Alumni Updates

                                                              Alumni:  Let Us Know What’s New in Your Life

Martinelle Allen
English Teacher Abroad, Shenzhen China

Woman in a t-shirt riding a camel in the desert.What have you been up to since you were a student at Marymount?

Since graduating in 2013, I took the next step in my personal and professional life and moved to China and continued my career as a high school English teacher. As a result, I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world and collect entry stamps in my passport from countries like Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Spain, South Africa and Egypt, to name a few! I love seeing part of the world that I only saw in movies, or that were supposed to be set in beautiful, exotic, and historic places. I grew up in a small town and I knew that one day I’d get my passport and collect as many stamps in it as possible!

What challenges or obstacles did you face in your academic career?

In addition to being a full time graduate student, I worked as a graduate assistant and taught high school reading and math part time. Juggling my professional and academic responsibilities was rigorous at times. I’ve never had to be more diligent about managing my time than when I was studying at Marymount!

I woke up early so that I could be on time to work in the morning. I used my planning period wisely to complete all my documents for the week. If I had any spare time during my planning period, I could complete the homework readings and type my responses for class assignments. I ate dinner before classes started and after classes ended, I’d go home and start the day all over again.

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Courtney Dorsey
School Social Worker, Ricardo Flores Magon Academy

What have you been up to since you were a student at Marymount?

Wow. For me that is a loaded question. I feel like I have been up to so many things since graduating. But I am assuming that I should share my successes since folks in the DC/NOVA area love to ask, “What do you do?” When really they mean… How do you make money? Anyway, I am actually stoked with my job, so I feel compelled to share.

Since graduating from Marymount in 2014, I moved to Denver, Colorado, and this past June I earned my masters degree in social work (MSW) from the University of Denver. I am currently employed at Ricardo Flores Magon Academy (RFMA) as their school social worker. The students are awesome. I work with youth ages kindergarten through 8th grade. The majority of the population at RFMA are 95% hispanic and/or Latina(o). The executive director ensures that the teachers, staff, and administration honor their culture and incorporate texts, history, etc that aren’t white washed. I work with the learning services team to help develop behavioral plans for at-risk youth who need more support and structure in their day so they can grow their social emotional skills and be an active member of the classroom. I also do one-on-one therapy sessions with youth, restorative circles, as well as work closely with youth’s families. Sometimes a family will need help finding resources in the area while other times the family is seeking therapeutic guidance for how to best support their child’s needs at home and at school. What I appreciate the most about my job is that every day is different, I am always busy, and our school motto is to uphold and honor social justice. Our school colors are a rainbow. I love it.

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Kaylun Bryant
J.D. Candidate, University of Alabama School of Law

What have you been up to since you were a student at Marymount?

A few days after I graduated, I started studying for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). I decided that I wanted to attend law school at the end of my sophomore year. I thoroughly enjoyed researching, writing, and problem solving; a legal career seemed to be the best route for me. It was not until I graduated that I realized how much effort is required to get into law school.

Studying for the LSAT was like prepping for a black-belt test—nothing but practice (Luckily, I’ve already earned a black belt). Studying was my full-time job for a little more than three months. Law school applications are highly competitive and I dreamt of attending the University of Alabama School of Law. I took the LSAT in September and received my results about a month later.

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Carlos Benavides
Assistant District Attorney of Hidalgo County, Texas

What have you been up to since you were a student at Marymount?
I’m an Assistant District Attorney of Hidalgo County, TX.  The county consists of twenty-two cities and is the eighth most populous county in Texas. I, along with my co-prosecutors, handle the prosecution of criminal defendants.

I worked at a private oil and gas company and a law firm after graduating from Marymount University. In 2010 I applied to and was accepted by St. Mary’s University School of Law. I graduated with my J.D. in 2013 and decided to take a job doing ranch work for a year before sitting for the Texas State Bar Exam.

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J-Lynn Van Pelt
Director of Reading for Pre-K through 12th grades
Friendship Public Charter Schools, Washington, DC 

What have you been up to since you were a student at Marymount?
I taught English for 7 years in Arlington, VA and got my  Masters in Reading from The University of Virginia in 2006.  Also in 2006, I earned National Board Certification for Early Adolescence English/Language Arts from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.  I continued my graduate studies at the University of Nevada, Reno, while teaching undergrad and graduate literacy classes and running the E.L. Cord Center for Learning and Literacy.  When my Ph.D. program was closed due to budget cuts, I left the University and co-founded The Honors Academy of Literature, a K-8 Charter School in downtown Reno.  I was the Director of Programs and Middle School Principal from 2012-2015.  In 2014, I received the Innovator of the Year award from the Charter School Association of Nevada for advocacy in library services for Charter Schools, which culminated in founding the Liz Warner Love of Learning Library.

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Jeb D. Butler

Director of Admissions at Columbia Law School

Jeb_ButlerWhat have you been up to since you were a student at Marymount?
Upon graduation from Marymount, I earned my M.A. in English Literature from Boston College and was a Lecturer in the English Departments at both Boston College and Wheelock College. In 2007, I relocated to New York and transitioned into admissions at New York University. At NYU, I served as an Admissions Officer, Assistant Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, and Associate Director of Admissions before accepting my position at Columbia Law School in 2011.
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Angela White, Class of 2014
Metadata Writer, Crawford Media Services

What have you been up to since you were a student at Marymount?
AfterAngela White graduating I extended my hours at a part time job that I was working with during the school year and applied to local full time positions in the media field. Three months later I started working full time as an IP Content Coordinator at SiriusXM Satellite Radio, the same company and division that I had interned for in the Spring. I worked at Sirius for just over a year before deciding to change my career route and pursue working on a freelance basis. This move came in part to finding out that I was pregnant with my second child and in part to frustration with my commute and work schedule. After leaving Sirius, I soon began working from home as an independent contractor for a company called Crawford Media Services. I am currently working part time as a metadata writer, providing descriptions and keyword tags for archived video assets.

