English Major Spotlight: Rachel Dworshak

Earning our Certificate in Editing and Publishing, this student prepares for a career
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Year: Senior

Hometown: North Branch, MN

Why did you choose to major in English?

I have loved reading and writing since I was young, but in time, I came to realize that storytelling is not only meaningful to me on a personal level but that it is valuable for society as a whole. After graduating with a degree in English, I hope to work as a book editor for a literary publisher. While writing a novel of my own is still a dream of mine, I now look forward to collaborating with aspiring authors to help them perfect their work and share the stories that are important to them.

Are you pursuing any majors, minors, internships, or interests outside your English major?

In addition to a degree in English, I am pursuing a Certificate in Editing & Publishing. The classes for the Certificate have educated me on the many career paths within the publishing industry and have given me opportunities to meet and make connections with professional editors, publishers, authors, book reviewers, publicists, booksellers, and more. The instructors have offered invaluable support and advice during the process of applying for internships and jobs. My time as an editor for the University’s literary and art magazine, The Tower, has allowed me to gain first-hand experience with the publishing process and to meet and befriend students who share my passion for literature and publishing.

What English course would you recommend for majors? For non-majors who want to take an English class?

For non-majors looking to take an English class, I would recommend "Modern Fiction." This was the first English course I took at the U of M, and it was a really fun way to be exposed to novels, graphic novels, and short stories I hadn’t read before. On top of that, it was an interesting and unintimidating way to dive deeper into a text and discuss it with my peers. For English majors and non-majors alike, I would recommend taking "Literacy and American Cultural Diversity." In class, there are a lot of discussions, but I truly learned the most when I was able to take what I learned and discussed in class and put it into practice in the community. Whether you are an English major or are just looking for ways to connect with others in a meaningful way through literature and community work, I would highly recommend taking this class.

What is a favorite book you read for an English class?

My favorite book that I’ve read for an English class has to be Norah Lange’s novel, People in the Room. The novel evokes a dark, claustrophobic feeling as the narrative is limited to the most private inner thoughts of the narrator who fixes her gaze onto the women who live across the street. With her dreamlike, surrealist prose and the creation of an unreliable narrator, Lange masterfully blurs the line between reality and imagination. People in the Room is a beautifully written and distinctively artistic criticism of a culture that has kept women boxed into a claustrophobic, domestic space as well as an exploration of voyeurism, interior life, and femininity which continues to remain relevant across time and culture. This novel is best suited for the reader who is looking to exercise their mind and stretch their imagination. It is highly abstract which makes interpretation grueling, but I loved the challenge.

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