Where can a degree in the humanities can take you?
We caught up with St. Edward's University alumni from the School of Arts and Humanities and asked them how their undergraduate education prepared them for their careers. You may be surprised by all of the places they ended up.
Kaci Beeler ’09, Art, co-founded American Berserk Theatre and the improv company Parallelogramophonograph in Austin. She is also an actor with TAG Talent Agency and a freelance artist.
“St. Edward’s had a reputation for small class sizes and professors who really cared about their students. This reputation was well-earned. The mix of practical skills, history, theory and socialization I encountered at St. Ed’s prepared me to bravely face the go-getter life of an artist and designer (not for the faint of heart). I can’t imagine facing my client projects without the knowledge and skills I gained at St. Edward’s. My work ethic and dedication to my craft are directly inspired by my time at St. Ed’s.”
Chelsea Elliott ’12, Communication, is founder and executive director of half Helen, which helps children in low-income schools see clearly by providing a mobile vision clinic that offers free eye exams and glasses.
“I enrolled at St. Edward’s wanting to learn how to tell stories, and my program and professors inspired, encouraged and taught me how to tell mine. Specifically, in Dr. Stephanie Martinez' Ethnography class, the assignment was to write an autoethnography, which is a self-reflection that connects to wider social, political and cultural themes. It was the hardest assignment I had. The paper forced me to reflect for the first time on the loss of my left eye, which was removed when I was in high school, and really feel the hurt that I had buried.
Dr. Martinez pushed me with every round of revisions, and my autoethnography assignment became the inspiration for starting half Helen, the nonprofit I now run alongside my team of four employees. I will forever be indebted to the university and Dr. Martinez for nurturing an environment where I felt safe to open up and tell my story and, later, to learn how powerful stories can be when it comes to generating support for a cause.”
Alyssa Hunt ’10, English Literature, is the program director at the New Jersey–based Alice Paul Institute, which educates the public about and continues the work of Alice Paul, a suffrage leader and author of the Equal Rights Amendment.
“Instructor of Writing and Rhetoric Beth Eakman told me once that the secret to success as a writer was to always say yes to tasks, and then to be willing to teach myself any skills I would need to accomplish them. This advice has carried me through being a pre-school teacher, a special-needs caregiver, a founding member of three arts-related non-profits, a circus producer, a chef, and now the program director at a women's history and leadership development organization housed in a National Historic Landmark. My professors showed me that success and achievement don't come in the form of pre-packaged ideas and models. Creative approaches, lateral engagement, and systems thinking allow you to find paths through even the densest and most complex obstacles in life, no matter what career you pursue.”
Gloria Gonzalez ’18, French, is an impact manager at City Year Providence, leading a team of AmeriCorps volunteers who are supporting the education of Spanish- and French-speaking youth in city schools
"Studying French at St. Edward’s gave me an opportunity to learn about language and culture through a social justice lens. Most of my classes went beyond understanding grammar and touched upon culturally relevant dilemmas all over the francophone world. My professors’ focus on African countries and North American French opened my eyes to the number of opportunities available through this language. This has led me down a path of language teaching and more recently has given me the opportunity to advocate for culturally and linguistically diverse learners in U.S. classrooms.”
Hanna King ’18, Graphic Design, is a custom sock designer at Sock Club, where she’s designed socks for clients including musical artists Billie Eilish and Paul McCartney and major companies such as Google, HEB and Facebook.
“I always knew I wanted to go into a creative field, and the classes and professors at St. Edward’s taught me to hone my design skills and focus on the areas I wanted to pursue. I was awarded the opportunity of a fellowship with one of my professors, Jimmy Luu, and that whole experience made me more passionate about my career goals as a graphic designer. I think back quite often to all of the skills I learned from college and how I still use them to this day, every day, at my job. I would not be so successful at Sock Club without my professors’ guidance and dedication.”
Luke Schubert ’18, Philosophy, is product development lead for the Open Forest Protocol, an open and accessible platform for monitoring, reporting, and verifying the entire lifecycle of a tree planting projects.
“St. Ed's is special for a lot of reasons, but something I really appreciated was the opportunity to truly connect with your professors. The smaller classes and amazing culture allow you to learn how to ask really good questions and not waste time when you're talking to someone who knows more than you! This is important in any business, and my philosophy degree helped equip me with the critical thinking and communication skills necessary to thrive in a constantly changing work environment.”
Joey Hadden ’19, Photocommunications, is a junior lifestyle reporter at Insider.
“Receiving criticism regularly in the Photocommunications program helped me let go of my pride and become a better photographer. My journalism professor Jena Heath helped me listen and write better while inspiring greatness. Her influence helped me realize I could be a leader. Editing at Hilltop Views taught me how to work with other people and finish something that felt so much bigger than me week after week.”
Religious and Theological Studies
“Throughout my Religious Studies courses, we were encouraged to read a wide range of theologians and philosophers. Through these experiences, I found my passion for interreligious dialogue and studying the world's religious traditions. This passion led me to write the curriculum for a world religions course that I was able to introduce into the theology program at St. Pius X High School. I now get to teach this information to my students and encourage them to appreciate and find beauty in diversity.”
Leslie De La Rosa ’12, Spanish, is a student completion specialist at South Texas College.
“Thinking back on my college years, I was often asked, ‘What are you going to do with a major in Spanish, teach?’ Yes, you can teach, but it also opened many other doors I did not know existed. During my time in and after St. Edward’s, I wrote for a Spanish-language newspaper, translated at a federal agency in D.C., and served students at an educational nonprofit. In all of these experiences my Spanish major was key. Although I grew up knowing Spanish, I had never been taught the grammar and syntax aspect of it. My Spanish major gave me the tools and confidence to apply the language skills I learned in a professional setting.”
Tyler Mount ’13, Theater Arts, is a Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award–winning Broadway producer and founder of Tyler Mount Ventures, a digital agency dedicated to providing support to some of the world’s most iconic thought leaders.
“Being exposed to the professionals in St. Edward's University’s union training program and having the chance to be employed alongside them prepared me to work on Broadway the day I graduated. As a member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union representing professional actors and stage managers, I entered the workforce with a huge advantage. I was able to work on five Broadway shows within my first four years in New York City.”
Video Game Development
Jackson Wagner ’21, Video Game Development, is the quality assurance lead at Worldwalker Games.
“My two main VGAM professors, Mr. [Robert Denton] Bryant and Dr. [Jeremy M.] Johnson, were integral to my getting a job so quickly. Mr. Bryant taught me the critical aspects of presenting myself in a professional manner, and Dr. Johnson helped me significantly improve my design skills. Anyone joining the video game development program at St. Edward's should know that they'll have professors who not only go the extra mile in teaching, but also genuinely care about their students' development and future.”
Writing & Rhetoric
Shelby Cole ’13, English Writing and Rhetoric, is the deputy chief marketing officer, digital content and creative, for the Democratic National Committee.
“My job at the Democratic National Committee is to publish compelling, engaging digital content across multiple social media platforms—including the political social media accounts for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris—that advances the message and priorities of the Democratic Party. My time at St. Edward's University prepared me for this job by honing my writing skills and cultivating my leadership skills in all of my on-campus activities.”