[jenniferc.jpg]For Jenny Connelly, a Beloit College English degree opens doors to more than literature. It leads to success in the professional world. “I was always interested in taking English into the ‘real world,’” Jenny says. “I needed to find a way to negotiate my love of reading and writing and put it into another context.”
At Beloit, she’s done just that. Her “first real taste of the business world” came though Allen-Bradley Professor of Economics Jeff Adams. With Jeff’s help, Jenny secured a summer internship at Beloit’s student-run market research firm, Belmark Associates.
With Belmark, Jenny interviewed local company leaders, exploring ways to promote economic growth in the city of Beloit. “It helped me develop business-type communication skills,” she says. Her work culminated in a slideshow used by Beloit’s City Center. “That was where I got to exercise my English skills,” she explains.
Chances to apply her talents didn’t stop there. Belmark was a stepping stone toward another role: a sales assistant at a $23 million company outside of New York City. Owned by two Beloit College alumni, it gave Jenny invaluable communications experience. “I felt like I was out in the world using the skills Beloit had given me to affect people’s lives.”
Jenny’s skills stem, in part, from Beloit’s emphasis on independent thought. “Professors are open to students being interpretive on their own terms and coming up with creative ways to express themselves,” she says.
Among Jenny’s favorite independent opportunities is her senior thesis. Working one-on-one with Associate Professor of English Lisa Haines Wright, Jenny is studying gender in British literature. “It’s allowed me to take the literary theory I’ve built up and channel it into a project of my own making,” she says.
While she’s honed her English skills, she’s also found time for Spanish. She approached fluency studying abroad in Barcelona. Jenny loved the immersion, but the large university made her appreciate Beloit’s teaching. “I missed feeling like my professors were my partners in education and—in a slightly formal sense—my friends,” she says. The university’s lecture style also reminded her why she chose Beloit: “I wanted to take charge of my education and not be a passive recipient of information.”
Now, Jenny approaches graduation with purpose. “What I want to do is going to involve communication and trying to make the world a better place in some way, as Beloit teaches us,” she says. Beloit also taught Jenny that her talents are widely applicable. “Until I came here, I didn’t realize how many different jobs there are. There are so many that you can apply communication skills to that are perfectly interesting and offer the chance to make a difference without being on that list of firefighter, police officer, doctor, lawyer.”