“What can I do with an English degree?” Dann Truitt heard this repeatedly before graduating in 2014 with his bachelor’s degree. His answer could have been author, editor, or teacher. Truitt, however, took the skills he honed as an undergraduate and is applying them to a field he didn’t even consider as a student.
Before walking at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences convocation ceremony, Truitt had already lined up a position as the Alumni Coordinator in the Office of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving at his alma mater.
In this role, he was responsible for coordinating communications to the University’s 110,000 alumni through email, print and web, as well as providing support for alumni events and activities.
“Working in higher education was never something I ruled out,” he says. “I just didn’t expect the next chapter of my life to still be at Montclair State. But when the opportunity came around and I saw the job description, I knew the English department had prepared me for such a communications-based role.”
Truitt transferred to Montclair State in 2011 after attending Camden County Community College, in Blackwood, New Jersey. He says that when the time came for him to transfer to a four-year institution, he knew that Montclair State was the place for him. A lifelong aspiring teacher, Truitt majored in English and pursued a teaching certificate. He said he feels that, between the two programs of study, he was well-equipped to enter the working world.
“Specifically, Patricia Matthew, Lee Behlman and Caroline Dadas taught me how to think critically when approaching a text or idea. Over time, I learned that this approach could be applied to more than just English literature and the writing process. Together, they taught me what it means to be an English major and how to stand out in a competitive job market.”
As the Alumni Coordinator in the Office of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, he contributed to the bi-annual University magazine and each month developed, wrote and distributed a monthly alumni newsletter that featured three alumni news articles, University updates, athletics news and two alumni profiles. Additionally, he distributed general and targeted invitations and announcements to alumni from each of the University’s six schools and colleges and various programs.
Until joining the professional staff of Montclair State, Truitt says that some of his fondest memories of a student are from his experience as a campus resident. Living on campus enabled him to fulfill ‘the college experience’ and pull all-nighters at Café Diem and gain real-life work experience at the Student Recreation Center – where he honed his written and oral communications skills.
In September 2015, his work experience and interpersonal skills brought him back to the Student Recreation Center where he’s making new memories as he embarks on his next professional role.
“As the Interim Assistant Director of Campus Recreation Programs I’m responsible for creating, developing and executing over 50 special events per year for the Department of Campus Recreation. This is yet another position that I never dreamed of achieving but I’m excited to begin. Montclair State has taught me that anything is possible and I’ve made it a priority to pay it forward to the next generation of Red Hawks and ensure that they too, understand all that’s available to them.”
To answer the question, “what can one do with an English degree,” Truitt has broadened the possibilities. As a result, his major taught him to explore and engage in his surroundings. Whether in the classroom or the world at large, Truitt knows his education and experiences at Montclair State have prepared him for a bright future.