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Business and Nonprofit Careers

English teaches essential skills like empathy, persuasion, and creative thinking…

UT English majors who have worked in the business and non-profit worlds talk about how important writing and storytelling are to their success. They draw on a range of literature classes, like Women in American Literature (332), Shakespeare’s Early and Late Plays (404 and 405), The International Novel (454), and writing classes like Creative Non-Fiction Writing (369), or Technical and Professional Writing (360) to put together a range of strategies that help them tell their stories to customers and clients.

Interviews with Alumni in the Field

Ashley Barker

English Majors Don’t Have Limits: Ashley Barker and ORNL

Former English Major Flourishes as Section Head for Operations at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility

David Corts

Catching up with COO and English Major David Corts

How Literary Reading and Expository Writing Helped Corts become a Successful Entrepreneur

Houston Holdren

From Rhetoric to the Halls of Power: Houston Holdren’s Career Path

From Capitol Hill to the skies, English helped Houston Holdren soar.

Sarah Rainey

English Major to Business: Sarah Rainey’s Career Path

Sarah Rainey uses skills she learned in her English courses to thrive in different business sectors.

Camille Renshaw

English Alum Camille Renshaw’s Path from Literature to Real Estate

A background in English has been a key to this CEO’s competitive edge.


“It’s all about telling stories. I was fundamentally drawn to English Literature because of the storytelling. I tell stories every day . . . If I need to say “go in that direction,” I can only say that so many times before it falls on deaf ears. People want to know why their work matters. And using story gives their lives, gives my life meaning.”

—from an article highlighting business woman and English Major Camille Renshaw (’94)