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Professional Writing: Communicating through the Page

Professional Writing Update
Hannah Bryan

As a high school student, Hannah Bryan (Professional Writing ’20) was encouraged by an English teacher to participate in a short story writing contest. The experience gave her a desire to keep writing. Now, as a news reporter for Sanilac County News and Jeffersonian, she covers local interest stories.

“The journalism classes (PW 325–326) were a helpful introduction to what I do now,” she said. “I could have easily been intimidated when starting interviews, but I had already conducted several interviews for classes. I had the confidence that I knew what I was doing. As much as the deadlines stressed me out in college, I’m grateful for them now. I’ve learned to manage my own time well and be professional in all of my interactions.”

When earning a bachelor’s in English with a professional writing concentration, students form and build on foundational skills in grammar, usage, and diction. They learn how to edit and hone their writing to communicate clearly in both Christian and secular writing settings through capstone projects such as Professional Writing Portfolio, Fountains student publication, and an internship.

Marie Thompson

“While we very much want our students to write fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, our degree focuses on having a solid understanding of the English language to excel in editing, a valued skill in the workplace,” said Chair of Humanities Marie Thompson. “Most businesses who allow our students to serve as interns write back and ask me to send more interns! I’m very proud of our professional writing students and the various ways they are using the gift of writing to serve the Lord.”

Dustin Brady

Dustin Brady (Commercial Writing ’08) had always wanted to write children’s books like those he loved growing up. While he went into journalism after college, he didn’t lose sight of his dream. Since first being published in 2016, Dustin’s books, the Trapped in a Video Game series, have sold over one million copies and been translated into nine languages. “I didn’t start working on my first book until eight years after college,” he explained. “In those eight years, God led me to several different careers and provided me with ministry opportunities that gave me skills I use every day. God knows what we need well before we ever do.”

While his career initially drew from his journalism classes, Dustin later pulled from his creative writing classes (EN 301, 401) when writing his books. “That’s one of the strengths of PCC’s professional writing program,” he said. “Students get a breadth of knowledge that will serve them well in all types of writing careers.”

Zach Jewell

As a recent graduate, Zach Jewell (Professional Writing ’21) volunteers as a reporter and writer for a startup media ministry, Is There a Cause. In August, he also had a children’s story published in Focus on the Family’s magazine, Clubhouse Jr. “I chose [to study at] PCC because it gave me a liberal arts education from a Christian worldview for a price I could afford without taking on student debt,” he said. “But PCC proved to be much more than just that. It also gave me the opportunity to meet and build friendships that will continue the rest of my life.”

Sarah Eshelman

For nearly two years, Sarah Eshleman (Commercial Writing ’08) has been the editor-in-chief of Answers magazine, a publication from Answers in Genesis. Her experiences in Advanced Copywriting (PW 404) helped her become familiar with the processes she works with today. “During my senior year, I served as the senior editor of Fountains, PCC’s literary publication,” she said. “Managing a small group of students and manuscripts probably prepared me more than I know for the work I do now. (Editing a magazine and keeping authors and reviewers on deadline is like herding cats.) But PCC’s emphasis on editing and grammar definitely gave me the skills I needed to thrive.”

The professional writing concentration is a well-rounded and ministry-minded program, helping writers inspire hope in others. “The hope of the world is Jesus, and the best writing always acknowledges Him,” said Marie Thompson. “I often find myself praying that God would raise up great men and women of God who leave PCC and become the next generation of Christian writers who give Christianity a voice and who write for God’s glory.”