words from our current and former students

Tatianna Williams: Class of 2016

Tatianna W

My time in the LCS program was phenomenal. Frankly, I don’t think words can describe how important LCS has been to my academic, professional, and personal success, both at Bryant and since I have graduated. (But I’ll try to find the right words anyway.)

It starts with our amazing faculty. They are the most dedicated and devoted teachers, mentors, and leaders I’ve ever met. They give their all in the classroom, and then they give some more. The connections I’ve made with our LCS faculty (with professors whose classes I’ve never even taken!) have opened so many doors for me. They’ve helped me find and land internships at local art magazines, like Headmaster; professional experiences like student editing for the Bryant Literary Review; opportunities for publication in the BLR and Bryant Arts & Sciences Magazine; and most importantly, they’ve fostered my incredible growth.

What’s more, our professors bring magic into the classroom. Regardless of the area of study—whether it’s Africana/black studies; creative writing; women, gender, and sexuality studies; or literature (to name a few)—our professors have incredible insight and knowledge that they are determined to gift to each student by the end of the semester. This enthusiasm paired with the important content of each course makes LCS classes exceptional; they are always a fun, challenging, and stimulating experience.

The skills I’ve gained from being an active part of the LCS program are innumerable. From independent thinking and critique to effective communication, LCS affords each student the opportunity to sharpen the transferable skills that produce ingenuity and excellence.

Since graduation, I’ve worked part-time with contacts from my past LCS internships on new projects, and I’ve started an amazing full-time position in higher ed. My experience in the LCS program was the very best part of my Bryant education, and while leaving was bittersweet, I’ve got the best preparation in the world for what lies ahead.

Brendan Miller-Radest– Class of 2016LinkedIn Profile

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
Concentrations in Finance & Applied Analytics
Minor in Literary and Cultural Studies
Bryant University Applied Analytics Center Associate

Job after graduation: Bank of America’s Global Risk Management Team, NYC.

Similar to most, I was skeptical at first as to why someone majoring in business would need to minor in liberal arts or vice versa. I quickly learned throughout my experience at Bryant that my Literary and Cultural Studies minor went beyond the numbers, theories and textbooks typically associated with business classes.  My LCS courses added color and a dimension of creativity/social understanding that, coupled with my major in business, provided me with the necessary critical thinking skills to move forward into the real world with confidence.


Laura Sprague — Class of 2016laura

Changing my major to Literary and Cultural Studies (LCS) during my Sophomore year at Bryant was the best academic decision I have made throughout my time here. My interest in the department grew quickly after taking a few courses in creative writing, poetry, community engagement and service learning, anthropology, and women/gender/sexuality. These courses each had a direct impact on my my quality of life at school, my outlook on my community and the world, and where my dreams expanded to. They stood out to me for a few very distinct reasons: (1) The faculty who taught the courses were more passionate, engaging, and personally supportive than I could have ever expected from any college professors. They were honest, compassionate, and invested into the students’ success. (2) The course curriculum extended far beyond the classroom. It was not composed of just arbitrary theory, abstract thought, or “busy work.” I found that nearly everything that these courses exposed me to was applicable and visible in my everyday life. The words, concepts, theories, and ideas that were exchanged among my peers and professors were living all around me. (3) I have never felt more valued and powerful in an educational setting than I was in these classrooms, in meetings with professors, and in discussion with like-minded students.

Since I switched my major to LCS, my mind has expanded and my horizons have broadened. I have written poetry, memoirs, fictional short stories, and research papers that have encompassed more material than I ever could’ve imagined myself finding. I have completed courses in discourse analysis, women’s studies, sexuality and culture, art and creativity, philosophy, and more.

The connections I’ve made in the department allowed me invaluable opportunities: being a student editor for the Bryant Literary Review, participating in department-shaping discussion with faculty and administration, and now completing my own research on subjects of my choosing in a directed study titled “Pedagogical Strategies for Teaching Diversity: A History and Future for Gender and Sexual Identity Education.” My studies have included studying in Australia and New Zealand during the Sophomore International Experience, and have now led me to a position with a reputable Rhode Island newspaper publisher as an Editorial Intern.

