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Featured MS Student: Kristina Shirk

September 27, 2019
Portrait of Kristina Shirk

Why did you choose the Department of Writing Studies at the University of Minnesota?

I graduated from my undergrad knowing that I wanted to go to grad school. I just did not know what I wanted to study or where. I had an interesting mix of experiences, being an English major while also working in a microbiology research lab, so I wanted to find a way to blend these two experiences together as a career. This lead me to technical writing, and ultimately to the U of M. The program is well known and has a great connection with industry professionals that really appealed to me. I also liked the idea of being able to explore other educational opportunities through graduate minors that a large university offers.

Where are you from (hometown)?

I am from Lakeville, MN. Just 30 minutes south of the Twin Cities!

Where did you previously attend school? What is your degree in?

I did my undergrad at the University of Wisconsin - Madison where I got a BS in English Linguistics, and a minor in Digital Communications.

What are the most important things you've learned from this program?

So many things. Tools used in industry, expanding my personal learning network, compelling visual design, and concise writing.

What has been your favorite WRIT course?

I really enjoyed International Professional Communication. I find the lessons I learned about effectively communicating in cross-cultural situations has been immensely beneficial in both my personal and professional life. I also enjoyed the projects we did in the class - working with an international university on a collaborative project, and other small research projects that pushed me to expand my personal learning network

Would you tell us about a project or course that was particularly meaningful to your professional development?

As I mentioned previously, the translation project working with the University of Trieste was an incredible experience and made me a better communicator. I have always been a good writer, but it was a challenge to shift my writing brain to consider writing for translation. I have worked in international publishing and now technical writing at a multinational company, so the skills I took away from International Professional Communication are ones that I rely on daily.

What are your career goals?

Ultimately, I am working to become an information architect.

What advice would you give to someone considering pursuing their MS/certificate with Writing Studies?

If you are toying with the idea of applying for the program, I say do it. The program offers a wide range of courses that are applicable to many different positions and industries. It will prepare you for a career following graduation, and you will have some fun, challenging experiences along the way.

What are your interests / hobbies outside of academia?

When I have free time, I enjoy reading, writing, hiking, cooking/baking, and playing games on my Switch.