Feature Stories 2023: Kamryn Kobel '24: Prepared for anything
Kamryn Kobel '24: Prepared for anything

English major builds diverse résumé in English literature and communication

There are many areas where college students can bolster their professional experience during their undergraduate education. An honors student with a 3.9 GPA, Office of Undergraduate Research grant recipient, Arts & Entertainment Editor at The Torch, the university's student-run newspaper, and University Marketing Assistant, where she writes stories just like this, Kamryn Kobel has built a diverse, multidimensional résumé in English literature and communications.

"All of these roles really stretch my brain to learn new methods of communication and different ways to write about things," said Kobel. "They're very different, but they're all moving towards the same direction, which is the direction I want to be moving in.

"This has taught me that I'm capable of doing things that beforehand I didn't think I'd ever be capable of doing. This helps give me the confidence to go try the next thing, despite how novel it is to me and despite any doubts I have."

English major

Before this extensive, layered résumé in English and communication, Kobel entered UMass Dartmouth as a biology major, drawn to the program's research opportunities. Having tested out of her English general education requirements, Kobel wasn't taking English—her favorite high school subject—for the first time, and recalls missing it.

"I didn't feel a spark with biology, and I'd always been a reader," said Kobel. "Not taking English made me understand the passion I had for the subject and realize that's what I wanted to study."

Belonging to the same College of Arts & Sciences, the largest and most diverse college at UMassD, Kobel easily switched majors to study English, concentrating in literature & criticism and minoring in communication.

What's exciting about the major?

"I love this quote from poet and novelist Ocean Vuong in a recent VICE interview: 'Language is real. The power of it is that it gets deeper than any human touch. If I were to touch you right now, I would only get to your skin. But when I speak to you, I'm all the way through.'

"That's what English is all about—it's about making a connection that spans across time, space, race, and gender. I can read a manuscript written in the 1500's or a short story from last year and make a personal or societal connection to it. For me, literature is about understanding and being understood. It teaches us something about ourselves and about the human condition."

Have you had a favorite class? Favorite professor?

"English 320: Major Author with Associate Professor Shari Evans. In this course, the instructor chooses one author for us to study and I had Toni Morrison—who's one of my favorite authors. That class made me think, 'this is why I love studying literature.' Professor Evans is so encouraging, she believes in you, and knows so much about what she's teaching. She's incredible."

After graduating, what type of career are you looking for?

"I'm hoping to work in publishing and/or editing, probably for fictional books. I have experience in newswriting too, so I won't rule anything out."

Extracurricular experience

Can you describe the type of work you do in each of your roles?

University Marketing assistant

"I help manage the university's social media accounts, including starring in some Tik Toks. I also write news and feature articles, and work creatively to brainstorm advertising ideas, graphics, and social media posts."

@umass_dartmouth

Raise your hand if you have a job on-campus! We heard working for the Marketing team is pretty fun — but we might be bias. 😏🤳💙

♬ FEEL THE GROOVE - Queens Road, Fabian Graetz

The Torch editor

"I write articles, interview students, attend campus events, and keep up on campus happenings. As an editor, I review our Arts & Entertainment articles before they publish and, as an E-Board member, I also help with the decision-making process of our organization."

Writing & Multiliteracy Center tutor

"Tutoring really expands my brain because I'm working with all kinds of majors—I'll be helping an English major with their creative writing piece at a 10am appointment and then a biochemistry student with their lab report at 10:30. The process is really about helping people get their ideas across effectively and brainstorming how they want to express their understanding and be understood."

Research

"Last semester I worked with Associate Professor Jay Zysk on a journal article about dissemblance in Shakespeare's Richard III as a research assistant through the Honors College.

"Right now, I'm working on two capstone projects—the first is through the Honors College, which is grant-funded and independent. I'm researching women in Early American Gothic literature, relating them to the historical context of the Enlightenment era. The second is with Prof. Evans, working with her selection of novels to explore tropes of memory and the meaning of “nation” in multi-ethnic American literature.

"I also presented research on Toni Morrison’s novel Song of Solomon online for UMass Amherst's Undergraduate Research Conference (Mass URC). I would like to go to graduate school at some point and these experiences are really valuable for my résumé as an academic if I choose to pursue this route."

Have these experiences shaped the career path you're looking for?

"There are so many different directions you can go with an English degree. We have 2 different concentrations and 4 different minors. Trying my hand in journalism, marketing, and tutoring all provide experiences that helped me figure out what I'm good at and what I enjoy doing before I spend my life doing it. Testing this out while still in college is a great way to start. I still don't really know where I'll end up, but I have a better idea thanks to these jobs."

Why UMassD?

Can you describe UMassD in one word?

"Cultivating."

Why did you choose UMassD?

"I was looking for a relatively small school so that I could have a more intimate connection with my professors, classmates, and coursework and I loved UMass Dartmouth's location."

How do you know UMassD was the right choice for you?

"I'm doing things I never thought I'd be doing. I'm more confident, more adventurous, and a smarter person than I was when I first got here."

Do you have any advice for first-year UMassD students?

"Get involved. Sit in the front row and raise your hand. Go to office hours and use the resources available to you. If you're in school, hopefully you're studying the thing that you love. You only have four years to make connections, so connect with what you're learning. You'll never know until you try a bunch of different things."

Looking ahead

Kobel will graduate a semester early, thanks to AP credits and summer courses.

What are you most excited for in your last semester?

"To learn. I could have taken some easy classes to get through my requirements, but I wanted to challenge myself, so I took some advanced courses to get as much as I can out of my last semester. Of course, I'm also excited to see my friends again."

Do you feel prepared for what's next?

"Yes, but even more excited than prepared. I think that with my range of experiences I'm prepared to do anything."

Favorites

  • Professor: Associate Professor Shari Evans
  • Class: ENL 320: Major Author
  • Mentor: Associate Professor Laurel Hankins
  • Spot to eat: Birch Grill
  • Place to study: 3rd floor of the library
  • Hangout spot: Dorm rooms
  • Memory: The "Celebrating student research" conference. I'm proud of pushing myself outside my comfort zone to present at that twice
  • Event: The English department's "Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture"
  • Book: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  • Extracurricular: Working for University Marketing—it's the most diverse of my jobs