A headshot of Kathleen Rommel

Hometown: Fenwick Island, Delaware

Degree: English Master’s Degree (20th Century American Lit)

Current Employment: Director of Partnerships at Raising The Village, a nonprofit working in poverty alleviation in Uganda

What role has the English major played in your career path? Working at a small poverty-focused nonprofit means you have to be willing to live outside a routine. Some days I’m sitting in a thatched roof hut learning about rural access to childhood immunizations, some days I’m producing films about our program partners, and some days I’m writing grants to raise money for our work. But whether I’m balancing strategy, programs, fundraising, or marketing, all are driven by the goal of growing our impact, and over the years, I’ve found the best way to do that is by sharing the stories of the people we partner with in Uganda. This means I’m often relying on skills I fine-tuned during my time at Wake Forest: storytelling, writing, and building connections between minute details and broader themes. I regularly find myself synthesizing information quickly—taking in new experiences and trying to relate them to other people’s experiences—which is such a critical undercurrent of both literature and nonprofit work. Of course, knowing where to put a comma will always be helpful, but it’s literature’s broader commitment to humanity, perpetual learning, and connection that continues to meaningfully inform my career. There are certainly many paths to a career in international development, but I couldn’t be happier that my journey immersed me in literature in such a powerful and useful way.