English Senior Spotlights

English Senior Spotlights

We invited all of our graduating English major seniors to share with us their post-graduation plans and a favorite memory from the English Department.  Here are the ones we received (in alphabetical order):

McKenna Christian
After graduation I will be working full time managing San Diego’s very own vegan cookie company, Maya’s Cookies, while also applying to graduate schools to study creative writing.

I’ve loved being the poetry editor of the Alcalá Review as it has taught me a lot of about what it is like to be in editor and what the publishing business is like.

Nicholas Cohn
After graduation, I hope to write and teach—these have long been my greatest loves, something continuously emphasized to me by my experiences in both creative writing classes and workshops and consulting sessions in the USD Writing Center. Ideally, I will have the chance to do these at the university-level, and I will be studying and preparing applications to graduate schools in the next year, pursuing a Ph.D. in literature. I hope to fight for a more just world, even if that means starting in the realm of outer space.

Most of my time at USD has been defined and brightened through my involvement in the USD English department--from the moment that the combined kindness of Sr. Hotz and Professor Hasselbach convinced me to trust in this caring community and to trust in my own love of stories. It is difficult to choose just one favorite memory, but I think I would be foolish to say anything other than the Writing Center's Nights Again Procrastination--these were the perfect moments, where my love for my peers and my love for the power of the written language could most cross paths. My favorite memories have been made by my fellow English majors, brilliant people whom I am so fortunate to have worked alongside.

Mina De Guia
I will be starting my PhD at the University of Washington this fall! I’m so excited to start teaching and researching in my home state. 

What is your favorite English dept. memory? Late nights goofing off in senior project, loitering in the Writing Center when I was not a consultant, and all of my favorite professors’ “-isms!”

Ale Esquer Castañeda
I plan to work for a few years (hopefully in something related to community organizing) and then go to grad school. Ultimately, I want to be an English professor with a focus in Ethnic Studies and Marxist thought. 

My favorite memory is the moment that I declared my major. I became an official English major as soon as I could. It's what I came to USD for (actually, it was the reason why I was studying in the US at all), and as soon as the paperwork went through, it felt magical. I'd wanted to study literature my whole life, and I'd wanted to be surrounded by friends that wanted to do the same, and as soon as I knew that I would get to do that, I was the happiest that I'd been in a long time. And now that it's done, I still feel the same way about being an English major. It was truly wonderful. I just wish it could have been longer!

Joanna Grabowski
My plans after graduation are to continue working at the social media agency I work for currently where I write blogs and am in charge of sales but eventually, I hope to write and publish a book! 

My favorite memory within the English department is one from recently! It would without a doubt have to be meeting and taking Professor Duraj's course. She is an exceptional woman and helped me find myself as a writer and a person! Without her I would never have found my true voice.

Emily Halphide
After graduation, I plan on looking for a job in the publishing field. 

One of my favorite English memories is Friday classes with Professor McGowan!

Sarah Hankins

Upon graduation, I plan to teach English abroad in Madrid, Spain! 

My favorite English memory is when I was treated to an exquisite sushi dinner for my "Food as Narrative" (Dr. Koonyong Kim’s) course. 


Kaia Hubbard
After graduation, I plan to apply to grad programs, and take some much-needed time to relax after a busy four years.  

My favorite memory of the English department is not one particular moment, but the daily interactions while walking through the halls of Founders. There was nothing more comforting throughout my college experience than poking my head into the writing center to see who was around, or dropping by my professors' office hours for no reason other than to chat. I'll miss those daily walks more than anything else at USD. 


Lizzy Jennings
I will be working as the Associate Editor for iGrad, a company that specializes in financial literacy and financial wellness for undergrad and recent graduates, in Cardiff! 

My favorite English memory is by far Nineteenth Century Novels with Sister Hotz. We covered books that have become some of my favorites, and Sister Hotz is one of the most amazing professors, and one of the most amazing people, that I have ever met. I also took the course with two of my closest friends, Addison Baffert (an English major!) and Regis Bridgeland (an English minor!) and we had such a good time together.


