“I would encourage anyone to study literature with an open mind and open heart,” says Joseph Cunningham. “Regardless of the career path you choose, it will enrich you. ”Joseph earned his BA in English with a writing concentration. He counts among the program’s strengths Dr. Mary Ann Sunyoger’s writing classes. “She has a passion for the English language and good writing. She loves what she teaches, and that made me want to be a better writer in all the different styles, from creative nonfiction to expository and others. ”Dr. Justyna Braun helped Joseph understand that good literature is crucial to forming a good writer. “Dr. Braun taught me how to read… and about true literary analysis and art appreciation. She changed my life with one class — World Literature,” says Joseph. “The emphasis was on good literature, not necessarily Christian or Catholic literature with essays by writers from many different backgrounds.”
Unique to studying English at Franciscan is the “sense of purpose, to dive deep into literature and writing surrounded by people passionate about their faith, where there’s a tabernacle in every dorm, and the Christian presence forms you intellectually and spiritually,” reflects Joseph.
At graduation time, he had an “existential crisis,” with no specific career plans. “Then I was blessed with a ‘happy accident’ when I met a guy with a Web development company. I became a part-time copy writer doing Web content and blogs. I discovered I loved content development and marketing.” He also began to trust that God gave him particular gifts — and would find a way to use them.
Joseph is now a marketing assistant for Ascension Press, a leading source of catechetical programs for Catholics, where he develops marketing campaigns, writes copy, and manages blog and social media content. “Franciscan gave me an appreciation for art, aesthetics, and humanities,” Joseph reflects. “I use that on a daily basis now. In marketing, we want to share something great and meet human needs.”
He sees his English degree as a catalyst for building culture — and of value in any career. “Good communication and good art are crucial to all companies and an understanding of humanity.”