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Eric Brooks, Class of 2015
8th Grade Language Arts teacher,  Aberdeen Middle School in Northern Maryland

What have you been up to since you were a student at Marymount?

Eric BrooksAfter graduating from Marymount I quickly started looking for teaching jobs. I’ve been teaching 8th grade since August teaching the subject I love (literature) and trying to share my enthusiasm with my students.

What are you working on now and what are you most proud of?
Currently I am still trying to find a good balance between work and my personal life. I still take time to do the things I am passionate about, such as writing, and I currently assist with my school’s Drama club. In teaching there are proud moments (as well as frustrations) every day. Seeing my students grow reminds me of why I wanted to be a teacher in the first place. Just recently I had a conversation with a student who expressed his frustrations with reading from day one, and just the other day he told me he read To Kill a Mockingbird independently in a matter of days!  I am also very proud to have gotten one of my students hooked on Edgar Allen Poe.

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Adrianne Morris, Class of 2012
Adjunct Professor & Online Editor

Adrianne MorrisWhat have you been up to since you were a student at Marymount?  Life has been busy! After Marymount, I went to George Mason for graduate school, and recently earned a Master of Professional Writing & Rhetoric (PWR). I also worked full time at 5 O’Clock Publishing as a managing editor while in graduate school. Not long ago, I was accepted to Mason’s PhD program in PWR, and started teaching adjunct at Mason.

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Angela Michelle Bolger, Class of 2009 (MA)
Fairfax County Public Library Page
Michelle & Anne Bolger*Volunteer Researcher, the Virginia Room, City of Fairfax Regional Library
*Volunteer Genealogist, the Civil War Interpretive Center at the Historic Blenheim Site
*Volunteer Museum Worker, Fairfax Museum and Visitors’ Center
*Volunteer, the Information Desk, City of Fairfax Regional Library

What have you been up to since you were a student at Marymount?
After leaving Marymount University, I received a full tuition scholarship to the Catholic University of America to earn a Master’s Degree in Library Science.  Part of this scholarship entailed working full-time in the Reference Department at CUA’s Mullen Library.  Since graduating from CUA, I have been doing paging work at the George Mason Regional Library, a branch of Fairfax County. 

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Emily Dewey ’09 M.A. in Literature and Language
Technical writer for federal defense contractor
“My graduate education helped me develop a diverse set of highly portable tools: analytical abilities, oral and written communication skills and self-management strategies. All are key to my success in this job interacting with people from a variety of backgrounds, from engineers to U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel. My Marymount education also gave me something invaluable: I became a confident and well-educated professional.”
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Amy Flessert  Class of 2014  M.A. in English  – Language & Composition track
TECC Graduate Certificate Instructor of English,
Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA)

Amy Flessert was the English department’s 2014 Outstanding Graduate Student and the Marymount’s 2014 graduate student commencement speaker. She is an Instructor of English at Northern Virginia Community College.
Why did you choose Marymount for your master’s? “Marymount had rolling admissions so I could start my degree in January rather than wait until August. Assistantship opportunities helped pay for my degree, plus I could pursue the certificate program concurrently with my master’s program. I really wanted to get to know my professors and make close, individual contact, and the small, intimate program allowed me to do that.”
How have you used your MU degree in your career? “At Marymount I earned both an M.A. in English (Language & Composition track) and a graduate certificate in Teaching English at the Community College. My MU professors arranged my practicum course so that I could work directly with the head of the Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) composition program. That combination of graduate coursework, theory, and practice made me a much more confident instructor. Just weeks after I graduated from Marymount, I was selected, over many Ph.Ds, for a full-time position at NOVA. Marymount faculty supported and encouraged me each step of the process: writing letters of recommendation, mentoring my teaching, helping me be the best prepared job candidate I could be. Less than a year after graduating from MU, I’m now a permanent faculty member, on track to become an Assistant Professor of English at NOVA, and I’m certain I would not have this job without my MU experiences.”
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Ed Aymar  Class of 2011 M.A. in English Literature
Track Marketing Supervisor, C-SPAN, Book Review Columnist,  Novelist and fiction writer
Ed Aymar, a Marketing Supervisor for C-SPAN and columnist for Washington Independent Review of Books, drafted part of his debut novel, I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead (Black Opal Books, 2013), while a master’s student at Marymount. His second novel is You’re As Good As Dead (Black Opal Books, 2015).

Why did you choose Marymount for your master’s?
I received my bachelor’s at a large public university, and I was looking for a more personal environment for my graduate studies. Marymount is friendly and the faculty are involved, and I really loved that approach. Moreover, the program takes full advantage of D.C.’s proximity and resources, far beyond any expectations. We did research at the Library of Congress and went to lectures, poetry readings, and play performances. Relatively, Marymount is a small university, but it’s one with big ideas. I remember leaving each class session feeling inspired, everything I learned still bouncing around in my head, destined to take root.
How have you used your MU degree in your career?
Creative writing assignments in my M.A. program fed directly into publications, including a short story and my first novel. But MU’s focus on literary analysis was also beneficial to me. Marymount’s graduate faculty in English taught me how to construct a written argument and read a text more thoroughly than I ever had—skills I rely on in my marketing job at C-SPAN and in writing my book review column. As we hurry toward new technologies, every career field will undergo significant changes. To embrace the changes and take smart risks, you have to be able to analyze from multiple perspectives. Getting my M.A. in English at Marymount gave me a true understanding of analysis and introduced me to the excitement of learning new ideas.

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