Category Archives: Stars to Steer By

What can you do with a Humanities degree? We’ll show you! Here we tell you all about our Stars to Steer By series upcoming events, recaps of past events, and feature interviews with Ball State alumni who have gone on to be incredibly successful. The goal of the series is to encourage students who wish to or are currently pursuing a Humanities degree. Be sure to consider coming to the next event and find out what you can do with your degree!

Jared Linder: From English Degree to Career in Technology

Jared Linder is a two-time Ball State graduate, once as undergrad with the English department, and again as a graduate student earning an M.S. in Information and Communication Sciences at the Center for Information and Communication Sciences (CICS). He is a recent graduate from the MBA program at Butler University. He also serves as the Chief Information Officer for the State of Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration.

Most people would assume that a student who majored in English would never have a job as a Chief Information Officer. How did you move from English to a career in information technology?

When I graduated from Ball State in late preview-full-Jared Linder.JPG1998, the world was heavily focused on IT jobs, especially Y2K and the possible issues we would face if things did not go well. I honestly had a hard time finding a job. I did not really know what I was looking for, and had not prepared well for what my post-college life was supposed to look like. I started a job working at the lowest rung at an IT company when soon someone realized I could write and communicate. That was when I became confident in my liberal arts background as a positive force for my success. I began to change my career mindset to focus on solving problems and helping people vs merely working in IT. That made all the difference; I just applied my learned skills to the reality of working in a 21st-century growth industry. I used to tell my mom I worked around computers; now I tell her I help people get things done. I started to gravitate towards client relationships and working with project teams and management.

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Sean Andres: Marketer, Writer, and Former Educator

Sean Andres earned a B.S. in Secondary English/Language Arts Education from Ball State University in 2008 and a M.S. in Marketing from University of Cincinnati, with a focus on diversity marketing from applied feminist and race theory. His favorite author is Margaret Atwood, and he loves to be outdoors when he’s not glued to the computer—writing, researching, and working. 

How did your teachers at Ball State influence the time you spent in the high school classroom?

One of my favorite units was on point of view and rhetoric, when I covered the voices of the Vietnam War (long before Ken Burns!). I used many Vietnamese accounts, Jane Fonda’s Hanoi radio speech, an Eisenhower speech, and American soldiers’ accounts. But I also had my dad come in to talk to the class about his experience in the Navy during the war. I’ve never seen students so engaged in a classroom.

I contribute most of my teaching methods and a lot of my point of view methods to Dr. Pamela Hartman. Similarly, Dr. Joyce Huff, taught us to look at a text from many points of view. Each group would look at “Goblin Market” with a different lens, and it was mind-blowing when we all talked about our theories to the rest of the class. I’d also like to mention Dr. Rai Peterson as one of the professors who brought out my interest in rhetoric, which of course, I use now in marketing.

Why did you leave teaching? Continue reading

Bryan Lubeck: Fortune 500 Marketer, Professional Musician

Guest post by Charlie Cain

Bryan Lubeck graduated from Ball State University with a major in English in 1989.  He has gone on to hold executive marketing positions with several fortune 500 companies and to a successful career in music.

What drew you to BSU English?

Well I went to Ball State not quite knowing what I wanted to do. I had a music background.  My original plan was to be a singer/dancer, maybe a guitarist. I did come to Ball State with a guitar scholarship, a small one, but my main goal was to be in the University Singers. But then it sort of dawned on me that my classical guitar playing, singing, and music theatre were going nowhere. I thought maybe I would get a business degree and become a producer. Continue reading

Graham Brown: “Start a business. Change the world.”

The next speaker for the “Stars to Steer By Series” is Graham Brown, owner of United State of Indiana, clothing that helps Hoosiers express a love of Indiana, including the t-shirt that inspired the logo for the “Stars to Steer By Series” itself!

When and where?

Wednesday, November 8 at 6:30 PM in WB (Business Building) 141.

What’s the topic?

“Your Job is to Have Fun: The New Era of Entrepreneurship.”

Entrepreneurship? That’s a business word, not an English word. 

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Becca Wolfley: Marketer and Freelance Copywriter

Becca Wolfley graduated from Ball State University with a B.S. in Advertising (and a minor in Creative Writing) in 2015. After graduation, she worked as a content writer and manager for tech company Lesson.ly until May of 2016, then became the digital copywriter for The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis a month later. She continues to work as a creative for the museum’s marketing department while moonlighting as a freelance copywriter.

How did your major and minor lead to your current position? What series of steps did you make after college to get there, and what skills did you learn with us that helped you in that transition?

From my experience as an Ad major, many of my peers didn’t know how to tell a single story in various ways. I suppose that’s how I got here—I was one of the few that could. I thank my creative writing classes for that.

Screenwriting, poetry, English literature…the combination of these classes (and then some) taught me to write practically, write concisely, and interpret critically. Between literature courses and rhetorical analysis with Rai Peterson and abstract, post-modern poetry with Pete Davis, I got the hang of how to write for the perception I desired from multiple audiences without compromising creativity.

