Mike Wilson ’10

I had not come to Simpson intending to be an English major, but after taking a class with Nancy St. Clair, I realized that I was born for English, and quickly began making up for lost time. It was a turning point in my life. I had always been a bookworm growing up, and for the first time, I was given full license to read as many books as possible! Imagine what this does to a natural bookworm! Then, my journey began, and I dove headfirst into copious amounts of novels, short stories and poems. The English Department taught me how to read all over again–how to see things on the written page that I had never imagined were possible. Along with a challenging workload, the department exposed me to different ideas that completely changed my views on the world.

The Simpson English program stands out because it is smaller than other English programs, which means that you really get to know your professors. The department takes an interest in your personal and professional development. In my senior year, I decided that I wanted to be a writer. Nancy St. Clair, David Wolf and CoryAnne Harrigan all gave me advice that continues to guide my career today.

I also double majored in Spanish. I took a May Term trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Until the trip, my Spanish had always been good, but I was truly tested. Under the tutelage of Costa Rican professors, my Spanish improved rapidly, and I returned the next semester with an edge in my classes because I had been completely immersed in the language. In my job now, I deal almost exclusively with Spanish-speaking customers, and I am not only fluent; I also understand the culture, which is so critical when you are learning a second language.

Since graduation, I have been working as a bilingual claims adjuster at Nationwide Insurance. I investigate the circumstances behind automobile accidents. I had never imagined the insurance industry as a place for an English major, but the industry needs people who are meticulous, analytical, and effective communicators. English majors, by virtue of the curriculum, are cultivated with these qualities. I am especially fortunate to be using both of my degrees, because I do my job in English and Spanish!

When I am not working, I am writing. I write poetry and fiction, and my work has been published in two national literary magazines: Abbey and The Oklahoma Review. I have also won various awards from the insurance industry in relation to my work.

I can say with full certainty that my life would have been far different had I not declared an English major. My time at Simpson was a life-changing experience for which I will always be grateful to Simpson.

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