Katy Tyllo - 2019

Position title: Technical Communications

Pronouns: she/her

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

I started my career as a technical writer at a medical device company with an internship that I learned about at the spring career fair senior year. As an intern, I spent the summer creating a user manual for oncology information systems, which is software that handles patient billing and scheduling. This was a great opportunity to use the skills I developed as an English major in a STEM field. I currently work in Insurance IT where my role is at the intersection of communications, content management, and admin work. I’ve developed internal documentation for various processes across the enterprise, which is another excellent opportunity to use my English major in a different STEM field. This role has given me great visibility into industry-best practices as well as introduced me to the software development lifecycle. I’m actively working toward a computer programming certificate through Southern New Hampshire University out of curiosity. I’m not necessarily looking to change careers, but I do think having some familiarity with programming languages will be beneficial in my work with software engineers.

What did you enjoy about the English major?

I loved all of it. My professors were always approachable and cared about my success. Every class I took toward the major contributed to my growth in some way. One that stands out to me was Prof. Calhoun’s Organizing Shakespeare course. Prof. Calhoun had us analyze the way Shakespeare organized content/information in his plays and asked us to do the same with the media we consumed in our daily lives in a commonplace book. This way of thinking and connecting seemingly unrelated topics together has carried over into the content management work that I currently do.

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

As an English major, working through complex texts and analyzing them prepared me for my current work because I frequently need to break down complex technical concepts/documents for a general audience. Although the content I’m analyzing now is different from what I analyzed as an English major, the process is the same. Humanities students bring critical thinking and curiosity to my industry – having a willingness to learn goes a long way!

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

Join the Writing Fellows program! Becoming a writing fellow was easily the best choice I made in college. Not only did I connect with many like-minded peers, but I also grew immensely as a writer and the skills I honed as a writing fellow serve me very well in my career.

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

Writing Fellows Program