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English and Creative Writing

There are many places to learn to write well at Hamilton, but nowhere better than in English classes, where great writing is the first concern every day. You may get a chance to collaborate with faculty members on research and publications, and there are grants to fund the work.

Peter Bresnan ’15
Peter Bresnan '15

A student writer’s plan: teaching what he loves

Peter Bresnan ’15 is a short-story writer who opted to major in English rather than creative writing. Still, he gets up early and stays up late to write, and he just had a story published in Red Weather, Hamilton’s student literary and art magazine. Bresnan intends to pursue fiction writing along with a doctorate in English and an academic career.

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Hamilton’s approach to writing drew him to the college, and he’d heard it had a great writing center. He got involved there. “I am a tutor, which is my favorite part about being here,” he says.

Through that work, Bresnan discovered his affinity for teaching, and he expects he will teach some day at the college level. He’s experienced what good teaching can do: He says he has his mind blown on a weekly basis in a couple of his classes at Hamilton.

“The teachers here are so good. They really, really are. And even when I have the hardest moments and I say ‘I don’t want to be here,’ my teachers are really the anchors that always pull me back to earth,” he says.

Julia Levine Rogers
Julia Rogers ’06 is seen here in Morocco, where she was doing research for her business, which provides gap-year experiences for young people.

A graduate’s progress: experiencing the world, helping others do the same

Since she graduated from Hamilton College with an English degree, has ridden a camel in the Sahara, worked on a goat farm in New Zealand and trekked the Himalayas in Nepal. That’s part of the daily grind as founder, owner and soul employee of EnRoute Consulting, a company Rogers says encourages young people to volunteer and travel as a way to get to know themselves and the world around them.

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Shortly after graduation, Rogers volunteered with a public health nongovernmental organization in Tanzania. “It was far and away the most challenging experience of my life, and I felt inspired to provide guidance to young people who wanted to have a similarly life-changing experience,” she says. EnRoute ensued. Rogers travels for research, creates her marketing material, produces website content and more. “My English major taught me to be an eloquent and effective writer. I made a good choice, although taking a few more marketing or econ classes would not have hurt,” she says about her major. She still rereads books from her environmental literature course with Professor of English Onno Oerlemans and claims she will forever write using active verbs, thanks to Professor of English Steven Yao.