Featured MS Student: Cara Stromback
Why did you choose the Department of Writing Studies at the University of Minnesota?
My previous jobs were in politics and international education, which provided me with rewarding editing experiences. However, these jobs did not go as planned. In summer 2019, unsure of my career path, I bartended at the MSP airport, hoping a career would find me. With my editing experience in mind, I leisurely perused the UMN Writing Studies website, stumbling on the MS in Scientific and Technical Communication program. I immediately knew I was in luck! I chose this program because I knew it would lead to a career in editing that paid well. I also appreciated that it was online and asynchronous, which meant I could still work, while earning my degree. The ability to choose from a large array of electives in my second year, was another plus to enrolling in the program.
Where are you from (hometown)?
Where did you previously attend school? What are your degree(s) in, and what areas of expertise did you develop?
I attended the University of Minnesota where I earned a Bachelor's degree in Political Science with a minor in Asian Languages and Literatures. My area of expertise was Chinese politics and economics. I also obtained proficiency in Mandarin Chinese.
What are the most important things you've learned from this program? How do you anticipate they will help you in your career?
One of the most important things I’ve learned is to be confident in my abilities to succeed. The courses I had in Web development were new to me and particularly challenging. Developing the right mind set versus automatically becoming overwhelmed allowed me to succeed in those courses and boosted my confidence. Familiarity with some computer programming languages can open up career opportunities for me in content management and IT.
What has been your favorite WRIT course, and why?
My favorite course is Writing with Digital Technologies (Writ 5662) because it opened up a whole new "world" of writing for me. In this course, I learned HTML and XML as a means to create websites. This added much more complexity to the traditional writing process and provided me with thought-provoking ideas on managing content.
Would you describe a course project that was particularly valuable? How did it contribute to your professional development?
Managing an English and Italian translation project with students from Italy (in Writ 4562) was very valuable. There's definitely cultural differences between Italy and the United States. Navigating cultural differences to precisely translate and localize content was very rewarding.
What are your career goals?
My career goals include using programming languages to manage content. I also hope to take complex information and make it easy for users to understand in both English and Mandarin.
What advice would you give to someone considering pursuing their MS or Certificate with Writing Studies?
If you enjoy writing and editing, apply to this program. Once you start the program, so many learning opportunities related to writing and editing open up for you that you would never have considered before.
What are your interests/hobbies outside of academia, and what do you enjoy about them?
I enjoy downhill skiing, travel, and reading.