Hope ChartersHello, I’m Hope Charters, a book lover, decision hater, proud Boilermaker, and Oxford comma enthusiast. People are much more complex than words on a screen, so in lieu of a traditional personal bio, I’ll share some of my core beliefs: education transforms lives, kindness is powerful, social justice advocacy is essential, volunteering feeds the soul, brownies are God’s gift to humanity, and descriptive grammar should not be frowned upon.

I currently work as a marketing and communications coordinator within the College of Engineering at Purdue. I’ve taken a few professional detours to get to where I am, and I’m still not done exploring the options that a degree in liberal arts has granted me. After graduating in 2012 (Boiler Up!) with a bachelor’s degree in English Education, I taught in an underprivileged school district in Indianapolis. Although I loved my first year of teaching English and helping children learn to navigate language as one of the biggest barriers to social mobility, I decided to continue my studies and seek out new experiences.

In May 2017, I earned a master’s degree in English and a graduate certificate in teaching writing from Indiana University. A non-thesis route and my foundational knowledge from Purdue allowed me to infuse my studies with a broad range of courses, heavily emphasizing teaching writing and technical communication. Following my teaching stint, I became a senior production manager for a college magazine at IUPUI before accepting a position as a technical communications manager for a small start-up and then eventually moving back to Boilermaker country to work in marketing and communications. My experiences up to this point have proven that the career possibilities for liberal arts majors are endless.

Who is/was your favorite English professor at Purdue?
Professor Tara Star Johnson was wonderful. In our final two blocks, she encouraged my cohort to dig deep, confront the tough aspects of teaching English at the secondary level, and support each other in our journeys. We frequently practiced seeing the world, our teaching, and our content through different lenses. My time in her classroom was invaluable

What is an interesting Heavilon Hall memory (or just one from the campus generally)?
Our action research project presentations on the last day of class before student teaching during Tara’s class will always be a fun and special memory to me. One of the students in our cohort brought in his guitar and presented his metacognitive instruction research results through song. To this day, he continues to use his creativity to incorporate his singing and guitar playing into his passion for teaching English. 

How has your English major helped you in your professional career?
The foundational knowledge and skills I gained at Purdue set me up for the success I have experienced since graduation. There is a myth that liberal arts graduates can’t get jobs… I haven’t had a single day of unemployment since I graduated from Purdue. Here are some of the skills the College of Liberal Arts helped me refine:

Thinking critically. Being able to analyze, ask good questions, and challenge the status quo are key skills in any job. My critical thinking skills have led me to improve office efficiency through initiatives that I have led in almost every position I have held since graduating.

Respecting diversity of thought. Appreciating viewpoints that fall outside your own, and being able to respond constructively and with respect, is the basis for being able to work effectively with people from every background imaginable.

Removing the fluff. Many jobs require you to sort through complex information in various formats, pull out the most significant portions, synthesize, and report your findings in a concise manner. Writing research papers and literary analyses definitely helped me hone that skill and prepared me for the numerous communications-based and data-driven tasks I have completed since graduation.

Who is your favorite author and/or what are you currently reading?
I’m currently re-reading Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned by Walter Mosley and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Both novels are timely and relevant to the current political climate and the problems our society is facing. It’s interesting to read them a second time through a more critical and defined lens of social justice.

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