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English Alumni Profiles

  • Ian McGinnity

    Ian McGinnity graduated from Gannon University in 2007 earning his Bachelor of Arts in English and Political Science with a minor in Journalism. Proceeding his education at Gannon, Ian attended Slippery Rock University where he earned his Master's Degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education. Since July of 2014, Ian has worked at the University of Tampa as the Director of Community Engagement. Three years later, he became the Director of the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement. Additionally, Ian teaches a First Year Experience Course each semester while he also supervises three fulltime staff members and six student coordinators. He is also the co-chair of the University of Tampa's newly formed Civic Engagement Coalition.

    Ian directs the PEACE Volunteer Center, Bonner Leader Program and Leadership Awards Nights. The PEACE Volunteer Center student staff members plan local service projects each week, on-campus events, and nine annual Alternative Break trips that focus on different social issues. Ian has advised trips to the Everglades, Apopka, Florida; Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Morocco. The Bonner Leadership Program is a national program in which students who qualify for financial aid work at non-profit agencies and participate in weekly trainings. Leadership Awards night is an annual event at the University of Tampa that honors students, student organizations, faculty and staff.

    Upon reflection, Ian shares four skills he feels his English Degree has helped him with including communicating, working in teams, being comfortable with ambiguity and critical thinking:

    • Being comfortable with ambiguity
      • "There is not a direct path for English majors, instead there are many options.  In a field like Student Affairs, each day is different and there are multiple ways to support and mentor students."
    • Working in teams
      • "Group projects and study sessions are closely connected to teamwork in the workplace.  A large part of my job is working with others to plan and implement experiences ranging from weekly trainings to service trips."
    • Communicating
      • "This skill is critical and includes sending and responding to e-mails, facilitating meetings, writing reports and letters of recommendation, teaching a weekly class, supervising others and forming collaborations.  Forming professional relationships with colleagues and students is maintained through open and effective communication."
    • Critical Thinking
      • "Challenges arise each day.  Some involve how to assist a student while others are focused on budgets and resources.  It's important to analyze the challenge, review the next possible steps and decide on the best solution.  Interpreting texts is similar to this process.  In addition, synthesizing large amounts of information is helpful when reviewing applicants, proposals, and strategic plans."

    Ben Speggen

    Ben Speggen graduated from Gannon University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature/Letters. In 2009, he furthered his education earning his Master of Arts in English Language and Literature/Letters, also from Gannon University. Mr. Speggen currently serves as the Vice President of the Jefferson Educational Society in Erie, Pennsylvania, a non-profit institution founded to promote civic enlightenment, and community progress for the Erie Region through the study, research, discussion of those ideas and events that have influenced the human condition. Two of the Society's newest initiatives involve its Satellite Programming and Scholar-In-Residence. The recognizing that location can pose as a barrier to educational programming, the Satellite Programming in Corry, Edinboro, Fairview, and Northeast will nearly double the amount of programs the society offers annually. These programs are free and open to the public thanks to the support of Erie Insurance. Through hosting Scholar-in-Residence, the Society can actualize the potential of the Jefferson Educational Society think tank more fully. To quote Mr. Speggen, "We'll have dedicated people focusing on specific areas of scholarship to produce publications and offer public presentations to take deeper, more guided dives into topics ranging from Erie history, to economic development, to immigration, to race relations, to environment, to leadership, and more."  In addition to his position with the Jefferson Educational Society, Mr. Speggen also works as a copy editor for a copywriting company where he edits content that includes production company website text, wine blogs, listicles and more.  He believes that this opportunity has allowed him to stay sharp in his skills and learn new things.

    Mr. Speggen feels his English degree has prepared him to think critically, research, and accurately report findings. He believes that English majors are rarely without career options and an opportunity to grow. According to Mr. Speggen, "It [his English degree] encourages scholars to actively consider and reflect on the human condition." He adds, that in turn, "[this has] led to a passion to find new ways to improve it." 

    Sherry Jordan

    Sherry Jordan graduated from Penn State University earning her Bachelor of Science in Accounting with a minor in English. In 2010, Sherry was missing her English coursework and made the decision to enroll in one Master's level course at Gannon University: Women's Rhetoric from a Feminist Perspective, taught by Dr. Penny Smith. She shares, "The essays and concepts we studied resonated powerfully with me, and I chose to earn the full Master's degree after that course."

    While completing her Master's degree, Sherry remained connected to her accounting profession and during that time met a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) who specialized in business valuation. After learning Sherry was a writer, she was recruited immediately to his firm to assist with business valuations and litigation support. She adds, "Both [are] niche areas in public accounting that require the combined skills of storytelling and report writing. I am not a lawyer, but my role might best compare to that."

    Currently, Sherry serves as the CEO and President of Jordan Financial Consulting and Coaching, a company built on sixteen years of experience in the public accounting field. The company's services include: income tax and bookkeeping services evolving to its present, niche and boutique focus, business and personal financial coaching, business valuation, financial litigation support, and alternate dispute resolution. Sherry's experience varies from business valuation, litigation support, financial forensics, collaborative practice, divorce mediation, and income tax preparation. She has completed money traces on various cases including a $20 million marital dissolution, family real estate holdings, elder abuse, and income/payroll tax fraud. Sherry has also served as an expert witness for the PA Court of Common Pleas and the PA Department of Labor and Industry's Bureau of Mediation.

    Kelsey Stiglitz

    Kelsey Stiglitz earned her Bachelors of Arts in English from Gannon University in 2017. Currently, Kelsey works as the Marketing and Business Services Manager for the Jacksonville Onslow Chamber of Commerce and oversees their digital marketing. Her position includes moderating, maintaining and creating content for the Facebook and Instagram pages and serving as an in-house photographer while maintaining the Chamber's website. Additionally, she designs the flyers and print marketing materials for the Chamber's annual events which are roughly 15 total. She adds that the Business Services aspect of her position includes coordinating the Chamber's Small Business Council. The Small Business Council is a voluntary group of Business owners who meet to once a month and their Workforce Advisory Committee which identifies trends and problems in the workforce. Kelsey also plans several events for the Chamber such as, Small Business Week, Trades Day, Engaged Onslow Bridal Expo, Sturgeon City Business Before Hours and Salute to Excellence. The last two events, in addition to Trades Day, focus on high school students and education while Salute to Excellence honors the teachers in Onslow County.

    In reflection of her English degree and careers, Kelsey adds, "My English degree prepared me for chamber work by giving me the research, communication and writing skills it takes to sell membership to a business or thank a sponsor for their donation. I don't think I ever envisioned myself working at a non-profit, but I have been at JCOC for almost a year and it's really been a fun ride. My first full-time job here was The Daily News, where I was a reporter. I learned a lot about the community and who the big-wigs were which also helped me at my current job."