Tag Archives: Stars to Steer By

Christina Dionesotes: (Not) Lost in Translation

Christina Dionesotes graduated from Ball State with degrees in both English Studies and Spanish. She then went to New York University for her Masters in Spanish and Latin American Cultural, Literary, and Linguistic Studies. Since then, she has worked as a freelancer translator editor and proofreader, and is now the Associate Project Manager at RWS Life Sciences.

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

After graduation, I went right into graduate school in Spain. Because I didn’t have a work visa and was in school full time, my work options were limited. I ended up nannying/teaching English to two young girls to supplement my loan money. I also started getting into freelance editing and translation. After grad school, I came home to Chicago and looking for jobs that were related to language or included Spanish. I found my current job, under “Linguistic Validation Project Manager” quickly. I had no clue what that position entailed, didn’t know anyone at the company, but managed to score an interview. I have been working here for about 2 years now and can’t believe how much I’ve learned about the translation industry through this job.

What does a typical week look like for you?

I currently work as a contractor for my full-time job which means I’m working from home full time. I tend to go to coffee shops a few days a week just to get out of the house. What I love is that my job allows for the perfect balance of collaborating with coworkers and plugging in music and being in “do not disturb mode”. I have client calls maybe once a day but spend the most of my time working with linguists, proofreading, quality checking translations, collaborating with other vendors, and working to improve internal processes.

Right now, we’re going through quite a busy period so it’s normal to work until 6 PM, take a break, and then log back on around 9 PM or so. Right now I’m working anywhere from 40-60 hours for this job. 

I also maintain my status as a freelance translator. Now that I’m living back in the US, I’m speaking Spanish much less than I want to. Although being a rather inexperienced translator does not pay very well, I still maintain that it’s important and try to pick up a gig 1-2 times a week.

What is the most fulfilling part of your job?

The most fulfilling part of my job is getting to work with languages every day. This is what I loved to study in school, so to be paid to ask about tense, aspect, and modality is pretty cool.

Even more, I work with language-minded people. All of my colleagues speak at least one other language and the majority of us have lived in different countries and have significant others from other places.

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

Enjoy the process of figuring it out. I was so afraid of making the “wrong” step at the time of graduation. I just wanted to be able to tell people I was doing SOMETHING. Looking back, it would have served me well to look at all the options (yes, including moving back in with my parents).

I remember looking at jobs at the career fair and almost none of them listing “English major” as a degree that qualified me for that job. Hear me loud and clear: that is bullshit. Don’t pigeonhole yourselves into certain jobs you think you have to do. You can be an English major and not teach!

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

This may be a very basic answer but being an English major taught me to analyze problems and come up with creative solutions. In my job, we’re constantly having to come up with new processes as the technology and industry changes. Sometimes clients come to us with near-impossible requests and ask us to make it happen. It has been so helpful to be able to extract pieces of information, draw conclusions, and make a plan of action based on said conclusions.

In a more “real life” sense, my professors really encouraged me to question things. They taught me to question the norm, to ask why that is the norm and who benefits from that being the norm. That’s probably something I use on an everyday basis with work, relationships, etc.

 

Does this type of career sound interesting to you? Join us at Stars to Steer By on October 23rd to learn more about career opportunities involving languages.

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.

Bill Bradford: From Teacher to Administrator to Federal Grants Specialist

Bill Bradford graduated from Ball State University in 2007 with a BA in Education with a concentration in English. He later obtained an MS in Educational Leadership from Indiana University: South Bend.  He has served as a school administrator, athletic director, and as a teacher in South Bend Community School Corporation and Indianapolis Public Schools.  With over 10 years of field experience, he is now serving as a Federal Grants Specialist for the Indiana Department of Education

How did your English major lead to your current position?

As an English major, I was presented with several really important leadership opportunities in the field of teaching. Since Language Arts is heavily tested in the K-12 environment, I was given the responsibility of leading collaborative discussions, curriculum planning and developing assessments. Later, I was given some administrative opportunities as an Athletic Director and Assistant Principal in a large school corporation. In my current position, I work for the Indiana Department of Education as a Federal Grant Specialist.

What skills did you learn as an English major that helped you transition into that job?

While I was an English major at Ball State, I developed skills that are very important to my current position such as: communicating effectively with school leaders, editing and revising large grants with great attention to detail, and the collaborative skills needed to work in a small team of other specialists. Critical thinking plays a huge role in my work since federal education funds are often subject to cuts, which means that school districts need expert advice on how to coordinate all of their funding sources, so that they can accomplish their programming goals for students.

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Ellie Fawcett: Creating Social Media Content

Ellie Fawcett. From her website: www.elliefawcett.com

Ellie Fawcett graduated from Ball State with a BA in English Literature in 2017. In college, she served as a member of the marketing team for the 2015 Digital Literature Review and as a strategic communications intern for Jacket Copy Creative. Fawcett now works for Englin’s Fine Footwear as a content creator for their blog and as a manager of their social media.

What is the most interesting part of your job?

I love getting to spend everyday creating. Figuring out what problems customers have, researching how to solve those problems, and creating new information resources is really, really fun!

If things develop as you would like, what does the future hold for your career?

If all goes according to plan, I would eventually like to transition to a position as a content creator for an agency where I’ll have the opportunity to work on more content topics.

What skills are required in your position on a day-to-day basis?

My position requires research skills, the ability to write in specific tones for specific audiences and to determine who the audiences are, the creativity to find new and interesting content topics to cover everyday, and the ability to work with a team. A good foundation of what sometimes get called soft skills is pretty essential to my job. Continue reading

Jolene McConnell: “Do things you’re afraid of doing.”

Jolene McConnell graduated from BSU in 2006 with her MA in TESOL and Linguistics. She is now an English Language Fellow in Albania with the US Department of State. Jolene has taught at a private language school for adults in Poland, at public schools in Korea, and on cruise ships teaching ESL. Upon her return to the US, Jolene worked for ELS Language Centers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Kansas State University before taking a leave of absence to do her fellowship.  

In her current role in Albania, Jolene is conducting workshops for English teachers throughout the country.  She conducts the Regional English Language Office Belgrade Facebook page and works with a division of the Ministry of Education in Albania.

How did your English major lead to your current position? What skills did you learn as an English major that helped you transition into that job?

I am on sabbatical from my job as an ESL instructor at Kansas State University and I currently do teacher training for English teachers in Albania.  I majored in English, not only because I love how language works, but specifically because I wanted to learn more about the world.  Having a degree in English has opened so many doors for me and I have had opportunities to travel that I would never have had otherwise. English didn´t just help me with my job; it is my job.  

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