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Featuring Andrew Gordon '11

 

 

 

 

 

Graduate School: Carnegie Mellon University
Graduate Program: MA in Professional Writing
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

(Profiled: December 2011)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

♦  What influenced your decision to go to graduate school?
♦  How did you explore graduate school?
♦  Do you have any tips related to the application process?
♦  Did you obtain a Graduate Research/Teaching Assistantship? If so, what was that application process like?

 

What influenced your decision to go to graduate school?

The Masters of Arts in Professional Writing at Carnegie Mellon was a perfect fit for me. My love for English and teaching was always centered around my love for writing. During my two summers interning at the Mayor's Office in Erie, PA, I learned a love for functional writing. I had never been trained to write brochure blurbs, press releases, and grant applications, but my experience doing it sparked my interest in pursing it further. Carnegie Mellon's program offered me an opportunity to train in style and rhetoric, document design and information architecture, and marketing and public relations, all at once. The masters degree in writing not only makes me more qualified to teach English, but it also qualifies me to work in other writing-related fields as well.

How did you explore graduate school?

I got the idea about looking into the Professional Writing program at Carnegie Mellon through Grove City College alumnus and trustee Bill Mehaffey ('64).  Mr. Mehaffey sat next to my mom at a development committee meeting, and when she said I was an English major, he told her that Carnegie Mellon's Professional Writing Masters was a great thing to do with an English degree.  The rest was up to me.  The graduate school exploration process was a lot like exploring undergraduate schools, minus the input and influence of my parents.  I really had to take the initiative to further explore program websites, schedule prospective student visits, and communicate with department faculty all on my own.

Do you have any tips related to the application process?

Get out there and find the program that best suits you.  Masters programs are different from school to school, and it is important to find something that actually suits your skills and interests.  Format your resume in a way that highlights experiences related to your area of interest.

Did you obtain a Graduate Research/Teaching Assistantship? If so, what was that application process like?

I obtained a teaching assistantship in a graduate-level composition course.  Getting teaching assistantships requires you to set yourself apart from other equally qualified applicants.  My prior experiences of student teaching and tutoring in the Grove City College Writing Center helped both by preparing me, and by setting me apart from the rest of the pack.  Because I emphasized my experience in teaching writing, I was actually selected for multiple assistantship opportunities and this allowed me to choose which one I thought sounded the most interesting.

 

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