Re: Degree

Subject: Re: Degree
From: "Marie C. Paretti" <mparetti -at- RRINC -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1998 11:43:54 -0500

Oh, what the heck:

B.S. Chemical Engineering, Minor in English
M.A. in English Literature
Ph.D. in English Lit w/ a dissertation on contemporary poetry.

How I got here (as if the dissertation topic doesn't give you a clue!):
After working as an engineer for a couple of years, I decided on a career
change and went back for my M.A. (same school) Problem was, I started in
the middle of the year, so there were no TA's to be had. An old chem. eng.
prof took pity on me and hired me as a lab assistant. Before I knew it, he
had me editing articles for the Journal of the Chinese Institute of
Chemical Engineers (or something like that). Then he had me editing a
textbook one of his grad students was writing. I even took a seminar on
tech. comm. during my M.A. program.

When I finished my M.A., I stayed on as an instructor for a couple of years
and, not suprisingly, got asked to teach Technical Writing. Whoa! Who knew
they wrote textbooks on this stuff?!?! Seriously, having to teach those
courses was probably one of the biggest helps in learning to do it more
effectively, as any good teacher will tell you. I've been freelancing ever
since.

From there, it was the Ph.D. Academic jobs not being precisely plentiful at
the moment, I stumbled into this job because it was work I like in a place
I love, surrounded by the people who matter most. And that beat work I love
in a place I don't like. Plus, this job actually pays. Money even.

What good do my degrees do? The combination alone - chem. eng. plus English
- makes it look like I can do technical writing. I think the theory in
employer's minds must go something like: "Well, she doesn't have a tech
writing degree, but she's got a technical degree and a writing degree, so
that amounts to the same thing." The fact that I have lots of experience in
the field confirms that suspicion.

As for the PhD, it's a good conversation piece, if nothing else.

Marie

Marie C. Paretti, PhD
Recognition Research, Inc. (RRI)
1750 Kraft Drive, Suite 2000
Blacksburg, VA 24060
mparetti -at- rrinc -dot- com
http://www.rrinc.com

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