I cannot overstate the impact that the this academic path has had on me. Studying Literary and Cultural Studies is allowing me to experience the best of both worlds: doing what I love in and out of the classroom and gaining the tools and knowledge I need to shape my future with it.

 Jon Skaza — Class of 2015

headAs a person who tends to gravitate toward quantitative courses, I think it is somewhat ironic that I found my LCS courses at Bryant to be some of the most useful in terms of piquing my intellectual curiosity. In particular, I am happy that I chose to include two Visual Studies courses as part of my degree program. In addition to providing the ancillary benefit of preparing me to answer obscure art history trivia questions, I truly believe that the courses in Visual Studies helped hone my critical thinking skills. I enjoyed engaging in the process of being presented with a never-before-seen visual image, analyzing that image by placing it in an historical and social context, and determining how to best articulate my emotions and reactions. I think repeating this sort of process time and time again in my Visual Studies courses played a role in shaping my strong interest in data visualization—a field that blends art and subjectivity with my quantitative interests. My exposure to Visual Studies has aided me in terms of both the creation and critical analysis of data-driven visuals—two tasks that are very common in my role as a graduate student in Biostatistics. I am grateful that the Bryant curriculum placed such an emphasis on developing interdisciplinary scholarship.

Estefania Vale –Class of 2016Estafaniaimage1

I was put in an art history class by accident by my advisor and I was not interested  in the history of art until the class began. The passion that our professor portrays for all these artworks and artists makes this class intriguing. Knowing about art and its history is important. I am currently interning in a management consulting firm and in the office there are various Impressionist paintings. Knowing these things have helped me start various conversations and help me establish relationships with certain people, like a senior partner in the company I am currently interning in. I highly suggest studying art history if you want to differentiate yourself from a normal business student. Expand your boundaries and explore that art world for a change: it will show much more than you ever imagined.


kylaKyla Briggs– Class of 2013

Once I graduated Bryant I immediately began working as a Technical Sales Representative for Merrell Footwear covering the New England territory. My main responsibility was to educate retail associates on Merrell footwear/apparel and new technologies. This was accompished through account visits and clinics to generate brand awareness and arm retail associates with the knowledge necessary to sell Merrell product.

Another important aspect of my job was to provide feedback and research from the field at the retail level to corporate Marketing, Product, and Sales departments and ensure advertising and marketing campaigns were aligned with retailers through all channels of distribution. It was in this area of my job where my LCS education was crucial to my success. Every week I was responsible for compiling an in depth report of what I saw in the field. My writing skills got me noticed by the Key Account Manager for Macy’s Department Stores and I was chosen to execute an independent project on the West Coast analyzing the Macy’s Merrell Men’s business. This then led to my promotion as the Merrell Sales Representative in Upstate New York which is now my current position.

My LCS classes at Bryant not only showed me new and innovative ways of looking at the world, but  provided me with the excellent writing and analytic skills that I use at my job everyday.

TS2286f8cTsutomu Brelsford– Class of 2013

I am currently working as part of the Rhode Island International Film Festival as an office manager. The organization is a non-profit organization which means I’m wearing plenty of hats from supervising interns, working on our communication and planning for events. This is my second year here, and I’ve had the opportunity to really thing bigger picture in terms of organizational structure, understanding systems and (slowly) developing a critical eye for visual arts.  Literary and Cultural Studies has been the basis for my pursuit in nonprofit marketing; it has given me the discipline to complete projects, and has helped me organize processes and information, although it has taken self-study to apply it.

Lauren Ransom- Class of 2013Lauren Ransom
I have used my Marketing degree to be a Marketing and Recruiting Specialist. I essentially find and contact candidates for jobs, interview them, and work with our client companies to get them placed there. I do all of the social media marketing for the company as well.  I use LCS classes in my work life all of the time. I’m constantly thinking of cultural studies and what I’ve learned about feminism/gender norms. My company is a small woman-owned firm, so it’s interesting to see how many people call looking for the business owner and assume it is a man. We try to work with people from all kinds of backgrounds, and we see racism sometimes from our clients. They sometimes stray away from candidates with not “traditional American” names or if they have accents. It’s ridiculous and discouraging.  After work, I am a book blogger! I write book reviews online and have a pretty decent following at this point. It’s a lot of fun and allows me to actively engage that part of my life when I can’t as often during work.

