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Meet: Ian Leonard

Ian Leonard, a W and L major says "My writing and literature courses helped me, not only in effectively fulfilling the duties of my job, but also adjusting to a professional work environment."
What do you currently do (or plan to do), and how do the skills you acquired and practiced in the Writing & Linguistics courses benefit this plan?

Currently I am working as a marketing intern at the publishing house HarperCollins. I would like to continue to work in the publishing field post-graduation as well. My Writing & Linguistics courses definitely helped me, not only in effectively fulfilling the duties of my job, but also interacting and adjusting to a professional work environment. Many of my courses took time to prepare students for the expectations of an office environment, and many of the policies that were explained to me by the Human Resources staff, I had heard about from a professor at one point or another.

Why did you decide to major/minor in Writing & Linguistics as opposed to other majors/minors?

In addition to publishing, I also knew going into college that I was interested in making a career out of writing fiction. I ultimately decided that majoring in the course would help me develop the discipline to write more often, and produce content at a consistent enough level, that I could seriously consider pursuing the craft as a career one day.

How well did your experiences at Georgia Southern prepare you for graduate school and/or employer demands?

I believe that I owe a great deal of my personal successes to my time at Georgia Southern. Not only the instruction I received while in class, but also participating in extracurricular activities. I was able to find a student organization that was related to the career that I was interested in pursuing, and that gave me a competitive edge when applying for positions as well as a lot of experience that I could take into the workplace.

Is there a specific experience you’ve had in the Writing & Linguistics department that you would like to share?

I can think of one experience in particular that I feel is very characteristic of the department’s faculty as a whole. At the beginning of the spring semester my junior year, I decided that I wanted to get an internship at a publishing house for the summer. I was taking a class with Dr. Joanna Schreiber for the first time in my college career. We had no previous interactions at that point, but I heard from a friend who was also in the department that she was very helpful to them, so I decided to ask her if she would give me some advice for the application process. I went to her first office hours and although we had only met briefly in class, Dr. Schreiber sat down with me, offered to read and critique my resumé and cover letter, and continued to work on them with me for several weeks throughout the semester. I was genuinely blown away by the amount of time she devoted to helping me with this process and I owe a large part of my success in my internship hunt to her.

What advice would you give to students considering a major/minor in Writing & Linguistics?

Definitely to take advantage of the resources and opportunities that are available to you outside of the classroom. You’re going to hear this all the time once you enroll, but get involved. Even if the organization or activity is outside of your major, you would be surprised by the amount you can learn outside of class simply by being exposed to a new experience. Also definitely take the time to see your professors if you’re struggling with something in class, or even if you’re just curious to learn more about that subject area. It’s not always easy to admit you need help, but it’s important to remember that you are supposed to be learning new concepts here. If you already knew how to do it all by yourself you wouldn’t be in school.

Last updated: 10/28/2020