By the time I finished college, I had a portfolio of various types of work. In cover letters, it didn’t hurt to show the similarities between a commercial script and a screenplay, or how poetics play a big role in commercial scripting.
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John Maust: The Importance of Encouraging Writers

John Maust is president of Media Associates International (MAI), a publishing training agency based near Chicago, Illinois. John directs MAI’s global training programs to strengthen Christian publishing worldwide and to foster the development and publication of gifted local writers. John became president of MAI in 1998 after more than 20 years of experience as an editor, author and journalist. He graduated from Ball State University in 1975 with a B.A. in Literature, followed by an M.A. in Communications from Wheaton (IL) College Graduate School in 1978.

You have had such a varied career in publishing, including working for a newspaper and a magazine, as well as publishing three books of your own. In what ways did your English literature degree help to prepare you for these various endeavors?
John Maust 2.jpg

Within weeks of graduating from Ball State, I got a job as a 20-year-old editor of a small-town weekly newspaper in nearby Dunkirk, Indiana. Editorially, it was a one-person operation. So, for the first time in my life I had nightmares: would I find enough to fill the newspaper?

Fortunately, we never published any blank pages, and the work got done through long hours, hard work, a finely tooled typewriter, and more than a few prayers. I look at that experience as a time of real growth both as a person and as a communicator. They say you learn to write by writing, and that was surely the case at this newspaper.

Next came graduate school, followed by work as a magazine news editor, and then as a roving reporter and writer trainer based in Lima, Peru. There, this English major learned enough Spanish to meet and marry my beautiful wife, Elsa, of 32 years.

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Pat Grabill: A Love for the Written Word

Pat Grabill graduated from Ball State with an MA in English in 1968 and pursued a teaching career for 30 years. After retiring from teaching in 2004, she worked as a technical writer for Precisely Write in Indianapolis and also became President of the Watercolor Society of Indiana, where she made use of her English skills and her love of art to promote painting in Indiana.

preview-full-unnamedWhy English?

I’ve always been a good student. Not a great student—although I have had some great moments—but a good student. When I graduated from high school in 1961 (yes, I’m old), I really wanted to go to college, but my dad wasn’t sure. So he picked my school—Purdue—a great choice for me, as it turned out, and he also picked my major, elementary education. Not a good choice. I would have been a barely adequate elementary teacher, so I changed my major to Secondary Education/English. I graduated four years later with many, many semester hours in literature, writing, linguistics, and rhetoric and went on to spend 30 classroom years mostly at the high school level. I retired in 2004 having taught all secondary grade levels and loving it. While my undergrad degree was at Purdue (Boiler Up!), I studied for my MA degree at Ball State (Go, Cardinals!)  I taught freshman comp in the BSU English department as a TA while doing my own course work. I wrote my Master’s paper on “The Myth of the West in Steinbeck’s Fiction.” I remember it well. I wish I still had my copy. I had some great teachers at Purdue and at Ball State, and I am grateful for the time they took with me.

Why major in English?  Continue reading

Tara Olivero: Teacher at Homestead High School and Writer at Book Riot

Tara Olivero is a teacher at Homestead High School in Fort Wayne and a contributing writer at Book Riot. She graduated from Ball State in 2014 with a degree in English Education. In this post, she discusses her job as a high school English teacher and how her time at #bsuenglish helped her find her passion for teaching.

How would you describe your job?

My main career will always be my teaching career – I’m in my third year of teaching in Fort Wayne at Homestead High School. As any other high school teacher knows, it’s an exhausting job but one that’s personally satisfying beyond all compare. I also have two side-gigs outside of teaching. I’m a contributor at Book Riot, which I really love because it gives me a platform for my own writing. And my “purely for fun” job is that I work at an Escape Room in Fort Wayne on the weekends; I also write blog posts for the Escape Room’s website.

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Hold Onto Your Passion: Advice from Audra Dittlinger

Stars to Steer By presents Audra Dittlinger, a Marketing Content Manager and Client Experience Director. Ms. Dittlinger began her journey at Ball State in 2001 and officially graduated in 2014 with a degree in English Studies.   

How would you describe your job?Audra Dittlinger

I would describe my job as fast paced, exciting, and unpredictable. It’s a mixture of editing, brainstorming, and creating some amazing content for a start-up company that is growing quicker than we ever thought possible!

Stars to Steer By: TESOL Information and Next Semester's Events!

panelThe panel for this event included Nuha Alsalem, Tiffany Ellis, Leslie Erlenbaugh, Shane Lanning, and Matthias Raess. Each speaker had valuable information regarding their experience with teaching abroad and also teaching English as a second language. Students interested in teaching English to non-native speakers should check out the TESOL minor. The minor in TESOL offers the skills and knowledge necessary for teaching English to non-native speakers of English both domestically and internationally. If you are looking to teach abroad, you should look at the Fulbright Scholarship.

If you missed out on the last Stars to Steer By event this semester, have no fear! We’ve got a whole lot more coming to you in the spring semester! Our first event entitled “English Majors Can Make Millions (for Good Causes) with speakers Cheri O’Neill and Bruce Hetrick is scheduled for Tuesday, January 31 at 5 pm in Bracken 104.