Natalie Donoyan — Class of 2013  nat d.
The LCS classes were some of my favorite classes at Bryant. Majoring in business and minoring in liberal arts really allowed me to expand my knowledge outside the business spectrum of things. Being able to understand and interpret art was one of my favorite things to do. I’ve always had a creative side of me and the art classes with Professor Coughlin were not only informative, but also full of new ways to visualize the outside world.

 

 

Nicholas Mancuso–Class of 2012nick

Since graduating with my major in ECS from Bryant in 2012, I’ve followed my goals of becoming a writer, and pursued my literary dreams. This past July, I completed an MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University. Since graduating, I’ve been living the writing life; I’ve had work published in the Rhode Island Small Business Journal, Spry Literary Journal, Rhode Island Monthly Magazine, and the Garbanzo Literary Journal. I’m in process of working on a novel, (my master’s thesis) which I expect to be sending out to agencies starting in late fall. The critical component of my thesis was deep analysis of characterization in Ian McEwan’s fiction.

My ECS classes formed the foundation of my education, without classes like Fiction Writing Workshop, Impressionism & Post-Impressionism, and the Senior Seminar in ECS, I wouldn’t have had the skills requisite of my advanced study, and my life as a writer now. I’d also formed some amazing relationships with faculty members who have proven to be lifelong mentors and friends, faculty members like Professor Coughlin, Professor Kuhlman, Professor Dean, and Professor Prescott.

Courtney Landi– Class of 2012

Upon graduating from Bryant University in 2012 with a double major in English and Cultural Studies, and Communication, I began to pursue a career in Publicity at Penguin Random House.  Beginning at the Intern level and working my way up to my current position as an Associate Publicist for the Berkley and NAL imprints, I truly feel that my time at Bryant prepared me well—from the fundamental business principles integral to the understanding of any corporate setting, to the more creative and introspective world of literature, to the imperative writing and communication skills necessary to effectively represent myself and my work.
The English and Cultural Studies department at Bryant feels more like a family than a mere institution.  Our professors quickly became our friends and mentors, and continue to provide support and guidance even as the years pass.  The faculty is personally invested in helping you reach your goals, whatever they may be, professionally and creatively.  It was this unflagging support, coupled with insightful and enthusiastic teaching, which provided me with the tools to succeed in the publishing industry—where I set out to be.

 

Kevin Javier – Class of 2012

I have found the LCS courses at Bryant University to be among the most beneficial to me as a student. Not only did these courses encourage my creativity, but they challenged me to become a more effective writer. The writing and reading elements of the LCS curriculum can be interrelated with many other subjects throughout the schools of Business and Liberal Arts. In my experience, I have successfully completed the courses of LCS 121, 151, 242, and 470. I have enjoyed the Literary Cultural Studies department so much that I have declared it as my minor. I feel it is important, especially for a business or professional school, to produce students who are competent in their writing skills. Success in the areas of reading and writing, which includes comprehension as much as it does grammar, is certainly a necessary foundation for any entrepreneur or businessman to have. LCS has been a major factor in my continued success at Bryant University, especially in courses such as BUS 101, Management 200, CIS 201, and Accounting 204.

Melanie Schleeweis-Connor — Class of 2011

In many ways, the Literary and Cultural Studies courses at Bryant have served as a sort of lifeline for me. Originally, they kept my interest when the personal decision to transfer seemed like my only option. The intrigue of opportunity in a constantly expanding and evolving department was too much to deny. Defying the odds at a university of this genre, the LCS students and professors have created a personalized and passionate environment in which to thrive. While I highly value my business backbone, literary and cultural studies appeal to my interests in a way that was simply not being fulfilled before. At each new class registration, I bristle with excitement at the ever-increasing array of options and consider myself lucky to be witnessing the birth of a visual studies curriculum.

