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English & Philosophy Student & Alumni Stories

Sarah Goldberg, BA English '21

Drexel University English Student Sarah Goldberg

Degree: BA English '21
Research Interests: 20th-century American literature, sociolinguistics, and women in fiction
Extracurricular Activities: Involvement with the Drexel Writing Festival
Awards: Dean’s List, 2017-Present, Ralph C. Most Memorial Scholarship

Tell us about your recent courses or experiences in your major.
Some of the most interesting English courses I’ve taken in the past few terms have been 19th-century American Poetry and The Brontës in 1847. I also completed an internship in publishing a few months ago, which is a hybrid between a course and an internship. The Brontës class and the poetry class were especially interesting because of the amount of time we were able to spend with individual pieces and authors. They were both special topics courses, which I personally enjoy because they allow for a greater level of depth and specificity in a given area.

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Samantha Johnson, BA English '21

Drexel English student Samantha Johnson

Degree: BA English ’21
Concentration: Literary Studies
Research Interests: African American diaspora in the incarceration system; “Is America in a new Jim Crow era?”; how segregation has surpassed the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s
Co-ops: Lindy Scholars Program Assistant, Lindy Center for Civic Engagement; Test Development Service Assistant/Editorial Production Assistant, National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME)
Extracurricular Activities: President, Multicultural Greek Council; Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.; Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity; CoAS Student Advisory Board; Advisor, Lindy Scholars
Awards: Ralph Most Memorial Scholarship (2017); Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellow (2019)

What have been some of the most important elements of your experiences as an English major?
My newfound ability able annotate non-literary texts and write research papers about non-English specific topics has become extremely important to me. Before the start of college, I believed that I would be focusing most of my time annotating literature. But during my time here, I’ve annotated and written research papers of texts from various disciplines. I’m now able to write about sociological theories and apply them to literature as well as the world today.

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Gabrielle Werner, BA English '21, Honors Program

Drexel University English Student Gabrielle Werner

Degree: BA English '21
Certificate: Writing and Publishing
Co-ops: Office Manager, Art Sphere Inc.; User Success Coordinator, Springboard Collaborative
Extracurricular Activities: Concert band flutist
Awards: Performing Arts Scholarship; AJ Drexel Scholarship; College Bowl Grant; published in The 33rd

Tell us about your recent co-op.
I am currently doing my second co-op, and I love it so far! I work at Springboard Collaborative as the User Success Coordinator. The company organizes reading programs for schools, and I work on the systems team — not a very English major-y job, but it aligns with my personal interests, and I'm learning so much about technical work in a real job environment. We’re very busy supporting the sites that have started summer programming, and though the work is stressful and high-stakes, I thoroughly enjoy what I’m doing.

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Heather Heim, BA English + MS Communication '20

Drexel University English Student Heather Heim

Degree: BA English & MS Communication ’20
Concentration: Technical Communication
Minor: French
Co-ops: Digital Projects Co-op, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine; Technical Writer, Oracle
Extracurricular Activities: Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity; Peer Reader/Peer Lead, Drexel Writing Center; Copy Editor, The Smart Set
Awards: Grand Prize, Literature Essay Contest (2019); Social Sciences 1st Place, Drexel Publishing Group Essay Contest Award (2019); GE College Bowl Scholarship (2018); Humor 2nd Place, Writing Festival Creative Writing Award (2017); Social Sciences 2nd Place, Drexel Publishing Group Essay Contest Award (2017); 3rd Place, Literature Essay Contest, 3rd place (2017); Ralph C. Most Memorial Scholarship (2016)

What has been the most important element of your experience as an English major?
My work as a peer reader at the Drexel Writing Center has been the most significant element. Our weekly reading, writing and discussion at the center — focusing on writing center theory, anti-racist pedagogy, and other relevant topics — has been some of the most challenging and engaging work I've done.

