Major Spotlight: Ian Kalil

This English peer counselor aims to be a congressional staff person
Image of English major Ian Kalil in front of The Met

Year: Junior
Hometown: Williston, ND

What has been your favorite part of your experience in the department?

Getting together with people in my Shakespeare class to watch Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V to study for the midterm quiz.

Why did you choose to major in English?

I have been passionate about literature since I was a kid, so English was an obvious choice. With that said, I had to realize that employers are looking for people with strong communication skills and the ability to think critically before I could commit to being an English major.

"English builds the ability
to critique the underlying
assumptions that inform
opinions on [public] policy."

What do you want to do with your degree?

I want to work on congressional staff in the issue areas of trade, labor, and education. I am also very interested in political speech writing.

Are you pursuing any majors, minors, internships, or fields of interest outside your English major?

I am a double major in Political Science. Last summer, I was an intern in the US Senate. Working as a staffer is all about comprehension and communication. Political Science and English both provide a strong basis for that, but English also builds the ability to critique the underlying assumptions that inform opinions on policy.

What English course would you recommend for majors?

For majors, I have to recommend Brit Lit I with Professor Rebecca Krug and American Lit II with Lecturer Chris Kamerbeek. For non-majors, take a class with Professor Andrew Scheil. The subject might seem daunting (Shakespeare, Chaucer, etc.), but the class will be more fun and engaging than you expect.

What's your favorite piece of writing?

“In Flanders Fields” by Lt.-Col. John McCrae is a beautiful, haunting poem. It is also a great example of how what is going on in the political world can shape literature and how literature can shape the political world.

Undergraduate Students
Social Sciences
Research and Creative Work
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