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Featured Alumni

Laura Trujillo

MARC Alumnus Laura Trujillo

Q: Tell me about your current job.

A: I am currently a Content Strategist Fellow in the Design, Technology, and Innovation (DTI) Fellows Program for the City of Austin. I partner with City departments to improve their workflows and implement solutions for their content to make it more accessible for residents. Another big part of my role is coaching our partners on the content strategy so that they are empowered to take over at the end of each project. We work hard to make the changes sustainable and give each department's recommendations for moving forward.

Q: How did the MARC program help you secure this position?

A: The MARC program emphasizes strategic (rhetorical) thinking, writing that meets audience needs, collaboration, and inclusion. These abilities have been critical to my success in the DTI program and have served me well working and writing for the city.

Shane Teague

Image of MARC alumnus Shane Teague

Q: Tell me about your current job

A: I currently hold a position as a copywriter and the head of writing at Chewy Studios Dallas, where we create video content made for web consumption. These videos describe and demonstrate the products sold on for our diverse audience of pet parents.

Q: How did the MARC program help you secure this position?

A: My MARC degree came up early and often during the long interview process I went through with Chewy. Shari Lefler, the head of writing and associate head of creative for Chewy Studios, spent a large majority of our interview discussing my MA, focusing particularly on the teaching experience I gained in the program and actually defining the work of rhetoric and composition. I think it just so happens that Chewy was looking for someone who could lead a team of writers and build a creative department in Dallas from the ground up. The teaching experience I gained and my personal focus on pedagogy during my time in the MARC helped me develop the type of skills e-commerce companies like Chewy look for in those who would lead their creative teams, including collaborative ability, commentary skills, and a big picture mindset.

Q: What MARC knowledge and skills are instrumental to succeeding in this position?

A: Following from my last answer, I think the knowledge and skills most important to my success in this position come from the subject matter of a degree in rhetoric and composition. My teaching experience and those related skills are important, but the rhetorical sensibility and eye for overall composition developed in programs like the MARC are pivotal. Rhetorical attunement to context, audience, and subject are extremely important in positions like mine, where each of the aforementioned facets of the rhetorical situation changes with every product you write about. Furthermore, in a position that requires you to create tight, short compositions of no more than 25 words and 20 seconds, the skills you pick up studying comp theory in the MARC are priceless. The process of completing this degree instills in you a hypersensitivity to the overall composition you’re creating and/or analyzing at any given moment. In short, just doing the degree without any particular focus on discrete skills exposes you to the type of knowledge I refer to every day in my work.

Q: What advice do you have for current students and those who are considering a graduate degree in rhetoric and composition?

A: I’m risking being cliché here, but my first bit of advice is to just start saying yes to things. Don’t overextend yourself, but take on big projects, seek out responsibilities, and make time to hang out with your colleagues. I was always the type to find a reason to say “no” before I started the MARC, but when I got to San Marcos and got that piece of advice from Taylor Cortesi, I saw my whole experience in the MARC change as I really became invested in the department and the program. Following from that, my second bit of advice is to actually commit. Whatever you’re doing in the MARC, do it whole ass, never half. That seems like it shouldn’t need to be said, but that commitment is a conscious decision I believe MARC students need to make early in the program. It’ll help you stay on track later. But also remain open to change. Beyond all that, submit conference proposals (and get funding squared away early), try to publish book reviews, try to develop real relationships with faculty, and make sure to go to $2 you-call-it week at Treff’s every month.