Meet: Luke Easterwood
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?
I’m a UX Writer at Google now, but I worked at companies like GE Healthcare, Amazon, Apple, and Helix previously. After getting my B.A. from Georgia Southern, I received my M.S. from the University of Washington in Human-Centered Design & Engineering.
My Writing & Linguistics courses helped me develop the writing and revising processes that I use every day. Some of these skills include quickly iterating between drafts, analyzing & applying peer feedback, defending word choices, and writing really good emails (no, really!). I also learned how language is the structure of a system: whether you apply it technically, creatively, or professionally, words are words. Maybe most importantly for my career, I graduated with a few principles that have helped me most often when I’ve lost my writerly way: short can beat good, context is key, and something is better than nothing.
Why did you decide to major in Writing & Linguistics as opposed to other majors/minors?
I’ve always been a nerd for books and computers, and I wanted to write but not produce literature or journalism. As a kid, I mostly hung out with Harry Potter on the page, played games with strangers on my PC, or chatted with my friends on AIM. Fortunately for me, that meant I was reading and writing many hours a day, even if it was just instant messaging my friends and reading technical troubleshooting tutorials online. When I first learned about technical and computer-mediated communication in high school, I was hooked. Shortly after, I applied to Writing & Linguistics because it would allow me to focus on my own writing as a craft, tool, and art. I didn’t have much need or desire for writing essays on Shakespeare or analyzing literature extensively, like most English majors seemed to focus on at the time
How well did your experiences in Writing & Linguistics prepare you for graduate school and/or employer demands?
Very well, for both graduate school and work. Analyzing why and how something was written, discussing it with peers, and using research & theory to back up opinions were core to my time in Writing & Linguistics. These experiences (and the practice that came with it) have helped me in meetings, job interviews, and collaborative problem-solving.
Is there a specific experience you’ve had in the Writing & Linguistics department that you would like to share?
Winning the Roy F. Powell Creative Nonfiction Award during my sophomore year was unexpected! A couple of fellow students read my submission for me and helped me with edits before I sent it in, and the piece that won was the first got published in Miscellany, GSU’s student art magazine at the time. It was great having the support of my professors and peers, even on a personal piece of writing that had nothing to do with classwork or study.
What advice would you give to students considering a major/minor in Writing & Linguistics?
You can get a lot of a degree in Writing & Linguistics, even if you don’t want to be a writer. Being a better reader and writer will help you get to where you want to go, even if you become the CTO of the next unicorn startup or work for a small non-profit. Or both. 🙂
Last updated: 6/15/2018