Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences English

Event Recap: “What I Wish I Had Known in Grad School” Alumni Panel

On October 26, current graduate students in the Department of English had the opportunity to listen to and learn from three SMU PhD in English alumnae now working outside of academia. The three alumnae discussed topics related to the prompt, “What I Wish I Had Known in Grad School,” particularly how they use their graduate school skills in their current alternative-academic (alt-ac) positions. Jennifer Boulanger (’13) is now an esteemed Upper School English teacher at The Hockaday School here in Dallas. Dr. Boulanger shared her experiences as a high-school level instructor at a prestigious private school while also maintaining her connections to medieval studies. Summer Hamilton (’23) is the Digital Projects Designer and Assistant Research Professor of Digital Scholarship at Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Hamilton told the graduate students about her trajectory from entering the English graduate program with a degree in computer science, to teaching at The Hockaday School, to joining the digital scholarship team at Pennsylvania State. Finally, Kelsey Kiser (’19) is a Content Producer and Project Manager at the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies here at SMU. Dr. Kiser discussed her shifting career plans due to COVID, and how the skills she gained from her PhD inform her current role at the Moody School. The panel was an informative and encouraging opportunity for current graduate students to see how they can use their doctorates if they choose not to pursue traditional opportunities in academia. The panel was followed by a catered reception at Professor Bonnie Wheeler’s residence.