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Success Stories

Graduating from Birmingham-Southern with a degree in English provides a tremendous foundation for any number of careers. English majors are equipped to teach, lead, create, manage, and much more. Below is just a sampling of recent BSC English graduates who have exciting vocations.

Anna Nichols (English '09) had her first book, Bountiful Baskets and Abundant Tradition—a Southern Family Heritage, published in 2009. She currently is teaching English and American culture in Székesfehérvár, Hungary. Read a message from Anna here.Ginny Phillips

Ginny Phillips (Political Journalism '97) had her first novel, The Well and the Mine, published by Hawthorne Books in 2008. In 2009, the book won the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and was re-released by Riverhead, an imprint of Penguin Books. The Well and the Mine was released in the U.K. in 2009, with editions to come in Germany, Italy, Brazil, Korea, and Taiwan.As a freelance writer, she interviewed John Cleese, George Stephanopoulos, James Carville, Sally Ride, DeeDee Myers, Karen Hughes, and Letitia Baldrige.

Murray Dunlap (English '98) earned his MFA at the University of California-Davis, working under the celebrated writer Pam Houston. His fiction has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Post Road, Night Train, Silent Voices, The Bark and many others. His stories have been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, as well as Best New American Voices, and his first book, "Bastard Blue," was a finalist for the Maurice Prize in Fiction. He is currently working on a novel and recovering from a life-changing car accident in the summer of 2008.

Clay McCaslinClay McCaslin(English '95) taught English in Hungary and Czech Republic for two years before coming home to earn his law degree at Tulane University. He has published an article on immigration law and has represented local parish government entities and school boards in lawsuits against major oil companies such as ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil, and ConocoPhillips for the contamination of large tracts of wetlands in southern Lousiana and for the illegal price fixing and underpayment of royalties. He currently is involved with class-action litigation against pharmaceutical companies.

Jessica Kilgore (English '03) is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of Texas, Austin.

Randall Goodgame (English, '96) is an independent singer-songwriter ... just wrapped his 4th album "War and Peace" due out Nov 1. Randall is also the primary songwriter for the platinum selling Christian folk band Caedmon's Call. One of his songs Randall Goodgame's new albumwent to #4 on the AC charts last year. He has toured the country opening for rock band Jars of Clay, playing here at the BJCC last year for over 8,000 people. He has shared the stage with Alison Krauss, Sister Hazel, Lisa Loeb, and many others, and is currently touring extensively with 1999 New Christian Artist of the Year Ginny Owens. Randall is also married to Amy (Booth) Goodgame (Sociology, '95) and father of Livi and Jonah Goodgame.

The rock band Nineteen Forty-FiveHunter Manasco (English '99) and Katharine McElroy (English '97) are co-leaders of the rock band Nineteen Forty-Five, whose second album, "I Saw a Bright Light" (2003) received favorable reviews in Mojo Magazine and the College Music Journal, among other industry heavyweights. The album held at #2 on Atlanta's “indie-rock” station Album 88—one of the largest college stations in the United States--for two months.

Nick Gaskill (English '03) presented two papers at national professional conferences during his time at Birmingham-Southern and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Eleanor Haggstrom Christiansen (English '96) is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Old Testament/ Hebrew Bible at Princeton Eleanor Haggstrom ChristiansenTheological Seminary. Her focus is literary approaches to Hebrew narrative.

Leigh Ann Peters Berte (English, '95) has completed her Ph.D. in English at the University of Washington in Seattle. She now teaches at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and studies 19th and early 20th century American literature.

Ben Crum albumAfter BSC, Mark Berte (English, '92) received a Master's degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. He recently moved back to Birmingham after serving as astrategic planner in the City of Seattle's Department of Information Technology. Mark is the Lead Organizer for theConstitutional Reform Education Campaign at Greater Birmingham Ministries and volunteers as the Steering Committee Chair of Catalyst, a group of civically minded locals who are trying to make Birmingham a better place to work and live. Mark and his wife, Leigh Ann, who is an English professor at UAB, have a two-year-old daughter named Julianne.

Ben Crum (English '96) has released 2 albums with the band he leads, Great Lakes. His third will be released in early 2005. He's toured the U.S. and Europe, sharing bills with such acts as Belle and Sebastian, the Apples (in stereo), Clinic, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. His records have received positive reviews in Magnet, Mojo, NME, and others. He lives in Brooklyn

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