English grads return for department’s Career Day

Novelist Susan Koefod ’81 speaking to students and faculty in Derham Hall in June 2016. Photo by Michelle Mullowney.

Novelist Susan Koefod '81 speaking to students and faculty in Derham Hall. Photo by Michelle Mullowney '17.

Thursday afternoon saw the return of four accomplished St. Kate’s graduates for the English department’s Career Day. Current English and communications majors were the beneficiaries of the panel, which then separated into small discussion groups as the event progressed.

Speaking on the panel were Sydney (Robbins) Baker ’13, director of digital marketing at Customer Elation; Susan Koefod ’81, novelist and poet as well as a veteran in healthcare and health insurance communications; Amy (Goergen) Lilja ’10, internal communications manager at Hennepin County Medical Center; and Cami Stenquist ’15, a graduate student in creative writing at Hamline University.

All four panelists emphasized the importance of building relationships over the course of one’s career, beginning at St. Kate’s. “I have so many professors here that I consider really good friends,” says Stenquist. “I would encourage all of you as English majors to look for those connections, not only among yourselves but with the professors, because they don’t let you fall when you go away. They care what happens to you.”

The connections students make become even more important after graduation.

Baker, who has received a succession of job offers since leaving St. Kate’s, attributes her success to taking advantage of each opportunity — and never burning bridges. “Those relationships are so valuable… and that’s been the key to all these jobs that keep coming my way,” she says.

Similarly to Baker, Lilja has found the quality of her relationships to be integral to her success. She was hired as a communications specialist by Hennepin County Medical Center in 2010, shortly after graduating, and was recently promoted to manager.

“Staying in one job for a long time has really helped me because I can [keep building] those relationships and I’m really familiar with the organization after five-and-a-half years,” she says. “[My boss] knew what I was capable of and offered that job to me.”

By Michelle Mullowney '17