Rhetoric and Writing Career Opportunities

Rhetoric and writing studies students find employment in a variety of fields, including web authoring, copywriting, speech writing, technical writing, grant writing, science writing, journalism, teaching, law, government, and business. See how some of our graduates have put rhetoric and writing to work for them.

 

Petro   Brittney Petro
   Technical Writer, Stryker Medical
   2015 Graduate


 

I write to create quality content for a positive user and brand experience.

I didn’t know it at the time, but the rhetoric and writing studies program at WMU was the best major I could have selected to harness my natural talents and desire to produce quality writing. Each course in this program provided me with a well-rounded and unique experience that would guide me in the ultimate decision of choosing a compatible career. In my final semester at WMU, I interned at WOOD TV8, in Grand Rapids, as a digital content producer. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the news station, but knew it wasn’t the career path that I wanted to pursue. About three months after graduation, I accepted an offer from Stryker Medical as the lead technical writer for the EMS product line. In my new role on the content management team, I am responsible for the continuous improvement of our product documentation, converting and rewriting information into XML, and creating quality content that provides our customers with consistent, usable, reader-centered writing. The versatility of my degree gave me confidence that I would find the right career after college. I am incredibly thankful for my job and the invaluable skills I acquired through the rhetoric and writing studies program.

 

   Joe Silver
   Radio Promoter, Distiller Promo
   2015 Graduate


 

I write to engage with radio programmers and help recording artists reach their audiences.

As a Radio Promoter with Distiller Promo—a firm that distributes new music to college and non-commercial stations for airplay—I have the opportunity to combine my loves of writing and music. I write to manage its brand, engage with clients, and interact with stations. Effective communication empowers me to promote airplay and reach listener audiences. I also use my skills acquired at Western to communicate effectively over the phone, close sales, and formulate new marketing strategies as trends shift and as new ones emerge. The skills I use daily were honed through my employment at WIDR FM, as an on-air DJ and as its employed Music Director, as well as through my coursework. I was fortunate to discover the rhetoric and writing studies program early on, in its inaugural year. The wonderful professors were supportive of my interests and flexible with their curriculum. They ultimately led me to a memorable internship and guided me through my honors thesis project.

 

  Karen McPhail
  Quality Systems Technical Writer, Stryker Instruments
  2009 Graduate
 

 

I write to improve lives.

I came to the rhetoric and writing studies program at WMU as a non-traditional student, and it was quickly apparent to me that my professors took genuine interest in me and recognized my work experience and ideas. In the highly regulated medical technology industry, “if it isn’t written down, it isn’t happening.” As a Quality Systems Technical Writer for Stryker Instruments, my ultimate consumers are patients who receive life changing surgeries to relieve chronic pain and improve mobility. The care I provide them comes from documenting and supporting the myriad controls required to assure compliance, effectiveness, and efficiency in producing products that end up in surgery suites around the world. My WMU degree was the perfect complement to my chosen career, and gave me the expertise and credentials to become an important contributor at a company whose chief goal is to improve people’s lives. I could not be more thankful for my Bronco experience.

 

   Craig Manning
   Freelance Writer
   2013 Graduate


 

I write to help clients build their brands online.

I joined the rhetoric and writing studies program in the middle of my junior year, after a heartbreaking failure in my original major left me scrambling to find a backup plan. Despite the fact that I had spent two and a half years pursuing vocal music – a major that wasn’t related to English in any close fashion – I felt instantly at home in the rhetoric and writing program. My advisors were flexible in helping me navigate an entire English degree in a year and a half, but it was ultimately my professors, with their infinite wisdom and unending willingness to help, that truly allowed me to excel in my new major. Since graduation, I have pursued an entrepreneurial path, building a freelance career for myself out of a range of different writing pursuits. On one hand, I have continued to explore my love for the arts, interviewing well-known musicians and writing about albums, books, and films in a way that allows me to ignite conversations about the things I love. I have also utilized the skills I learned at Western to connect with clients and to help them establish themselves online through web content that is informative, accessible, and concise.

 

   Kimberly Smith Inniger
   Content Administrator, SAE International
   2015 Graduate


 

I write to facilitate the collaboration of the international engineering community.

The knowledge I gained through the rhetoric and writing studies program was integral to my success as a student at Western, and has continued to be beneficial to my endeavors post-graduation. My position as a Content Administrator at SAE International requires the editing, critical thinking, and reader-centered writing skills that I honed throughout my time within the program. As a Content Administrator, I am responsible for creating online and print content pertaining to the events SAE International has around the world for the automotive and aerospace engineering community, as well as facilitating the collecting, reviewing, and publishing of technical papers for these events. My training in rhetoric has given me an understanding of the importance of document design, which is essential when I am creating web and print content. The ample opportunity for collaborative work in my rhetoric courses has contributed greatly to my interpersonal skills and allows me to work confidently and efficiently with people from all over the world. I am immensely grateful for the professors I worked with throughout my degree who pushed me to my full potential as it has allowed me to flourish in my new career.

 

   John C. Scott
   Coordinator of Marketing and Public Relations, Western Michigan University
   2013 Graduate


 

I write to build relationships and connect community stakeholders.