Gurleen Kang
After graduation, I plan on taking a long, well-earned nap. After that, I want to pursue writing and teaching as a profession. I'll be preparing applications for MFA and Ph.D. programs in literature and hopefully finding time in between to continue writing stories. 

I honestly don't know how to answer this question. Every moment spent in the English department has been special to me and I've truly cherished my time in Founders Hall and the Writing Center. But if I have to pick, I think my absolute favorite is my first time walking into the Writing Center for my interview, seeing so many English inclined people hanging out, having fun, and getting work done, spooked me but also I realized I finally found my niche at USD.


Nena McGrade
I am planning on pursuing a career in digital marketing.

My favorite memory of being an English major was my Nonfiction Creative Writing class with Prof. Melekian. It was my favorite class I've ever taken, and our bond as a class is something I will truly never forget!


McIntyre McQueen
After graduation I am now starting to apply for grad school.

I feel so lucky to have been a part of this department... I don't think I can pick a favorite memory. I will cherish each day in the classroom with such compassionate, challenging, and brilliant people. I am looking forward to hearing everyone else's plans.


Makenzie Melheim
I am taking a gap year before I am off to medical school! I am currently working on applications. I hope to pursue a career in pediatrics whilst continuing my passion for both reading and writing. 

I often find myself contemplating the late nights of Senior Project. The comradery surrounding mutual procrastination and literary curiosity is something that I will think back on fondly for a long time to come. 


Nicole O’Farrill Haugen (mid-year graduate, December 2019)
I plan to eat a lot of homemade Mexican food and binge watch Netflix. But in all seriousness, professionally, I’ll be starting my Masters in English at Harvard University pretty soon; I intend to rest my eyes before the craziness begins.

My favorite moment at USD stars Sr. Hotz at Founders. We just sat, she listened for the most part... but the moment she told me she thought I was a decent academic writer ... well let’s just say I would’ve never applied to Harvard if it weren’t for that moment.


Davontae Reed
After graduation, I plan on doing an internship as a film judge and figuring out which film school I want to attend.

My favorite English Department memory is Alcalá Review inviting me to join the Jack Kerouac discussion panel. It was a refreshing experience to join Dr. Robinson, Dr. Black, and Thomas Dolan to discuss the legacy of the Kerouac. This was a great moment to help me foster friendships on campus and become more involved in USD activities. Probably wouldn't do it again (facing the crowd is a little different than being a part of it!) but I am grateful for the opportunity. 


Jake Sanborn
I am currently searching for jobs that will allow me to use the skills I have developed through my experiences in the English and Political Science departments at USD. I'm hoping to find a job opportunity in the security industry or government contracting! 

I cherished every moment I got to spend in the English Department; the faculty, staff, and courses are truly the best that the university has to offer. However, I especially enjoyed working for the English Department as an office assistant. Being able to interact with my fellow English Majors and faculty on a daily basis was truly an amazing experience.

Sarafina Silveyra
I will be attending Graduate School this fall at California Lutheran University to pursue a Master's degree in School Counseling. 

I took a couple of classes with Dr. Floyd over the course of my undergrad years and he helped me look at the world around me in ways I didn't even know was possible. I owe it to him for broadening my perspective on life itself. He was one of the many amazing professors I came across in the English department at USD!


Colin Thompson
I will be attending USF Law in the fall with a partial scholarship.

My favorite English memory is playing queer transhumanist punk music for my Senior Project presentation—and getting to write about it!


Phoebe Woofter 
Summer has lots of writing submissions in store for me while I teach English with VIPKid. I’m planning a few backpacking trips, including a thru-bike of the PCT. 

My favorite memory of college is when I met my girlfriend in a creative writing class. 


Congratulations to all of our seniors!!


Senior Spotlight collage

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