Numerous surveys of employers indicate that companies of all kinds want to hire people with excellent communication skills.
“It’s self-evident to me that if you cannot communicate well through writing, you probably cannot communicate well orally, either,” says Karl Elder, the college’s Fessler Professor of Creative Writing and Poet in Residence who has been at Lakeland for 34 years. “I’ve had people (in hiring positions) tell me, ‘Give me somebody who can write!’ We prepare our students here well.”
If you’re wondering what kind of career you can pursue after majoring in writing, Elder has a passionate response: “When a parent asks me, ‘What can my son or daughter do with a writing degree?’ I say, ‘Any freaking thing they want!’ You can go into just about anything. Writing provides tremendous preparation.”
The writing major has been a staple at Lakeland for more than three decades, and Elder points out that recent graduates from the program enjoy careers in advertising, newspaper journalism, teaching at all levels, computer programming, corporate training, law, counseling, radio, industrial intel, information analysis and many more fields.
“I hate to sound obnoxious,” Elder says. “But you will develop your consciousness here.”
Elder likes how his friend, a professor in the southern U.S., responded when asked why she writes. “She said, ‘Because it makes me a better person.’ I identify with that,” Elder says with a smile.
Lakeland’s experienced writing staff takes great pride in working one-on-one with all students. While the primary instructors are well-versed in all facets of the written word, Elder is a national award-winning poet while Jeff Elzinga is a fiction and film expert and Nathan Lowe specializes in creative non-fiction.
“We give our students a real taste of everything they need,” says Elder. “When our students leave this institution, they will be fundamentally sound.”
Writing Major (42 semester hours)
- Three semester hours in one or a combination of the following:
- WRT 110 The Spectrum Practicum (1 semester hour per term)
- WRT 210 The Mirror Practicum (1 semester hour per term)
- WRT 400 Internship in Writing
- WRT 115 Writing in the Genres
- WRT 150 Computer Design/Adobe InDesign for the PC
- WRT 215 Fiction Writing
- WRT 220 Poetry Writing
- WRT 240 Nonfiction Writing
- WRT 300 Advanced Composition (Writing Intensive)
- WRT 470 Senior Project in Writing
- Four additional writing (WRT) courses, of which at least two are 300-level or above
- Two English (ENG) courses, of which at least one is 300-level or above
Note: Students may minor in either writing or communication, but not both.
Listed below are just some of the careers Lakeland College writing students from recent graduating classes have landed:
- Research librarian, Homeland Security
- U.S. Department of Energy information specialist
- Teacher of English, Korea
- Teacher of English, China
- Media relations specialist, Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
- Literacy tutor, AmeriCorps
- Writing/English tutor, Bay de Noc Community College
- Master’s program, environmental writing, University of Montana; writer/editor/research intern, Glacier Institute
Listed below are some of the internships Lakeland College writing students have landed during their stay at Lakeland:
- Great Lakes Writers Festival - Sheboygan, Wis.
- New Season Community Church - Belgium, Wis.
- SEEMS literary magazine - Sheboygan, Wis.
- Statesman Publications - Kewaskum, Wis.
Name: Jessica Lillie
Hometown: Fox Lake, Ill.
Title: Content specialist
Business: U.S. Department of Homeland Security
She lives and works in one of the most beautiful cities in the United States, but Jessica’s love for her alma mater runs deep. So deep, she says, she’d leave Monterey, Calif., and return to Sheboygan, Wis., in a heartbeat.
“My dream job is to work for Lakeland College,” says the 2010 graduate. “I feel it’s unfair that Lakeland did so much for me, and I haven’t given back. It’s hard to describe the greatness of Lakeland College, unless you’ve been there. It’s not a school, it’s a community. It’s like living in a house, with your family.”
As a content specialist, Jessica collects all sorts of documentation and information and puts it into the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s digital library. This information can vary widely, from congressional research reports or hearings transcripts to World Health Organization reports on evacuation plans and bovine diseases.
Prior to this job, Jessica completed a term of service working with fourth-graders as a literacy tutor for AmeriCorps, a U.S. government community service organization.
Jessica fueled her creative nature in multiple ways while at Lakeland. She served as editor of the Lakeland College Mirror newspaper, and won a Society of Professional Journalists regional award for a political cartoon drawing. She was an assistant editor for Seems, an international literary magazine published at Lakeland, and her budding musical career blossomed at Lakeland.
“When I was at Lakeland, if I could get involved, if I could jump into something creative, I was doing it,” Jessica says.
Jessica loved Lakeland from the moment she stepped foot on campus, for her initial tour.
“It’s just such a welcoming place,” she says. “Lakeland was hugely influential in my life. The professors were top-notch, always so helpful. Everyone there is always so willing to help you succeed.”
Writing at Lakeland
Students who major in writing will:
- Understand the key terms, histories, forms and structures of several significant genres of writing
- Have the confidence to present their writing within various genres clearly and professionally
- Use language and literary devices in creative and unique ways
- Work both independently and within a community of writers