BA in English

Samantha Bookwalter, 2011

Samantha Bookwalter

What work are you doing now?

I write content and code for a health supplement company in a fast-paced and fun environment. I craft weekly newsletters, write articles and product copy, and manage our social media presence. I also design and develop quite a bit of code for the website ranging from front-end stylistic elements to scripting that improves how the website functions for both front-end and back-end users.

What do you like about it?

First and foremost, my job is 100% telecommute, which is perfect for me as I am married to a marine. Wherever my husband's job takes us, I will always have my own career as well. I also have the opportunity to grow and learn new skills on a weekly basis. Taking on new challenges and successfully conquering them is invigorating. I have yet to have a boring day on the job.

How did your degree in the college prepare you to do this work?

While working on my degree at Mason, there was one class in particular that set me on my career path: Digital Creative Writing. I had learned basic HTML in Introduction to Computing, but this course allowed for more flexibility and creativity. I quickly became proficient in HTML, and Professor Taciuch offered to teach me CSS as well. I realized I loved designing and with Professor Taciuch's recommendation I was able to secure my first full-time job while still a senior in college. That job helped me hone my skills and ultimately led me to the job I have and enjoy today.

What advice would you give current students about developing their careers?

When searching for jobs, I was often frustrated by the gap between my work experience and the required experience for the job. As I was still in college at the time, I did not have a large resume filled with years of relevant experience. I had a resume full of typical college jobs and an almost complete degree. However, if I had most or all of the skills required, I applied for the job despite my lack of experience. I got a surprising number of interviews and secured a job asking for 2-5 years of relevant experience when I had none. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. The people holding interviews know what they are looking for and if you have it they will want you regardless of your limited work background.