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Today an English Degree. Tomorrow the World.

When Alan, BA ’11, and Lydia (Bottoni) Ohman, BA ’11, pursued their passion for literature and writing, it led them to places they didn’t expect, including the altar, the stage and the halls of government. The couple, who fell in love as English students at Ohio Northern, celebrated their first wedding anniversary in June.

Alan now works in the Ohio Statehouse, where his many duties include analyzing and drafting legislation for state Sen. Shirley Smith. Lydia is executive director for the nonprofit Ohio Arts Presenters Network, where she works to improve the quality and presentation of performing arts in Ohio.

Alan and Lydia credit their ONU professors for helping them to turn their affinity for the English language into viable careers. “ONU English professors play a strong and active role in helping their students excel in the tight job market we are experiencing today,” says Lydia. “I really can’t ask for more than to love what I do. And I found that in my first job out of college.”

English majors are often bombarded with doom-and-gloom predictions from family and friends, says Dr. Lisa Robeson, professor and chair of the Department of English. “They hear: ‘What are you going to do with that? Teach? If not, you’ll never find a job.’”

ONU English graduates, however, discover these predictions to be completely unfounded. In 2011, the English department placed 100 percent of its graduates in jobs or in graduate school. In the past six years, the department has realized a 90 percent placement rate. ONU English graduates embark on fulfilling careers in law, government, marketing, advertising, education, journalism, business and nonprofit  management, and other fields.

According to Robeson, three factors contribute to the English department’s exceptional placement rates: experiential learning, dedicated advising and top-notch academics.

ONU English majors have countless opportunities, through classes, internships, study abroad and extracurricular programs, for hands-on learning that builds their résumés. Lydia, for example, graduated with a résumé filled with interesting and unusual experiences.

She took dance classes and performed in ONU productions; honed her communication skills at Sigma Tau Delta conferences; studied at the University of Cambridge in England one summer; and traveled with her professors and fellow students to Canada and Virginia for Shakespeare Festivals, to name just a few.

“No student, whether majoring in literature, creative writing or professional writing, graduates from ONU without practical experience with publications on his or her résumé,” adds Robeson.