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Niayla-Dia Murray, BA Philosophy & BA Political Science ’20

Drexel Political Science and Philosophy Student Niayla-Dia Murray

Degree: BA Philosophy & BA Political Science ’20
Concentration: Philosophy & Law
Co-op: Paralegal Assistant/Researcher, Chimicles Schwartz Kriner and Donaldson-Smith
Extracurricular activities: Vice President of the Drexel Mock Trial Association
Awards: Liberty Scholar, Jamie B. Fields Memorial Scholarship, Her Campus 22 Under 22 Awardee

How did you initially choose your philosophy major? And why did you choose to add a political science major?

I knew in the long run I wanted to go to law school, but I did not want my undergraduate studies to completely revolve around that goal. Prior to college, I deemed myself a good problem solver and a very curious person. I wanted a field of study that would fuel my curious nature — one that would allow me to ask as many questions as I’d like, but also apply what I’m learning to modern day issues. After researching majors, I decided to major in philosophy and see if I liked it. It turns out that I absolutely love my major.

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Kyle Howey, BA English '19

Drexel University English Student Kyle Howey

Degree: BA English '19
Research Interests: Creative writing, publishing, editing, screenwriting/film, game design
Co-ops: Employee Benefits Co-op, Conner Strong & Buckelew
Extracurricular Activities: The Triangle; Drexel Writers Room
Awards: Drexel University Dean's List

Tell us about your recent courses, trips and/or co-ops.
During my junior year, I was offered a co-op position at the health insurance brokerage Conner Strong & Buckelew, where I was able to learn and adapt to an entirely new environment. Though it was an office job, with a communications focus, in a field of work that is vastly different than many of my interests, I was still able to navigate and apply myself where I felt most useful. My writing, editing and determination helped me find and develop a role for my abilities on co-op.

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Paul Carrion, BA Philosophy '16

Drexel University Philosophy Alumni Paul Carrion

Degree: BA Philosophy '16
Research Interests: Personhood, Theories of Time, Philosophy of Religion, Existentialism
Co-ops: Public Policy Analyst, Committee of Seventy
Extracurricular Activities: Drexel Kendo, Lemon League in association with Alex’s Lemonade Stand
Awards: Cum Laude, Drexel Philosophy Award, Drexel Philosophy Second Honors, Drexel University Dean’s List

Why Philosophy?
I chose philosophy as my undergraduate major for two primary reasons. First, I wanted to make sense of my wartime experiences. Second, I knew that philosophy was the best degree to obtain, not just in general, but for preparing for a career as an attorney. I am incredibly grateful for the professors and fellow students for enriching my mind, reasoning my way through my military experience, and for teaching me to never settle for appearances.

Anthony Harrison, BA Philosophy, ’11

Anthony Harrison, BA Philosophy, '11

Anthony Harrison graduated with a philosophy degree from Drexel University in 2011. His focus was predominately in social and political philosophy, studying the work of John Rawls, amongst others. This background and predisposition led him to an exciting graduate program at Northeastern University in Boston. While pursuing his master's degree in law and public policy, Harrison discovered that his primary motivation was not in writing policy, but in developing and executing strategies to measure the impact of public policy initiatives through a variety of statistical and sampling techniques.

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Alisa Melekhina, BA Philosophy, ’11

This article originally appeared in the annual College of Arts and Sciences Ask Magazine. Photo by Caroline Kaye

Alisa Melekhina, BA Philosophy, '11

Most first graders are only just beginning to master the skills of reading, writing and arithmetic — but not Alisa Melekhina. By the age of 7, Melekhina had not only competed in the World Open for chess — a game that requires astute calculation and strategy well beyond the years of most first graders — she had also authored an English translation of a popular Russian fairytale (at the age of 6!). As if that’s not impressive enough, the now 24-year-old attorney went on to receive a full ride to Drexel and graduate in just two years. The astounding timeline of this accomplished alumna is enough to make even the most industrious of us feel like an underachiever.

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