English Major

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.