Name: Cassie Armstrong
College & Majors/Minors: BA in English literature with a minor in history; MA in English with an emphasis in folklore
Current Location: Colorado Springs
Current Form of Employment: Freelance editor who owns her own business
Where do you work and what is your current position?
I'm the owner of MorningStar Editing LLC. I'm an editor.
Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).
My first job out of college was a cashier in a college bookstore. My husband and I had moved to Flagstaff so he could go to grad school at Northern Arizona University. I saw a notice that said "now hiring" and applied to be one of the cashiers. Eleven years ago I quit teaching to be available to take care of my infant grandson. After taking care of him for a few years I decided I needed something else to do in my "spare" time. I had been a college English teacher and thought that I could be an editor. I acted on that thought and picked up the phone and called a few local publishers. From there, I started my freelance editing business. I love working with words and can't imagine doing anything else.
What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?
Teaching. I was a substitute teacher, an adjunct for three community colleges in three different states, a staff reporter for a business journal, and a university college English teacher who taught freshman comp and research to sophomore English students. Writing has always been an important part of my career.
What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?
While I was in college, I only wanted to be a teacher. That was my focus and goal. But I didn't take education classes. Instead, I took classes in ethnic studies, ethnic literature, and folklore even before those classes were cool. Those classes instilled in me a love of different cultures. They also helped me appreciate differences. This has been invaluable for every job I've had since college. This also comes in handy when I edit cookbooks, craft books, or other types of nonfiction and fiction.
What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?
Don't listen when your family asks you what you're going to do with a degree in English after you graduate. Appreciate your communication skills and your ability to analyze. Think about your interests and abilities. Find something you love and pursue it.