Our students have gone on to successful careers. Read about the experiences of two of our recent graduates — Jay Haywood and Amy Roberts — and how their studies at UAB prepared them for successful careers.

Jay Haywood

Jay Haywood looking into a brewing tank at Cahaba Brewing. I have had two jobs since graduating, and while they are very different in scope, the skills I learned in the Professional Writing program at UAB are crucial for how I navigate my professional life.

Just after graduating, I accepted a position with Cahaba Brewing Company in Birmingham, Alabama, managing their online media and working in sales. As Cahaba Brewing Company’s media manager, I was responsible for maintaining and developing the brewery’s brand and message through the brewery’s social media channels and website. I was also responsible for writing press releases for upcoming events and beer releases, as well as designing informational signs and slides for our in-brewery video board as needed. As a sales representative, I was responsible for communicating the needs of our accounts to the brewery’s distributor and to the brewing staff.

I have since been working as a Product Support Representative at Fidelity National Information Services. I am responsible for application support for banks and other financial institutions — and I am fairly certain I am one of the only members on my team with an English degree. As my employer has found, my degree is an asset to the team. In the Professional Writing program I was also challenged with learning new applications quickly, which helped me prepare for a career in technical support. In addition to the technical knowledge, the position requires clear, concise communication between the various teams within the company and each of our clients. It is necessary to research and break down incredibly technical information into easy to read material for each client.

I will be forever grateful for my time in the Professional Writing program. By the time I graduated I had written a grant proposal for a non-profit, collaborated on a digital and print magazine, designed a website, and packaged my best work in a digital portfolio I could show to potential employers. I felt comfortable in my ability to learn technical applications quickly. However, the greatest thing I learned was how to communicate effectively to a wide variety of audiences through various media. It is this skill that has allowed me to excel in the professional environment.

Amy Roberts

I am the Communications Coordinator at Growing Kings, a non-profit organization that was started in 2009. We provide school-based, group mentoring programs for at-risk males in Birmingham City Schools. Our programs focus on character development, violence prevention, and personal enrichment. We are based on a high school feeder pattern, so we can provide long-term engagement with our students from 4th grade through high school. Currently, Growing Kings is in five Birmingham City Schools, with plans to be in 10 by fall 2014.

As Communications Coordinator, I am in charge of our social media platforms, but my priority is developing a fundraising strategy for the program. My first project was to submit an application for our first federal grant proposal, where we are looking to partner with the Department of Justice Sciences at UAB. Below are some of the things I do in the position:

  • Develop and implement an integrated strategic communications plan to advance Growing Kings' brand identity; broaden awareness of its programs and priorities; and increase the visibility of its programs across key stakeholder audiences.
  • Serve as communications counselor to Growing Kings' leadership.
  • Oversee development of all print communications.
  • Work closely with the Executive Director on donor management and fund development.
  • Develop and oversee day-to-day activities of all Growing Kings' social media outlets.
  • Actively engage, cultivate, and manage press relationships to ensure coverage surrounding Growing Kings' programs, special events, public announcements, and other projects.
  • Research funding sources and trends, with foresight, to get ahead of major funding changes.

I am indebted to the Professional Writing program at UAB. Had it not been for the wonderful professors and classes I wouldn't be where I am. The wealth of knowledge I gained from Dr. Bacha, Dr. Ryan, Dr. Wells, and Dr. McComiskey is immeasurable. I've made a lot of great connections in my short time with Growing Kings and every time my boss introduces me to people or I tell them I'm a Professional Writer and this is what I can do, they are so impressed.