Spotlighting our alumni

November 14, 2022

Spotlighting our alumni

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For the past several months, we’ve been reaching out to our alumni to find out your English story. Here are just a few of the fantastic responses we’ve received, sharing how the English major has impacted our alumni's lives and careers. (And if you'd like to share your story with us, please take a moment to fill out this form!)

Linda Kramer '64

Linda Kramer

I've always been an avid reader and discovered that I also enjoy writing. At Ohio State, I learned that not everyone can write - or write well. My professors encouraged me to pursue writing. I dabbled in poetry and fiction but I especially liked writing about real people and real places.

The Vietnam War was heating up, so after graduation I attended Air Force Officer Training School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. Because of my English major, the Air Forced slotted me as an information officer - essentially a military journalist. I was an honor graduate of Defense Information School and was assigned to Headquarters, First Air Force at Stewart AFB, N.Y. - the Wings of West Point. I dealt with national and international media and became the first woman to edit an Air Force newspaper. That newspaper was named the No. 1 paper in Aerospace Defense Command and No. 3 in the Air Force worldwide. I found my niche.

It was exciting and more than satisfying to interview and write about high-ranking government officials (Vice President Hubert Humphrey, President and Mrs. Johnson, for example) and most importantly ordinary people (wounded Vietnamese soldiers and spouses dealing with a military member deployed to a combat zone). Telling such stories became my life's work.

I parlayed that love of storytelling to a career in journalism after the military days were done. I free-lanced for a while, then became a reporter and editor at a daily newspaper and retired as editor of a suburban weekly. Now I work part-time as the media consultant for the mayor of my hometown. Most of my job is writing about the people who live here.

Every person is a story. They may not realize that but with the right questions and the correct approach, their story can come to life. Writing about the young high school student struggling with cancer treatments or the woman who finally, after years of trying, opens her own business - those are the stories that inform and inspire. I can cry with them and laugh with them and then let the world know how very unique and important each one is.

I am proud of what I do. And I am more than grateful to those classes on Beowulf and Shakespeare that led me here.

Molly Rauch '05

Molly Rauch

I have such fond memories looking back at my time in Ohio State’s English department. Attending lectures for a British literature course my sophomore year hooked me and set me on my path as a previously undecided student. At the time, I was bouncing back and forth between the idea of going to law school or planning to attend a graduate program to obtain high school licensure to teach English after graduation. My planned schedule of courses over the next few years at Ohio State gave me the confidence that I'd be prepared for either pathway as I continued to study what I was passionate about and what pushed me to be a better student and critical thinker.

As fate would have it, I started working at the Ohio State Moritz Law Library at the end of my junior year (to further test out the idea of pursuing law school), but I began to grow more interested in the library aspect of my job and all the inner workings of what makes a library function. The appeal of going to law school started to lose its luster, and I began focusing more on how I might be able to merge my love of literature and research with the enjoyment I was starting to find by working in a university library. I remember having conversations with a few English department faculty members about this, and their encouragement and advisement to consider more seriously a next step of either a graduate program in English, or perhaps a library science program. One faculty member in particular mentioned the possibility of working as a school librarian specifically, if I wasn't entirely sure of the pathway of teaching just English in the classroom.

That nugget of an idea is what led me to where I am now. After taking time at the end of my Ohio State journey to explore this option, get other library experience and understand the unique role of a school librarian, I went to graduate school to obtain a Masters of Library and Information Science with a specialization in K-12 School Library Media. I've been working as a professional school librarian since 2008 and currently am the librarian at Mount Notre Dame High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. I absolutely love that I get to utilize and come back to so much of what I fell in love with during my time at Ohio State as a student in the English department: literature, academic research, critical thinking, big picture questions, Shakespeare (ha!).

I am very grateful for the faculty guidance and advice I received during my four years at Ohio State and truly feel that the courses I took challenged me in such positive ways that continue to make an impact on me as a secondary educator. Go Bucks!

Chase Ledin '14

Chase Ledin

I studied English and Sexuality Studies during my time at Ohio State, with a vested interest in the burgeoning queer studies courses and programmes across the arts and humanities. During that time, having an opportunity to study internationally at the University of Greenwich (in London, UK), in which I completed an independent research project about transformations in queer theory between the US and UK contexts, I was inspired to continue my studies. So, after my BA degree, I decided to pursue an MA in Contemporary Literature, Culture and Theory at King's College London (also in London, UK), where I wrote a thesis about the queer histories of HIV/AIDS in contemporary literature and media. I took some time off after this, to teach English in a high school in Minnesota. I was still keen to explore queer cultural studies in more depth, so in 2018, I started a PhD in Social and Cultural Theory at the University of Edinburgh (in Edinburgh, Scotland) - a programme I recently completed in March 2022. My PhD was more sociological than my previous two literature degrees, but it focused on changing perceptions of life with chronic HIV and how public health promoters have used messages in the media about "ending AIDS" in order to encourage safer sex and harm reduction practices. Overall, it's clear that my time as an English student at Ohio State has deeply impacted my scholarly pursuits - as well as the places I have travelled since!

We’d love to feature more of your stories in future newsletters! To tell us your story, and share the lasting impact your English degree has had, please take a moment to fill out this form.

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