After graduating from GW in 2005, I served in the Americorps VISTA program for one year as a Development Assistant with a non-profit organization, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT). SAALT’s mission is to increase civic participation among South Asian Americans and advocate on the national level on issues that impact the South Asian American community, such as comprehensive immigration reform. My work at SAALT exposed me to public policy and inspired me to learn more about its development and impact on people’s lives.
I have served as Staff Assistant for Congressman Elijah Cummings for the past 18 months. I provide constituent services in Congressman Cummings’ Baltimore City district office in the areas of employment, healthcare and transportation. The skills I developed as an English major are vital to providing excellent constituent service. I have to be able to communicate effectively when I speak with constituents or represent Congressman Cummings at community meetings. I also organize district events such as an annual job fair and a health fair to provide direct assistance to constituents. I use the skills I cultivated at GW every single day when I analyze constituent requests, communicate with federal agencies, and plan events.
English proved to be a versatile degree because it helped me to cultivate analytical, critical thinking, and writing skills. My GW training helped me develop the ability to express my thoughts in a concise, persuasive, and thoughtful manner. Majoring in English also taught me to be patient and focused whether it was learning to revise a paper several times, attempting to wrap my head around the theories of Derrida or trying to understand Chaucer’s Middle English. I had to learn not to simply give up when I did not understand something right away.
I had a wonderful experience with the English Department. I learned about the works of several authors from varying time periods. I especially enjoyed reading thought-provoking novels rather than the dry textbooks of other disciplines. Though I have to admit that when I first signed up for Medieval Literature, I was expecting it to be boring, but Professor Cohen made it one of the most interesting and engaging classes that I took at GW. Professor Cohen has a way of highlighting themes and breaking down texts in such a way that they are relevant and pull you into their narrative. I also enjoyed the courses I took with Professor Daiya on Post Colonial Literature as well as African American Literature with Professor Miller.
I am planning on attending graduate school in the next few years and possibly focusing on the area of public policy. I never would have pictured myself doing what I am doing now but I am enjoying it. Everyday is a challenge and I never know what people are going to ask us to assist them with, but I know that I can draw upon the skills I developed at GW to help tackle the task at hand.
Congratulations to Madhur on all her success after graduating!