English majors can do just about anything. They learn writing, reading, and critical thinking skills in their English classes here at UAB, and as you can see from the stories below, they put these skills to work in a lot of different ways and different places. The faculty here in the Department of English is incredibly proud that our students are out there doing excited, unexpected, and imaginative things. Explore their stories to see how studying English has opened doors for these students.



Jasmine Shorter presents her play at Woodlawn's Desert Island Supply Company. English major Jasmine Shorter and her peers were challenged to give voice to complex social issues affecting the community—illiteracy, homelessness, and health disparities among them. The students partnered with local organizations that help people facing these challenges every day, writing the plays with them but also for them.

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Graphic of a hand holding a pen. Tucked into Sterne Library is one of UAB’s best kept—and most powerful—secrets: the University Writing Center.

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Ashley Jones, standing in front of a brick wall. Ashley Jones, who graduated with a degree in English in 2012, has been given the Writers’ Award by the Rona Jaffe Foundation. The national award honors exceptionally talented emerging female writers. Jones won the award for her poetry, which focuses on identity, history, civil rights, and gender. Along with reading about her in the link below, check out an interview on our website and in UAB Magazine.

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japan mapSophomore David Kovakas will spend the summer in Japan after being awarded the Freeman-ASIA Scholarship. The Freeman Awards for Study in Asia are designed to support US undergraduate students with a demonstrated financial need to study overseas in East or Southeast Asia.

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A student participating in the writing workshop.UAB students gathered for the "Exploring Racism through Hip Hop" writing workshop at the Department of Theatre's acting studio on Nov. 13 to add their voices to a musical in the works.

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Kelsey Harrison. If you’re not making discoveries, something is wrong, says UAB English major Kelsey Harrison, winner of the 17th Annual Sidewalk Film Festival's “Best Student Film” for her work “Coming and Going” — an experimental short-film delving into the anxieties of a young woman as she waits on a friend at a bus stop. It’s Harrison’s first film.

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A comic book-style drawing of Jason Aaron, incorporating elements from Star Wars movies and Marvel comics.Like Luke Skywalker, Jason Aaron grew up in a small town, far from the action. In the Jedi’s case, it was a lonely outpost on Tatooine; for Aaron, it was Jasper, Alabama. And while Skywalker grew up to fight for galactic freedom, Aaron now stands as one of the leading lights of the Marvel Universe.

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Cover of "Young Writers in Birmingham,” featuring mascots from both schools. Sixteen writing students are helping 100 third- and fourth-grade students at Inglenook Elementary School publish their first book. As part of a service-learning project, the UAB students taught the youngsters various genres of writing and assembled their best works in “Young Writers in Birmingham.”

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Dexter Forbes. A Student Voice for Sustainability
Dexter Forbes came to UAB because of the city scene, but he found his niche as an advocate for the land. Looking for a way to get involved on campus, Forbes discovered the UAB Green Initiative, a student organization “that works toward a more sustainable community.”

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Quinn LewisQuinn Lewis graduated the UAB Department of English Creative Writing Program in 2010 and is now working on her MFA in Poetry at the University of Oregon. She recently talked about her experiences with graduate student Halley Cotton.

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Jacyln Wells (center) and two of her students. Students Discover Birmingham by Writing About It
The city of Birmingham is an open book for students in one UAB English course. It serves as both subject and setting for their work, which hones their skills for writing about place for different public and academic audiences. And they quickly find that Birmingham’s story has plenty of blank pages for them to fill.

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Actors in "A Will Not His Own." “A Will Not His Own” tells the fictional story of Will, a man with dementia and his struggle to maintain his memory while accepting its loss. The play was crafted from a collection of interviews captured by UAB students during visits with the elderly at South Highland Day Center.

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