Alumni - Samantha Erickson

alumni-Samantha Erickson.jpgThe Wiki Education Foundation is a San Francisco based non-profit that supports the integration of Wikipedia into academia. We run a Classroom Program where professors assign their students to edit Wikipedia as part of their grade, a Visiting Scholars program where Wikipedian's are given access to library resources at universities like UC Davis and encouraged to edit Wikipedia articles using those digital resources, and more. 
 
As the Outreach Manager for the Wiki Education Foundation I lead our external facing communication with interested institutions, instructors, and students to increase participation in Wiki Ed's programs.
 
Before I started at Wiki Ed, I worked with the Carnegie Foundation of the Advancement of Teaching. And before that, I received my Master of Arts in Education from UC Berkeley.
 
I'll start at the beginning. 
 
I applied for graduate school in 2011 as an undergraduate. With no real job history, my application consisted mostly of my personal essay and my writing samples. After I was admitted to UC Berkeley, my graduate school advisor said he had wanted to admit me based purely on his review of my application. That's how well written it was. 
 
After grad school, my first job interview at the Carnegie Foundation had me proofreading and rewriting email, grant proposal, and press release text. In just the first 30 minutes of my interview, it became clear that these tasks were required by every employee during their interview process because they so valued good writing and communication.
 
At Wiki Ed, after my interview process, I learned that my cover letter was what stood out most in my application, and why they had called me in for an interview in the first place. 
 
The main theme here is that my writing skills, which were honed and improved throughout 4 years at UC Davis in the English department, were an integral part of reaching each new phase of my life. Without them, I may not have been admitted to grad school. I may not have found my first job. I may not have been considered for my second. 
 
I am eternally grateful for the critical thinking, historical knowledge, and writing skills I received during my studies at UC Davis and would recommend a degree in English to any student looking for a way to bridge their passions to the real world. The skills I learned while studying English have been appreciated by every employer I've had, and I'm sure will continue to help me excel in my career moving forward.