Author Archives: mjsutton2

Gerry Cox: From the Peace Corps to the classroom

Cover of Gerry Cox’s book, Children Surviving Traumatic Death

Gerry R. Cox is a Professor Emeritus of Sociology at University of Wisconsin- La Crosse. He was the Director of the Center for Death Education & Bioethics. His teaching focused upon Theory/Theory Construction, Deviance and Criminology, Death and Dying, Social Psychology, and Minority Peoples. Cox graduated with a B.A. in sociology with a minor in English in 1965 from Ball State. He earned an M.A. in sociology in 1966, and a Ph.D. in 1975.   

He has been publishing materials since 1973 in sociology and teaching-oriented professional journals.

He is a member of the International Work Group on Dying, Death, and Bereavement, the Midwest Sociological Society, the American Sociological Association, The International Sociological Association, Phi Kappa Phi, and Great Plains Sociological Society, and the Association of Death Education and Counseling. He serves on the board of Director’s of the National Prison Hospice Association.

What was your first job after graduation?

Immediately after graduation, I flew to Philadelphia to start my Peace Corps training. It was an extremely fulfilling vocation. I would not call it a job. After returning from the Peace Corps, I chose not to go to law school, but rather began my career as a teacher.

What does a typical week look like for you?

I work on Habitat for Humanity projects several days a week. I mow for three to four hours at our Church. I write. I enjoy my grandchildren and children. I also travel extensively. I have been to forty-nine states and almost as many countries. I have authored and edited thirty books and have published poetry in a number of venues.

What was the most fulfilling part of your job?

Making a difference in people’s lives. I taught for forty-three years. I still hear from students about how I impacted their lives. I enjoyed the classroom, the colleagues, and the many activities involved in being on University campuses.

Do you have any advice for English majors who are trying to figure out the next step?

For me, it was doing what you love. I could have become a lawyer as was expected by my family, but I followed my heart and became a teacher and worked with the dying and bereaved

What are the most valuable skills you learned as an English major? How have they helped you post-graduation?

Probably the one that impacted me the most was a love for words. I think that the words opened up my ability to think and to appreciate life and the people in the world. I also learned how to write, though I do not consider myself to be a great writer. I think that the reason that I have been able to publish books is because I have something to say that is hopefully worth reading. I have also been fortunate to work with many of the leading people around the world in my field. Professors like Porter Nesbitt helped my appreciate my place in the world.

Publishing + Law: Sarah Roth

Sarah Roth is a 2003 graduate of Ball State University, where she earned a B.A. in English, and a 2007 graduate of Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

She currently works as Publications Manager of Michigan Judicial Institute (MIJI), and prior to this was a research attorney with MIJI and a law clerk with the Friend of the Court Bureau.

You can connect with her at linkedin.

 

What was your first job after graduation, and how did that lead you to your current position?

After graduating Ball State, I went on to law school in Michigan. As a law student, I held a variety of part time positions. However, my first full-time position following graduation of both Ball State and law school was as a research attorney with the Michigan Supreme Court’s Michigan Judicial Institute (MJI).

I am currently still employed by MJI and was promoted to the Publications Manager in 2011 where I oversee a team of attorneys who maintain a library of publications designed for trial court judges.

What does a typical week look like for you?

A typical week involves:

  • reviewing e-mails for recently-published cases and amended statutes and court rules
  • culling through all of this information and determining whether and where the new information needs to be included within our library of publications.
  • editing the work of three full-time attorneys
  • overseeing the publication process from start to finish every month
  • overseeing two monthly e-mail distributions
  • serving as liaison with a third party website vendor
  • attending meetings where I advise our director on issues affecting our office as well as our organization.
  • serving as the content manager for our website and ensuring it is functioning and getting updated as necessary

What is the most fulfilling part of your job?

I find the fact that our work is serving the judiciary, and ultimately the public, very rewarding. While we directly serve the judiciary, our work helps serve the public by providing more informed and educated judges and court personnel.

Do you have any advice for English majors who are trying to figure out their next step?

Coming out of Ball State, I was sure I wanted to become an editor at a huge publishing firm in NYC – mainly because I thought that was all that was available. Just know there are a ton of options for you, both big and small.

Explore and discover what it is you like to do, do as many internships as possible, and I assure you that something is out there that you will love.

What are the most valuable skills you learned as an English major? How have they helped you post-graduation?

In terms of helping me professionally, the writing skills I developed at Ball State have been second to none. In order to advance my career, writing exercises have been a large part of the interview process, and in order to get the job, I had to outperform all other applicants.

Here is a link to the MJI website if you are interested: https://mjieducation.mi.gov/