Still Outstanding

September 26, 2010

Like Kim Wolfe, this year's recipient of the Carol Lipson Outstanding Major Award, Caitlin Heikkila (2009) and Mary Gallagher(2008) won the prestigious Outstanding Major award for their success as writing majors in the Writing Program. Both Mary and Caitlin have accomplished a great deal since graduation and attribute their success to the support and attention of the faculty and staff in the Writing Program.

Caitlin HeikkilaCaitlin has recently picked up and moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn and is conveniently working a few blocks away from her apartment at a PR & Marketing firm called Mother Nature & Partners.  This company focuses their efforts on “the environment and corporate responsibility," which is something that Caitlin says is important to her.  Caitlin spends most of her time writing marketing materials for clients in addition to helping companies become more eco-friendly.  By trying her hand at social media and media outreach for the organization, as well as event planning, Caitlin has begun exploring other facets of the PR & Marketing world. 

When Caitlin moved to Brooklyn she began an entertaining blog entitled “Becoming Brooklyn,” which chronicles her transformation from a Manhattanite to a Brooklynite. Caitlin says that she loves Brooklyn because “there's really an entrepreneurial spirit here, with tons of small businesses—shops, restaurants, artists, etc.” something that seems to be right up her alley. Additionally, local bloggers around her neighborhood have recognized Caitlin for her witty commentary and stellar writing and have asked her to contribute to their sites as well.

Caitlin is also taking classes at Long Island University-Brooklyn Campus, working to get her Masters in Writing & Rhetoric. Caitlin attributes this great fit to the recommendation by the Writing Program Chair Eileen Schell. While finding time for work, class, blogging, and social life, Caitlin makes time to tutor ten hours a week at the Long Island University writing center: “I love reading others' writing pieces—not only because I like helping students, but also because I selfishly like learning from others' work!”

Mary Gallagher“I have no doubts that where I am today has been completely shaped and informed by my involvement in the Writing Program," Mary, another Outstanding Major award winner states, and it seems that Mary shares the same passion for writing consulting as Caitlin does. Today, Mary works as a coordinator in the Center for Academic Success at the Universities at Shady Grove in Maryland. She develops and presents workshops on study skills, time management, and writing. Moreover, Mary has begun working with the Disability Support Services and supervises Guided Study Sessions, a peer tutoring program. Mary reports that she has built collaborative relationships with the faculty and staff, and she has enjoyed growing as an academic support professional while watching her students grow as well.  

Mary attributes some of her success to the Writing Center practicum course that she took in the Writing Program, claiming that “life could be very different now if it wasn’t for the course.” The practicum course caused Mary, as a sophomore, to begin thinking about changing her major to her undiscovered passion—English. This vital collegiate turning point enabled Mary to find “an avocation [she] could craft into a vocation,” as well as allowing her to gain the experiences her current job now requires. 

“I built fantastic connections in the Writing Program,” Mary says, explaining how Writing Center Administrator Jason Luther encouraged her to apply for her current position. Mary affirms that the valuable advice, support, experience, contacts, and development opportunities from the Writing Program and its faculty were instrumental in helping her land the position she holds and loves today.

—story by Samantha Paige Stark, Writing Program Intern