English Graduate Program Alumni

Bianca Sierra

Bianca Sierra - Public Library Director, East Moline, IL

English M.A., 2022

Sierra, a 2006 graduate of WIU's Elementary Education program and a 2022 graduate of WIU's English program has since followed her passion for education and serving the community. After completing her graduate studies at WIU, Sierra began working in public libraries and hasn't left, hoping to work with both the WIU-QC campus library and the WIU community through partnerships in the future.

"I was able to thrive at WIU," Sierra said. "The best part of WIU for me has always been the amazing professors and small class sizes. I immediately noticed the difference when I transferred from the University of Iowa to WIU in 2004. The teachers all knew me by name and everyone else in our classes. In 2021 I returned to WIU for graduate school and even though the program was online, I still received the same attention and support as on campus."

Maureen Sullivan

Maureen Sullivan - Technical Writer at Abbott Molecular

English M.A., 2021

"After earning my BA in English from Cornell College, I was interested in Western’s English graduate program due to the opportunities to focus on professional writing and writing center studies. During my time at WIU, I benefited greatly not only from the knowledge I gained from coursework, but also from the experience I acquired working at the University Writing Center and serving as editor for the Mirror & the Lamp. Connections with faculty and fellow students offer a community and resources that I still appreciate today."

Megan OToole

Megan O'Toole - Digital Marketing and Content Specialist at Lake Forest College and a freelance writer

English M.A., 2021

"I completed my BA in English writing at Elmhurst University, and after working in the field for a year, I knew I wanted to hone my path by attending graduate school. The MA program at WIU not only helped me find focus in my career, it also provided me with a wealth of resources, experiences, and connections that I still rely on today. Joining the MA in English program means joining a wonderful tight-knit community of passionate learners."

Rayvon Carter

Rayvon Carter (Shelton II) - Writer at Apple

B.A. Journalism, 2012; English M.A., 2015

"I am a Bay-Area based Writer working at Apple and a 2015 graduate of the English Graduate Program at WIU. When I entered the program back in 2013, I had no idea of the adventures, adversity, and opportunities that lied ahead. I struggled with finding and establishing my academic voice, which is often the reality of many marginalized students in higher education from underrepresented populations. However, my time in the English Graduate Program provided me with an opportunity to sharpen my creative prowess and writing capacity — two essential components of my career. I even gained community with some of my professors and cohort, a few of whom I remain connected to today. For those of you that are current students and may be experiencing some of what I experienced, I admonish you to keep going. Keep writing. Keep putting in that extra time to grapple with the material. Keep going to office hours. Stay in the race, for what you’re going through now is preparing you for your next great thing."

Nicholaus Nusbaumer and Dr. Roberta DiCarmine

Nicholaus Nusbaumer - Ph.D. student in the Writing and Rhetoric Program at George Mason University (Washington, DC)

English M.A., 2019

"The English Graduate program at Western helped me gain agency over my degree with critical coursework, professional opportunities, and immersive teaching experience. Faculty in the department are immensely knowledgeable but always willing to learn more, and they imparted valuable, patient mentorship throughout the program. I graduated knowing I was wholly prepared to move forward while fondly reflecting on great fun, friends, and memories made along the way."

Ishimine Goins and Dr. Roberta DiCarmine

Ishimine Goins - Assistant Professor, Rhetoric and Composition, Raritan Valley Community College (New Jersey)

English M.A., 2019

"If I were to contemplate today, the preceding two years of my life spent at Western Illinois University; I would choose no other English graduate program in the world. This is not to take away from any reputable university, local or abroad—I am merely stating, the English department at WIU is exceptional. In my colligate career, I am blessed to have met so many inspiring professionals and intellectuals, whom I am lucky to call mentors and friends. Reflecting on my first year as an instructor at Georgia Southern University, I credit my preparedness, awareness, and compassion, to the individuals working and providing guidance throughout the halls of Simpkins. Thank you to my professors, mentors, graduate colleagues, and the staff of Simpkins."

Jon Naskrent

Jon Naskrent - Proposal Specialist at Lochmueller Group, St. Louis, MO | Troy, IL

English B.A., 2016; English M.A., 2018

"WIU’s English Graduate program helped me acquire the skills I needed to learn to accomplish my goals in both my professional and creative endeavors. The faculty want nothing more than to help you turn your education into the exact success story you’re looking for. I wouldn’t be where I am today without WIU’s English program, and I am constantly grateful for having experienced it."

Jon Naskrent

Jared R. Worley - Instructional System Designer, Boeing, St. Louis, MO

English B.A., 2016; English M.A., 2018

"The English graduate program is phenomenal and highly customizable to whatever it is you have your sights on post-graduation. I came into the program with no real idea of what I wanted to do, but quickly discovered a passion thanks to the amazing faculty. I was able to cultivate all of my classes, class papers and class projects around my desired exit option. Developing a writing class curriculum proposal helped me land a position with Boeing designing and writing courseware for national and international defense programs."