The LCS courses have not only played a central role in my academic interests at Bryant, but have empowered me to look elsewhere and actively pursue my own education. I spent a semester abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France walking the streets with a craned neck in awe of new-found inspiration. Informed by my literary and cultural classes, the skyline seemed to spell out Cubist theory, the colors of the ochre soil and cerulean sky explained the Provençal pallette, and the effects of the southern sun were on the minds of artist and appreciator alike.

The possibilities have been infinite. In a time of revolution for Bryant University, the LCS department has been receptive to the interests and expertise of both the professors and the students. This collaborative atmosphere has also allowed me to work on the development of an Open Reading and Writing Lab, dedicated to the improvement of critical reading skills for a better comprehension of materials and the development of informed essays. Offering an alternative to strictly business writing and thought processes, I lend instruction to other students interested in improving these skills and hopefully provide them with the sort of inspiration and motivation that attracted me. Given my experiences and those of my fellow classmates, it appears that the Literary and Cultural Studies department  truly does produce independent thinkers.

Alissa Foley – Class of 2010

It has been my understanding that part of the appeal of Bryant University is the opportunity to have a multi-disciplinary education – a balance between Business and the Arts and Sciences. This so-called balance has held a decidedly business-minded bias for some time, which, I admit, makes sense considering Bryant’s long history as a college of business. However, the fairly recent establishment of Bryant as a full-fledged university has provided the opportunity for a number of academic disciplines within the College of Arts & Sciences to expand. Indeed, I have had the pleasure of watching the Literary and Cultural Studies (LCS) department grow over the course of my academic career; in turn, the department has served as a catalyst in my own personal and academic growth.

First, I must acknowledge the fact that I do not fall within the lines of the majority here at Bryant: this May I will graduate with a B.A. in Literary & Cultural Studies. And while I have been a student in the College of Arts & Sciences for these past four years, I have taken a somewhat indirect route to get to this point.

It is a surprise for some to learn that I had majored in Applied Actuarial Mathematics for my first two years at Bryant prior to making the decision to switch to LCS. For those who understand what actuaries do, my choice sounds even more drastic. I had crossed between two disciplines traditionally viewed as opposites, fully aware that I was giving up a path that would have surely led to a secure, high-paying job in the insurance industry. The inevitable question, then, came from all sides, including my own mind: “What are you going to do with a literary degree?” It was at least a semester before I began coming up with answers, the first of which was: “I’m going to be happy.” And as clichéd as it sounds, it has been true.

Throughout these past two years I have enjoyed taking a wide array of courses that fall within the jurisdiction of the LCS department. These courses have encouraged me to think critically, and to synthesize the ideas and concepts introduced in various other courses. There is something I find both fantastic and fascinating in being able to make connections between courses such as Early American Literature, Sexuality & Culture, and Emily Dickinson. Other courses, such as the Poetry Writing Workshop, have encouraged me to bring my writing out beyond my comfort zone, and to look at my writing with a more critical eye. In addition, these courses have forced me to truly own the material through a heavy emphasis on class discussion, and also by requiring me to write original theses and make presentations on an equally wide array of themes and concepts.

Slowly, new possibilities and answers to that nagging question have emerged. I am now preparing to pursue a path in Museum Studies. I have already gained some museum experience in my Senior Practicum course, which I am fulfilling as an intern at a local art museum. I also have the alternative option of a career in journalism, as I also hold an internship at a local business newspaper. Having multiple options is, I admit, a refreshing thought for someone like me, who began in a discipline designed to prepare me for one career. Now, thanks to the Literary and Cultural Studies program and the support and guidance of the department faculty, I have possibilities to keep me occupied (and happy) for quite a long time.

