English Career Connections, an annual event to acquaint undergraduate English majors with the many professional opportunities open to them, will offer workshops, coaching, a keynote address by a respected jurist, and opportunities to meet successful alumni from a range of fields.

The English Department’s Distinguished Alumni Board sponsors this event. The complete schedule is available online.

Among those alumni attending the two-day event that starts today in Shanks Hall and Owens Ballroom are a pilot, engineers, information technology executives, non-profit administrators, lawyers, marketing and media relations directors, consultants, school superintendents, and college presidents.

“Our board members disprove the notion that English majors have just two options: teaching and writing,” said Mary Denson Moore, alumni relations coordinator for the department and event organizer. “Some graduates do choose those paths, but the majority venture far beyond traditional English fields. We believe an English major at Virginia Tech can ‘start here, go anywhere,’ as evidenced by those who serve on our alumni board.”

Moore cited a recent article on Open Forum, the American Express social business network, titled “Why English Majors are the Hot New Hires.” It highlights English majors’ workplace advantages, including communication, writing, and research skills; critical thinking; and empathy.

The keynote speaker for the seventh annual event will be the Hon. Sharon Breeden Will (Class of 1977). A judge in Henrico County’s Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court from 1998 until her retirement in 2010, Will currently sits as a retired judge in juvenile courts across the commonwealth.

Other highlights of this year’s event are workshops on internships and career preparation, one-on-one résumé and interview clinics, and the professional etiquette luncheon, which will offer tips on success in job-related social situations. Breakout sessions will explore careers in prelaw, pre-education, and literature; professional writing; creative writing; the cover letter; and preparing for graduate school.