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Alumnus Rebecca Baker
Master of Arts in English, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009
Rebecca Baker graduated from the MA Program in Spring 2009. Her thesis is titled “Musical Identification and Cultural Associations: Tracking Pre-existing Music in Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums.” She is currently employed at BECHTEL as a proposal center manager in Reston, Virginia. Rebecca is responsible for all of the proposals that her global business unit puts out and oversees the staff in her area. Her daily work consists of writing, editing, interpreting, managing schedules, budgeting, and making sure her work stays compliant. Her Masters in English helped her get to where she is now in quite a unique way. At a conference in D.C., she got into a heated discussion with one of the leaders of the team about the interpretation of a text. She firmly stated to him that she was an english major and that no one else is better at taking complex documents and breaking them down. “We’re the best at critical thinking,” she says.
Rebecca states her biggest take-away from the program was the relationships she built with her professors. It was through various recommendations through professors with connections that she was able to get her job as a proposal writer. She emphasizes the importance of networking, building those relationships and maintaining them. The courses that were most memorable to Rebecca were Jeannie Babb’s victorian literature class, rhetoric and composition taught by Morris and Mumphauer, and Jennifer Stone’s digital literacies class. Patty Linton’s “Topics in Contemporary literature” was the course that influenced her thesis.
All of the faculty and advisors contributed to Rebecca’s experience in the program in a positive way. Near the end of her program, her thesis advisor unfortunately became very ill over break and was unable to return to advise her. Nevertheless, she was able to get it done because “the department and faculty is so strong and supportive.” One piece of advice she would give to someone considering the program is: “You can still make a lot of money with a humanities degree. Being able to write and have critical thinking skills is so important and in demand. If you’re a good writer I think there are ways to be rewarded for it.”