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English MA/PhD Alumni

"The mentorship I got from faculty — not just my advisor or my committee but almost everyone in the grad faculty — remains important to me today."

— Michael Dwyer, G'10

Our graduate students, both MA and PhD, have gone on to successful careers both inside and outside academia. To read about how we prepare our students for life after graduation, read about our MA/PhD Resources. To see a listing of MA and PhD job placements, read our Alumni Placement.

Read more about the success stories from some of our recent alumni below:

Peter Katz (G’15) graduated from the PhD program, and is now Assistant Professor of English at Pacific Union College. His dissertation was titled Reading Bodies: Associationism, Empathy, and the Ethics of Sensation in Nineteenth-Century Fiction, which is serving as the basis for his first book, and he received a Certificate in University Teaching during his time as an ETS Teaching Associate.

“Not only did the department teach me how to be a proper scholar, it also taught me how to be a colleague and professional. From pre-professional workshops to the English Graduate Organization, the department showed me how to navigate and succeed as part of a community of scholarship.”

Kelsey Flint-Martin (G’15) graduated from the MA program and is now a PhD candidate in English at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

“Syracuse was my first experience in the graduate level of academia. While this was a bit of shock coming straight from my undergraduate program, the expectations of professors and the workload showed me what I was capable of achieving. The work ethic I developed at Syracuse has made balancing the professionalization of graduate school with classes and teaching much more manageable. My writing quality also improved tremendously. Finally, I am deeply appreciative of Susan Edmunds and Patty Roylance for being an amazing support system as they worked with me over the two years I attended Syracuse, and of Terri ‘T’ for always being there and having the answers to everything!”

Auritro Majumder (G’15) graduated from the PhD program and is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Houston. His dissertation was titled Insurgent Imaginations: Culture, Postcolonial Panetarity, and Maoism in India, and he participated in the Cornell School of Criticism and Theory (2012) and served as a Goekjian Fellow in the Maxwell School of Citizenship (2011-2012).

“I had the opportunity for training in interdisciplinary and transnational literary and cultural studies. I took regular classes in Geography and History, with Professors Don Mitchell and Subho Basu, and worked with Professor Basu for my dissertation. Also, working with Professor Crystal Bartolovich as my dissertation advisor was instrumental in leading me toward multiple conversations in the literary and cultural studies, and situating my work in relation to existing and emerging scholarship.”

Angela Ko (G’14) graduated from the English MA program and is currently a communications manager at Citigroup in New York City.

“Breaking into a field I had no education or experience in was at first a daunting task, but my MA in English helped me move quickly into a new career. I got my first marketing job because of my strong writing background. After a year at the agency, I was hired as a consultant at Citigroup where I managed email campaigns. Eventually, I moved into my current role where I manage large-scale projects to revamp the company's library of communications. The job entails looking at communications with a critical eye and directing copy changes to agencies, and my writing-intensive studies and my experience teaching writing composition courses have prepared me for success in my professional life.”

Ashley O’Mara (G’14) graduated from the MA program and is now a PhD candidate in English at Syracuse University. She has held a number of executive positions in the English Graduate Organization (EGO), and she is currently serving as the Admissions and Recruitment intern and web coordinator for the Department of English. She also blogs for EGO’s Metathesis.

“My time at Syracuse has been defined by outstanding mentorship. My professors showed me their strong interest in my ideas early on, which encouraged me to pursue them as legitimate subjects of inquiry. My advisor practically made me start participating in campus activities, and now I’m an (eager!) active contributor to department. And the community I’ve found here among my fellow English grad students has been the most supportive I’ve found anywhere. We take care of each other, which for me means I’ve had the best peer mentors.”

Sandeep Banerjee (G’13) graduated from the PhD program and is now Assistant Professor in the Department of English at McGill University in Montréal, QC. His dissertation was titled Landscaping India: From Colony to Postcolony.

“At Syracuse, the exceptional training and encouragement I received, especially from the faculty members I worked with, helped me immensely for a subsequent career in the academe. The opportunity to take courses outside the English department — I took several courses in Geography — led me to fascinating interdisciplinary conversations that helped frame my dissertation project. I had the opportunity to teach my own courses and design my syllabi while having faculty mentors I could turn to for help and feedback. The Future Professoriate Project workshops (conducted by Dr. Crystal Bartolovich during my time) were excellent venues to raise questions on these, in addition to discussing teaching strategies, grading criteria, curriculum design, and overall pedagogical goals. EGO’s Negotiations provided an ideal place and atmosphere to present papers and get feedback from departmental peers and faculty. The workshops conducted by departmental faculty on various academic issues were extremely useful. I also planned academic events and worked out how to fund them; debated with colleagues — and sought to build consensus — on how best to advocate our interests with faculty; and (as EGO’s representative) voted on key departmental decisions. All of these are essential training for a life in the academe.”

