Professional Writing Majors Move On To Diverse Careers 

The Professional Writing program prepares students for an array of careers, and this year’s group of graduating students are proof of the program’s success in meeting students’ diverse interests.

Sarah Elizabeth Clark

Sarah Elizabeth Clark completed her degree in December 2021 and entered a position at Epic, the healthcare software company. Sarah became a Professional Writing major in spring 2020. As indicated by her graduating with Summa Cum Laude honors, she excelled in the full range of professional writing courses. For her senior project and ePortfolio, Sarah studied “The Online Communities of Epic.” Her detailed analyses, like her degree overall, well-prepared her for being a Project Manager with Epic. Dr. Richard Matzen, the Director of her Senior Project, says how much he “enjoyed our explorations of intertextuality affecting persuasion in digital environments, universal design on the web, and user engagement in online communities.”

Maddie Taylor always liked writing and making up stories, but she never thought her hobby could translate to a career if she wasn’t interested in writing novels. Woodbury, she says, showed her “writing is way more than that.” She completed her thesis her junior year, a chapbook called Paper Directions in honor of her dad, who passed away when she was thirteen. It was a group of poems about her grief, how she felt, and how she coped. Maddie appreciated the College of Liberal Arts and Woodbury community because of the encouragement it gave her to move outside of her comfort zone. She has applied that confidence to her internship in the copywriting department at L’ange, a popular hair care line, which reflects her passion for the beauty industry. Her goal is to turn her internship into a full-time position.

Ria Villegas

Ria Villegas, Dr. Linda Dove says, “is an astounding writer and editor.” This is visible in her many accomplishments during her time at Woodbury. Her first published works included two pieces of poetry, a flash fiction piece, a blog post, an interview with the L.A. poet Luivette Resto, a non-fiction essay on Doctor Who, and two poetry chapbook reviews, one on Donna Vorreyer’s To Everything There Is and the other on Danielle Rose’s at first & then.

She served as Editor-in-Chief of Woodbury’s online MORIA, Literary Magazine, for its seventh issue “Stranger than Fiction” and is completing a publishable-quality chapbook of poems as her senior thesis project entitled beholding. “In addition to all her many academic achievements and the accolades she has received for them,” Dr. Dove says, “Ria is a humble, sensitive, caring person with a cutting wit and a profound sense of empathy.” A tireless student, Ria was involved in numerous campus activities. She is Vice President of the Woodbury University Music Association, was on the staff of 7500, Woodbury’s arts and entertainment magazine regularly participated in the Verse Come, Verse Serve open mic poetry readings, and served as a tutor helping other students hone their writing.

She credits her success to “the atmosphere of support cultivated by the students, faculty, and staff of the College of Liberal Arts.” In particular, the encouragement and feedback she received from faculty mentors helped her become a better writer and more knowledgeable person. What she’ll cherish the most, however, are the friendships she made. Post-graduation, Ria will pursue work as a developmental editor. “During my time in creative writing classes and as a tutor in Woodbury’s Writing Center,” Ria says, “I found that I love helping others develop their creative ideas and seeing their projects through to completion.”

Jay McPherson (who we featured in our February 2022 newsletter) was an especially grounded and yet provocative member of the MORIA Literary Magazine’s team as Editor-in-Chief for Issue Five and Program Manager for Issue Four. He always knew what submissions he liked and wanted to include in the magazine and knew why–which is not always easy for many members of the editorial team to articulate. Jay, Dr. Linda Dove says, is “a natural leader; he holds opinions, he listens, he challenges, he compromises.”

He is going to go places and do big things.” Jay’s senior thesis, a chapbook of poems entitled tomboy, is an unflinchingly personal look at navigating through his trans experience. He addresses the language that does not exist for his particular human condition and demands better; in fact, he makes the changes he needs to see to believe in the very words he must use to describe it.

Owen Roberts was a steady and supportive editor of MORIA Literary Magazine for Issues Four and Five. His photography skills were unparalleled and spoke to his creative mind more generally. He brought his expertise with the visual arts to his work with language as well, as the poetry he wrote in a workshop class was very devoted to the image–luminous and full of meaning. Owen, “always wrote from the heart,” Dr. Linda Dove says, “but with a particular aptitude for form and traditional structures and sound. It was always a pleasure having him in class.”

Congratulations to all our 2021-2022 Professional Writing graduates!


Last Updated on May 6, 2022. 

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