Alumni Profile: Jeana DelRosso

July 8, 2019

Jeana DelRosso received her Masters in English from the University of Maryland in 1993 and her Ph.D in 2000. She also received a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies in 1998. Dr. DelRosso currently works as a professor at Notre Dame of Maryland University. In this interview, she shares her experience as someone with a degree in English, and offers some advice for English majors.

How did your English major lead to your current position?

When I started my undergraduate degree, I really didn’t know what career I wanted to pursue. But I knew I loved to read great literature, so I became an English major—to surround myself with books and with the people who loved them as well. I was deeply inspired by a few fantastic faculty members at my university, who helped me to believe that graduate school would be a good option for me. That led naturally to a faculty teaching position.

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

As an English major, I learned how to think and write critically and, in particular, how to do close reading. The one thing I never learned as an English major at my undergraduate institution was how to write a persuasive research paper! So that’s the first thing I teach my students now: how to write a strong thesis and support it with evidence.

What is a typical work day like for you?

On a typical day at work, I usually teach three classes, ranging from English 101 to mid-level literature classes to graduate courses in literary theory. I also serve on multiple committees, like faculty senate and grievance, so I’m usually attending a meeting or two. And I am invariably working with students as well, whether advising them in course selection or in writing.

Do you have any advice for current English majors who are trying to figure out what comes next in their lives?

My best advice for English majors is not to succumb to the pressure to change what they are doing. With all the emphasis on STEM and professional schools, the liberal arts are seriously undervalued right now. But there are so many employers who are looking for people who can think for themselves and, just as importantly, write well. So believe in what you are doing, and do what you love.

 

This interview was conducted by Allison Hughes. Allison Hughes is currently pursuing her BA in Psychology and English at the University of Maryland.