Adrienne Garcia-Specht (’10 G’13) graduated from the ETS program (with a second major in political science) and the MA in English program. She is currently a Financial Aid Counselor at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

“As an English graduate student, we spend our time reading and writing. And reading. And writing. And occasionally watching things. And writing. This turned out to be surprisingly relevant to my current career path working with federal and state financial aid, which require close reading and interpretation of sometimes byzantine regulations. The classes at Syracuse helped polish my skills in assessing texts and articulating responses. As an M.A. student, I also had to teach two classes a semester, and this teaching experience was invaluable at launching a career working with students. My time teaching at Syracuse really solidified my desire to work with students in higher ed. I loved teaching, and I am able to use this skill during financial aid workshops and other outreach events. Finally, one of my favorite parts of being at Syracuse were the professors, who were kind and generous with their encouragement and time. From each of them, I learned how to be a better instructor, how to be more compassionate, how to think about the world in a critical way. And they taught me a sense of social justice. This informs my involvement with campus issues at Cal Poly. Still fighting the good fight as much as I can.”

Gohar Siddiqui (G’13) graduated from the PhD program and is currently Assistant Professor of English and the Film Minor Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Her dissertation was titled Déjà Viewed: Nation, Gender, and Genre in Bollywood Remakes of Hollywood Cinema. As a graduate student at Syracuse, she won the James Elson Teaching Award (2011) and the Outstanding TA Award (2011); she was also a University Fellow.

“I cannot count how many times people have told me that they are envious of the support and preparation I got at Syracuse as a graduate student. I wouldn’t be here without the mentorship of my teachers at Syracuse. At Syracuse I got plenty of amazing opportunities that have all helped me prepare for the job market and eased my way in my new job. An invaluable experience for me was serving on the hiring committee. It gave me an insight into how the job market works, what all committees look for in a candidate, and how faculty view a future colleague. One of the best learning experiences for me at Syracuse was the TA training I got from professors when I was a teaching assistant for film, popular culture, and gender courses. Their guidance and feedback prepared me well for all aspects of teaching. I designed and taught my own courses in film, popular culture, literature, and gender at Syracuse, and it has been fairly easy for me to develop new and diverse courses at UW-Platteville.”

Mark Celeste (G’12) graduated from the MA program and is now a PhD candidate in English at Rice University.

“Syracuse taught me how to be an effective and professional scholar. My two years in the program laid the foundations that will serve me for years to come. Beyond the knowledge of content (texts and contexts, theories and trends, etc.), the Syracuse MA instilled both a strong work ethic and a strong intellectual curiosity. Moreover, at Syracuse I made personal and professional contacts with whom I still keep in touch, and I know that I can reach out to these people if I ever need them.”

Michael Dwyer (G’10) graduated from the PhD program and is now Associate Professor of Media and Communication at Arcadia University. His dissertation was titled Back to the Fifties: Pop Nostalgia in the Reagan Era.

“I am very adamant about this: Syracuse prepared me to do the work of being in the academy by not shielding me from the work of being in the academy. At Syracuse I taught classes of my own design, I did curriculum design and teacher training, I planned and funded academic events, I debated with my colleagues about the best strategies to advocate for our interests in the department, I cast votes on hiring and sat on an admissions committee, and I researched university policies to make sure our graduate program was in line with them when the curriculum changed. These things weren't ‘extras’ that ‘distracted’ from my progress in the program. They are the program, and in many cases these sorts of things matter more to your function as a professor than your writing projects do. Syracuse is unique in that it has a history of radical democratic participation from its graduate students in departmental governance. I should also say that I had amazing colleagues working with me and challenging me and fighting me all along the way, and that kind of vibrant culture of what the EGO collective, inspired by former Syracuse prof Bill Readings, used to call ‘cooperative dissensus’ became a fundamental part of my identity as a scholar and as a human.”

Jon Singleton (G’10) graduated from the English PhD program and is now Assistant Professor of English at Harding University. His dissertation was titled The Suspension of (Dis)Belief: Novel and Bible in Victorian Society.

“Graduate English studies at Syracuse equipped and then launched me into a successful and highly satisfying career. Syracuse's rigorous and demanding yet constantly supportive faculty opened up doors I never even expected to find: doors to serendipitous discoveries in London archives, to networking with major scholars at international conferences, to working effectively and easily with colleagues and administrators amid the many tensions of a university, to publishing original and fulfilling scholarly work. I had a wonderful experience and received world-class training in every aspect of being a scholar — in research, writing, teaching, and service to our profession.”

Emily Shortslef (G’08) graduated from the MA program and went on to complete a PhD in English at Columbia University. She is now Assistant Professor of English at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY.

“I began graduate school with a very strong desire to get my MA and PhD, become a professor, and write books — and very little knowledge about what academia was like or how to survive, let alone succeed, in it. I simply can’t overstate how intellectually and professionally formative my time at Syracuse was for me, largely due to the faculty members who mentored me, trained me to do scholarship, and provided me with opportunities for networking and professional development.”

Brinda Charry (G’05) graduated from the PhD program and is currently Professor of English at Keene State College. Her dissertation was titled Threshold People: Representing Chang and Exchange in the Contact Zone.

“I benefited tremendously from the variety of courses and critical approaches. My teachers were wonderful and Dympna Callaghan was a tremendous mentor. When I began my full-time teaching career I realized how much I’d learned from my experience as a TA — the teaching mentor program was also very useful. And the Syracuse weather … it prepared me for a lifetime of New England winters …”