Date: Thu, 28 Sep 1995 17:56:59 -0500 From: Natalie Maynor Subject: Re: What Can You Do with a Degree in X Here's something Harry Donaghy, my dept head, put together a few years ago to hand out to prospective English majors. I have a copy online because I included it in the department's web pages. X-within-URL: A PUBLIC SERVICE MESSAGE FROM THE MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY ENGLISH DEPARTMENT Some students who enjoy English courses hesitate to major in the subject because they think that few career options are open to English majors. Nothing could be further from the truth. The stereotype of the English major as a grammar-spouting schoolmarm or wild-eyed poet has always been a convenient myth for people who have trouble with the first two of the three R's. Like many stereotypes, this one has a grain of truth. Some English majors choose a career in teaching. And some go the way of Douglas (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) Adams, Gwendolyn ("We real cool") Brooks, Tom (Clear and Present Danger) Clancy, Allen ("Howl") Ginsberg, Joseph (Catch 22) Heller, David Henry (M. Butterfly) Hwang, Stephen (Master of Horror) King, Arthur (Death of a Salesman) Miller, Toni (Beloved) Morrison, Amy (Joy Luck Club) Tan, and Eudora Welty (to name but a few creative writers with English degrees). But thousands of English majors choose to employ their communication and problem-solving skills in a wide variety of other career fields. Although it is loath to meddle with a myth, the English Department at Mississippi State feels obliged to do so for the sake of students who would like to major in English but are concerned about it's practical value. By way of reassuring this group, we offer the names of a few English majors who have prominently offended against the stereotype. Alan Alda--actor, writer Russell Baker--journalist Dave Barry--humorist writer, actor Linda Bloodworth-Thomason--television writer/producer (Designing Women, Evening Shade) Carol Browner--Head of the Environmental Protection Agency Chevy Chase--comedian, actor, writer Mario Cuomo--Governor of New York Michael Eisner--Walt Disney CEO Jodi Foster--actress, filmmaker Kathryn Fuller--World Wildlife Fund CEO A. Bartlett Giamatti--President, Yale University and Commissioner of Baseball Cathy Guisewite--cartoonist (Cathy) Chris Isaak--songwriter, singer Stephen King--novelist Paul Newman--actor, food entrepreneur Joe Paterno--football coach (Penn State) Sally Ride--astronaut Joan Rivers--comedienne Diane Sawyer--broadcast journalist Paul Simon--songwriter, singer Steven Spielberg--filmmaker Marty Shottenheimer--Coach of Kansas City Chiefs Superman (Christopher Reeve)--journalist, superhero Brandon Tartikoff--television executive Clarence Thomas--U.S. Supreme Court Justice Granhma Tinker--TV Executive and Producer Harold Varmus--Nobel laureate in medicine, Director of National Institutes of Health Barbara Walters--broadcast journalist Sigourney Weaver--actress Pete Wilson--Governor of California Bob Woodward--journalist, writer (All the President's Men)