Student Perspectives - Master of Professional Writing Program
Chatham professional writing masters students all come into the program with different educational backgrounds, lifestyle demands, and career aspirations. The Master of Professional Writing program's curriculum, faculty, online format, and structure offer advantages to our students. Read more from former and current students about what has stood out to them about the professional writing program.
My professors, peers, and challenges at Chatham offered a stimulating and enriching environment to help me reach my goals.
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"One of my most ambitious dreams throughout my childhood and young adult life was to be a professor – I was in love with the academic world and wanted to be surrounded by scholarly minds and continue my educational journey for life. Only six short months after completing the Professional Writing program at Chatham, that dream came true. At first, I was in disbelief. I'd been applying to various universities and colleges, but I was certain my lack of experience would push me to the bottom of the candidate list. Then I recalled my time at Chatham and realized the program more than qualified and prepared me – my knowledge was broad but focused. I'd studied everything from science and finance writing to digital and technical writing. I'd amassed an impressive portfolio and CV that showcased my skills and potential, and I was able to speak passionately and knowledgably about professional writing. The director of the writing program at my new university commented that my ideas and portfolio pieces were fresh and engaging, and she was excited to add a new angle to the writing program.
"My professors, peers, and challenges at Chatham offered a stimulating and enriching environment to help me reach my goals. I adored how substantial and diverse the program was – in only two years, I'd built my own website, started my own YouTube channel, created numerous blogs, published my own images, infographics, text, and videos on various media outlets, and learned everything from how to write a complete grant to how to design an entire college course. I found members of the program to be supportive and inspiring, challenging me to rethink my ideas and push myself to bigger and more thought-provoking heights. My favorite thing about the Professional Writing program at Chatham is its ability to truly cultivate its students for greatness – the myriad of challenges has enabled me to present myself as an asset to the workforce. Upon completion of the program, I work in both public relations and academics, and I am certain that the program's capacity for career preparation has brought me here."
– Breeanna Greska, MPW '16
One of the things I appreciated most about the program was the flexibility. As a working mother, 'busy' barely begins to describe my schedule.
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"What surprised and delighted me most about the program was that it covered far more than just putting words on paper. Technology is changing the way that people communicate. From classes on effective social media to visual design, Chatham's program gives you the tools needed to be successful.
"I chose the web content development concentration, which included courses on digital media and website design in addition to the core requirements. But whether you choose one of the concentrations or decide you'd rather be a generalist, you can tailor the program to suit your interests.
"My favorite course was Designing Digital Media. I started a blog for one of the class projects, but ended up loving it so much that I'm still blogging over a year later. The Client Project was also a great experience: doing a real-world project for a real client.
"One of the things I appreciated most about the program was the flexibility. As a working mother, 'busy' barely begins to describe my schedule. The online course format meant that I could view the class material on my own time. I remember one of the other students responding from her car between errands. The instructors were always quick to respond and help with any questions.
"Despite the lack of a physical classroom, I still felt camaraderie with the other students. Over the course of several classes, familiar names kept popping up. Reading, hearing and sometimes seeing each other's stories helped us to get to know each other. A few of us in Pittsburgh even met up for coffee a couple times."
– Linda Naughton, MPW '16
The MPW program at Chatham University doesn't just teach a subject; it hones a craft.
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"I came across this program three years after graduating from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in English. I had a long string of uninspiring entry-level jobs behind me and was searching for a way to bring my passion for the written word into my career. I looked at other Master's programs for writing, but none seemed to fill the business communications niche the way that Chatham University's does.
"I admit that I was nervous about foregoing the traditional classroom setting in pursuing a fully online degree, but my professors have all been incredibly accessible, helpful, and creative in how they use the tools available to them to create a sense of community among classmates. Actually, as a young professional working regular overtime, the ability to study and work from anywhere and on my own time turned out to be ideal. I found that the online format also teaches me to be self-directed in my education and training and adhere to deadlines as I would in a professional setting.
"Already I've begun to build my portfolio through assignments in classes like Writing for Digital Media, and I had the opportunity for publication when a blog I wrote for Introduction to Professional Writing was posted on Chatham University's professional writing blog. I recently gained full-time employment as well, because an employer saw the value of the skills I'd be building through this degree.
"The MPW program at Chatham University doesn't just teach a subject; it hones a craft. I've seen first-hand how fundamental communication is for businesses both internally and externally, visually and verbally, and I love that I'm learning to focus my penchant for communication towards such an important and practical application."
– Jenna Enright, MPW student
The flexibility offered through online classes was most appealing to me, for it allowed me to work and learn while maintaining a household and doing things I enjoy in life.
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"Choosing to enroll in the MPW program at Chatham was a big decision for me. I did a lot of research and comparison between different schools, course options, course content, instructor credentials, and cost. After carefully weighing options and assessing my career goals, I chose Chatham because it offered the most flexibility and best opportunity for me to finish a master's degree in less than two years.
"The flexibility offered through online classes was most appealing to me, for it allowed me to work and learn while maintaining a household and doing things I enjoy in life. Having this balance between education, work, and life proved beneficial in developing my writing philosophy and style.
"Introduction to Professional Writing, Technical Writing, Grant Writing, Web Design and Development I, and Professional Writing Portfolio were my favorite classes. The mix of theory and real-world assignments in these classes created a well-balanced learning experience. The Professional Writing Portfolio class allowed me to use skills I had learned throughout the program to build a digital writing portfolio, which I used in dealing with prospective employers. Feel free to view these samples at http://lawisniewskiwriter.com/. Required journal writing in the portfolio class also helped spark ideas for Nikki Jean, a book that I wrote and published shortly after graduating from the program.
"I also enjoyed material presented in Science and Environmental Writing, Teaching Technical Writing, and Business and Organizational Writing. These classes were a bit more challenging for me due to their formats, but the challenges presented provided opportunities for me to grow and broaden my skillset. Natural Deltas, the required blog I created for Science and Environmental Writing, is a project I have continued to develop with weekly posts viewed and liked by people around the world.
"The required peer reviews in each class were extremely helpful in developing my skills and understanding the needs of others. The course content made for many rich, deep, and thought-provoking conversations between classmates and instructors. Through these conversations, I was able to find my voice and gain confidence to share my thoughts, experiences, and goals. These conversations also provided opportunities to network, which is a critical aspect in today's digital writing world.
"Completing the MPW program has opened many doors for me as a writer and a person. The journey to becoming a writer has not been easy. However, I would not trade the experiences in the miles for anything. As Booker T. Washington so eloquently stated, 'Success is measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles that one has overcome while trying to succeed.'"
– Lisa Wisniewski, MPW '16