John McCracken - 2017

Pronouns: he/him

What career pathway have you pursued since your time in the UW-Madison English major?

Since graduating, I have worked primarily in journalism and reporting. I currently work as a meat industry reporter for a nonprofit newsroom, Investigate Midwest. Prior to that, I was a 2023 Midwest Climate Reporting Fellow for Grist, a national, nonprofit newsroom dedicated to climate change. Outside of the news industry, I worked in communications and grant writing.

What did you enjoy about the English major?

I have so many great memories of time spent with The Madison Review and other student publications, such as Emmie Magazine. My time spent working with my peers to get our foot in the door with real-world publishing and editing was very rewarding. I also have fond memories of working with professors Ron Kuka, Amy Quan Barry, Amaud Jamaul Johnson, Ramzi Fawaz, Timothy Yu, and more. These professors gave me language to navigate a complex world.

Other majors, certificates, or key points of involvement during time at UW:

Gender Studies Certificate, Fiction Editor – The Madison Review

How did your time as an English major prepare you for your current work? What skills do humanities students bring to your industry?

My English major helped me be able to communicate complex ideas and narratives into clear writing. My major gave me an opportunity to learn about so many different people, stories, histories, cultures, and more to inform how I see the world and dissect the issues I cover in my reporting.

What is one piece of career advice you would offer our English undergraduates?

Networking is just as important as coursework. Go to that student organization meeting. Go to your professor’s office hours. Go to the outreach event put on by the university or English department. I understand there’s a lot of stress and anxiety when putting yourself out there, but no one will ever see how awesome you are if you never introduce yourself.