For this post, we are shining our alumni spotlight on none other than Cassie Viau!
Cassie received her English degree with a writing option (and a minor in Business Administration) in 2008.
English, you ask? Cassie said that choosing to become an English major was sort of a no-brainer for her. From the time she was a little kid, she had always thought she wanted to “be a writer” when she grew up. Her grandmother actually saved her “first book”, a bunch of Post-It notes stapled together with little drawings, for her and gave it to her as a high school graduation present. She has always loved writing and reading, so she knew that English was definitely going to be her major. One of the things that drew her to Plymouth’s English department was that it covered a lot of different options. The writing option was the perfect fit for Cassie to pursue the parts of English that she really wanted to focus on.
While she was at PSU, Cassie was involved with MESA, or Mentoring Enhances Student Achievement. She was also an active member of Sigma Tau Delta. Better yet, Cassie worked on the original paper/email versions of The Canon with professors Liz Ahl and Scott Coykendall! That’s pretty awesome.
Cassie decided to add a Business minor to her English degree after talking to a local publisher about jobs in the field. He told her that publishers needed more than a love of English to be successful. Instead, they needed to “learn about the business behind writing in order to be successful.” Cassie admitted, “That scared the crap out of me” and she quickly began to look at ways to enhance her English degree.
“Between adding my Business minor, taking Technical Communications and Non-Fiction Workshop, and starting to work on the original version of The Canon, I started to hone in on what I actually liked doing in the world of English and how I would apply it to the real world.”
Putting both her major and minor to work, she is currently the marketing manager for Core Medical Group in Salem, New Hampshire. According to Cassie, Joe Monninger predicted that she would go into marketing!
“Before graduation, Joe met with each of the seniors and talked to us about our futures, what we planned to do, and how we did in non-fiction workshop. He actually said to me that he thought I’d do well in sales. At the time, I thought he was insane and that I would never do that! Then I discovered marketing as a career, and fell completely in love with it. I actually ended up doing a lot of “sales” work too, like pitching new clients and negotiating contracts. Now I work in an office full of sales people at a recruiting agency, so I guess he was right! It’s a small memory that really sticks out to me whenever I think back on my career.”
Cassie started out as a copywriter and dabbled in social media marketing, and her boss figured since she was a great writer and had customer service skills, she could handle managing the company’s social media accounts. Most of her initial marketing work was writing email newsletters, direct mail pieces, and blogs.
On a daily basis, Cassie says she does a lot of different things! As the marketing manager, she is in charge of a growing team – they’re up to 3 people now! She comes up with the overall marketing strategy and execution plan for an $85 million+ company with 5 different divisions. That strategy includes social media, blogging and content offers, website management, social media advertising, and video content.
While the jump from English to marketing may seem like a bit of a stretch, Cassie believes that her English degree helped her more than her business minor ever did. In earning her English degree, she learned critical thinking and analysis skills that have become invaluable to her. She credits classes such as Technical Communications and Non-Fiction Workshop with developing her writing, which has been critical for writing blog posts and marketing pieces.
The most challenging part of having an English brain and a quasi numbers-oriented career? Cassie says it is definitely managing budgets and spreadsheets, but I think we can all relate to that at least a little bit.
Cassie says that Plymouth was definitely one of the best decisions she ever made. Both she and her husband attended PSU, studied abroad together, and developed a lot of really great friendships during their time here. She especially loves that she is able to keep in touch with past professors on Facebook and see what is happening at PSU now.
Do you have a PSU English alumni story to share? If so, please contact us! We’d love to feature you in The Canon!