Linsey Morse – Class of 2010

The LCS courses at Bryant University have truly enriched my undergraduate education. These courses have done so much more for me than I ever have expected. LCS courses are vital to one’s success in the business world—this is because the capability to express oneself clearly and creatively is attractive to any employer or graduate school. For me, Bryant’s LCS courses have guided me, unexpectedly, to a new chapter in my own life, and a new potential career path involving creative writing and literary arts. As I graduate from Bryant this spring, I will be pursuing a graduate degree in Creative Writing, and I have never been more excited by any prospect.

As a Professional and Creative Writing Minor, I have had the privilege to take many of the LCS courses that Bryant has to offer.  LCS courses have provided me with an outlet for expression that opened my mind in a very different way than other classes.  I have learned so much of diversity, of character and of myself through literary and cultural studies, and have no doubt that future generations of students will benefit similarly from their experiences with such courses.

“The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean,” remarked Robert Louis Stevenson.  The duration of my time taking LCS courses at Bryant has not only taught me to marvel at the intricacies of the written word, but to produce effective writing to convey my own meanings. The skills I have learned, I will carry with me throughout all of my future endeavors.

Matthew Veves —  Class of 2010

Even as a business major, I have found great value in my LCS courses at Bryant. These classes have helped me to be much more articulate in my ideas and precise in my word choice, which are valuable skills in any marketplace. However, there may be something even more important than simply building proficiency in the English language. Having an appreciation for literature helps build depth of character, and it is character which sets apart the top performers in any discipline.

Gergely Nemeth – Class of 2009

As a recent Bryant graduate, I just finished my first semester of graduate school in marketing at Duke, and what an experience it has been. I am writing to you to describe the ways that Bryant LCS courses prepared me to succeed in graduate school. The Visual Culture course I took at Bryant was essential not only to my marketing education, but to my success in graduate school; I am primarily thinking of the writing skills and visual evaluation methods that we discussed during the course.  I would love to see more marketing majors rounding out their education through taking classes like this, where skills that set a Bryant graduate above the average can be learned such as better presentation skills and polished writing. The course also complimented Professor Yoon’s Advertising Management class perfectly, which allowed me to get more out of both. With the job market this tough, and marketing graduates competing with communication and other liberal arts majors, Bryant student could benefit greatly from leveraging its currently available resources.

Ryan Cipriano – Class of 2009

As a high school senior who was accepted to Bryant University, my interest in the business world greatly overshadowed my curiosities in English or creative writing.  As I pursued my accounting degree, however, it became apparent that the Literary and Cultural Studies program at Bryant University was well-designed to both pique my creative inklings and prepare me for many different professions.  The world revolves around more than just Dollars, Euros, and Yuan; culture and the written word are equally important global assets that Bryant does well to introduce to its students.

My love story with creative writing found its genesis with Tom Chandler’s poetry courses.  With the workshop format Professor Chandler has created in his courses, I received instant feedback as to how my words and ideas were interpreted by my peers.  Taking what I learned from those workshops to heart, I would apply the critiques to my poems, and even take extra care when drafting memos or letters at the regional accounting firm where I was an intern.  I would receive positive comments on my work throughout my semesters on-the-job, and I credit the practice I received in Professor Chandler’s classrooms for helping me receive such feedback.

In the time since I have graduated from Bryant University, I have continued to use the tools I sharpened in my Literary and Cultural Studies classes in conjunction with the business skills to which I was introduced.  I have been featured in local newspapers and on National Public Radio for my poetry, and I consider those collective appearances as an asset and competitive edge as I perform and communicate my ideas daily in the meetings and conferences.  Bryant University provides the resources necessary to grow into a well-balanced person, and its LCS program did well to help me embrace the creative tendencies inherent within.

