Meet Alum Emily Hershman ’12


Alum Emily Hershman

Hometown: Leesburg, Virginia

Major/Minor: Major in English and double minor in History and Women’s and Gender Studies

Current Employment: Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Notre Dame

What role has the English major played in your career path?
After taking my first English course (an American literature survey during fall of my freshman year), I knew that I wanted to become a major. Although there are widespread misconceptions about our discipline and its value on the job market, Wake Forest’s exceptional English faculty inspired me to attend graduate school and taught me skills that I now use within and beyond the classroom. Because of our department’s academic standards, each of my classes required high level strategic thinking, clear writing, precise claims, and relevant evidence. By completing an honors thesis, I learned how to enter critical discourse, analyzing previous research trends to develop original interpretations of texts.

My English major provided a strong foundation for my academic and professional future. I recently completed a doctorate in British and Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame, and am currently teaching Irish literature there. In addition to teaching, I work in academic advancement, where I assist faculty members in designing grant proposals for benefactors and foundations. While obtaining my degree, I also served as a corporate communications consultant in the energy sector. In each of these roles, the ability to write, organize, and construct an effective argument has been a crucial skill that helped me to distinguish myself. In my spare time, I serve as a mentor in the PEN America Prison Writing Program, carrying on this tradition of instructional excellence for those who may not otherwise have access to it.

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