Majoring in the rhetoric and writing studies program allowed me to explore a variety of professional writing styles and techniques, all while establishing and working to achieve my career goals. Each course presented unique challenges to overcome and opportunities to seize, with topics ranging from theory to popular culture. Though writing has always come naturally to me, the rhetoric and writing studies program gave me the tools and experience I needed to hone my skills and to be prepared for a future in writing. I use tactics such as reader-centered writing, critical proofreading/revision methods, and textual repurposing every day in my work. The program also reinforced invaluable professional skills such as discipline, preparation, communication, and leadership. I can very confidently say that I would not be where I am today without the rhetoric and writing studies program’s rigorous curriculum, supportive faculty, and hands-on learning style.

 

   Samantha Sandler
   Community Manager
   2015 Graduate


 

I write to help families.

As a Community Manager, I am the sole digital representative for Stridepost, a company dedicated to organizing and motivating families. In order to do my job, I need to have the ability to understand my audience every single day, in every piece of content I produce, and during every single interaction I have in digital space. Part of my job is marketing Stridepost and maintaining its voice and identity, all while ensuring that our voice is one that our audience wants to hear. Everything has to fit. The rhetoric and writing studies program taught me how to see my work through my audience’s perspective. I have to understand the wants and needs of the people I’m trying to reach. The rhetoric and writing studies program taught me that in order to have an effect on my audience—to have and reach an end goal—you have to master different communicative styles. I have the rhetoric and writing studies program to thank for my success.

 

   Cait Ryan-Beerbower
   Editing and Content Management, Boskage Commerce Publications
   Graduate Student, Michigan State University
   2010 Graduate

 

I write to further both my academic and professional careers.

I currently use my degree in both a professional capacity at Boskage Commerce Publications, a Thomson Reuters company specializing in international trade publications, software, and online educations, and as a graduate student at Michigan State University. At Thomson Reuters, I work in an editorial department developing both online and print publications. At MSU, I am pursuing an M.A. in Learning, Design, and Technology with a concentration in digital rhetoric and professional writing. The rhetoric and writing studies program at WMU provided unique and invaluable training that prepared me to step into both these roles. This preparation included opportunities to explore writing in numerous digital environments (including website design with Adobe Dreamweaver), as well as opportunities to develop pieces of professional writing for use by actual clients outside the classroom. The professors at WMU showed a clear understanding of the rapidly changing role of digital writing in our society. They used this knowledge to offer an educational experience that has served me well in my work for Thomson Reuters as well as in the process of applying for and joining a graduate-level program focused on rhetoric and writing.

 

   Ambrosia Neldon
   General Manager, Leader Publications
   2013 Graduate


 

I write to inform the public and connect my community.

I pursued a major in rhetoric and writing studies to supplement my journalism major simply because I loved to write and wanted to have as many outlets for that passion as possible. Today, as the general manager for a publishing company that produces two daily newspapers, two weekly newspapers, two shoppers, and an upscale lifestyle magazine, I use the skills learned in the rhetoric and writing studies program just as much as the lessons I learned in the journalism program. The rhetoric and writing studies program trains students to think not only as writers, but readers as well. The reader-centered mindset I gained through the program has been invaluable in a field that is without question very reader-oriented. I use my degree every day not only to write compelling stories, columns, and editorials, but also to create dynamic layouts that appeal to the reader. I’m also constantly using the rhetorical skills I learned to manage employees, work with other departments, engage with the community, and put out the fires that come with working in a fast-paced, high-energy profession. I can say without question that I would not be where I am in my professional career without this program.

 

   Shane Haynes
   Legal Writer, Hudson Legal Group
   2014 Graduate
  

 

I write to safeguard breakthrough research in technology and medicine.

I found the courses in the rhetoric and writing studies program to be remarkably innovative, and my professors immensely supportive. I appreciated the way each course played on my strengths as an analytical writer and reflect fondly on my experiences in the classroom. Each assignment felt refreshingly different from the last, yet I could see how, upon completion, they had instilled in me another invaluable skill to add to my growing writing repertoire. Some of my favorite examples include rhetorical criticisms, writing for real-world organizations, and learning how to frame my résumé to best target and secure potential positions. Today, I apply the detail-oriented professional writing techniques I gained through the rhetoric and writing studies program to craft immigration petition documents in favor of some of the most brilliant researchers in the world. A large majority of the recommendation letters I author for clients are signed by doctorate-level professors from renowned universities. Each approved case is both a small victory for me and a life-changing event for my clients – who intend to conduct some of the most cutting-edge research in science and medicine I’ve ever encountered. I look forward to my future career as a writer in the field of law, and am thankful for my time in the rhetoric and writing studies program.

 

Colleen Kubacki
Technical Writer
2008 Graduate


 

I write to bring safe medical products to those in need.

While completing my final year of the rhetoric and writing studies program at WMU, the faculty helped me obtain a technical writing internship for a company which conducts testing of therapeutic compounds intended for development into new medicines. In this position, I assisted scientists, managers, and other laboratory personnel in creating standard operating procedures (SOPs). These documents establish and maintain consistent processes which are followed by laboratory personnel during experimentation. Upon graduation from WMU, I accepted a full-time position with this company where my responsibility as a technical writer is to ensure that these SOPs are coherent to personnel with varying levels of education, experience, and training, yet also contain all required technical information. My training in the writing program at WMU helped me understand how to write technical documents from a reader-centered perspective and learn to adjust my writing to my audience. My writing skills offer me the opportunity to contribute to the development of safe medical products.