Ryan Daley, Class of 2008

LCS courses were some of the most challenging and worthwhile courses I took while studying at Bryant University and not surprisingly, studying literary and cultural studies has certainly helped me in my career and personal life. As an accountant, it’s not all that dry or black and white as many people believe—superior communication and analytical talents are imperative to a healthy and successful career. In my experience, LCS courses cultivated those essential skills considerably through exceptional professors and the challenging curriculum. The materials in the courses exposed me to authors, genres, concepts, and disciplines of which I was extremely unfamiliar, but find myself frequently referencing today as extraneous commonalities that work as great conversations-starters, and in effect help to not only improve relationships, but also build my professional network.

kimberKimber Connors– Class of 2008

Bryant’s LCS department was an essential part of my development as a critical thinker. As an accounting major with a passion for equity and writing, I found myself at home in LCS coursework, particularly under the advisement of Professor Martha Kuhlman. Professor Kuhlman oversaw my senior honors thesis during which I studied the discrepancy between the marketing and manifestation of diversity on Bryant’s campus. With her guidance and support, I developed essential research and writing skills that have served me well in my career since graduation. Additionally, the project provided the groundwork for my understanding of the intersection between education and racism and classism.

Following my undergraduate work, I joined Teach For America and taught elementary school for three years. After leaving the classroom, I completed a Master’s in Education Policy from the University of Washington and am now working as a policy consultant to several education organizations. The research and communication skills I developed during my LCS coursework and honors thesis in the department have been critical to my success as a professional. My senior honors thesis in the department directed the course of my career toward social justice and equity.

Jim Zocco – Class of 2008

Being only a couple of years out of college and in the work force, I commonly take time to evaluate my life and what I have learned. While at Bryant I assumed, like most do, that everything I would need for my career would come from my core business classes.  Now I see that the qualities my company values the most are those attained in other courses.

Literary studies helped me gain new perceptions and taught me to view life from all angles.  Sometimes one must step back and change the angle of the lens and literary studies gave me the tools to change my view.  Many of the tools I utilize every day in the workplace didn’t come from my accounting or finance classes but instead, my literary courses.  One of my best traits is my verbal commutations skill.  I learned how to express what I am really thinking while sitting around in open forum talking about different perspectives on life.  Learning how to articulate my thoughts has helped with clearing up any issues of confusion at work.

While growing up I always found difficulty with reading and writing. Taking classes such as poetry  took me out of my comfort zone and made me try something different.  Having to read my poems in front of my classmates for their input seemed like a nightmare at first, but became easier with time.  Poetry not only taught how to accept constructive criticism, but also give it.  Today I am asked to review projects where I must give my peers constructive criticism on their work – a trait strongly valued not only in the classroom but throughout our careers.

Photo by Nathan Fried-Lipski.

Steven Proulx – Class of 2005

In today’s business world, it is easy to take for granted many of the critical skills that employers look for in their employees.  Regardless of work background, the need for being able to understand a problem, analyze it and disseminate a solution in a clear and concise manner is universal.  During my time at Bryant University, coursework in the English & Cultural Studies Department has enhanced my ability to tackle this need and has been a tremendous asset to my growth as an employee.

In my professional experience I have found that employers are not just looking for someone who can perform the tasks outlined in their job description.  They are looking for employees who provide added value to their organization in areas such as creative thinking, professional writing and the ability to work seamlessly in a team.  The courses I took within the English & Cultural Studies Department helped personally strengthen these areas.  They also provided me with tangible qualities such as confidence in presenting my thoughts and ideas and the ability to successfully present information orally.  Overall, I feel that my coursework in the English & Cultural Studies Department has provided me with valuable experience and has had a positive effect on my continued professional development.

Miriam R. Perry- Class of 2001

My Bryant education has turned out to be far more valuable than I had expected. I was a part-time student, working during the day and taking classes at night. My goal was to receive a general business education so that I could have the flexibility to pursue whichever career paths interested me over the years. I knew I wasn’t a one-career kind of person, so I wanted to be suitably prepared. When I learned about the English concentration, I was intrigued. I had always wanted to be a writer, but I wondered at the strength of an English program at a business school, as Bryant was known back when I was a student. What a delightful surprise that turned out to be!

The English department professors and curriculum challenged me intellectually and opened my eyes to a new way of parsing the world around me. On a professional level, the combination of a business background and an English concentration gave me steady footing with the high-level managers and C-level executives I’ve worked with in my marketing communication roles. Now that I’m a freelance communications professional, I appreciate more than ever my ability to apply my creative talents within a practical business framework.

 

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