Stephanie Hicks ’06
Areas of Study
Majors: English and Communications
Minor in African American studies
Lecturer in the Program on Intergroup Relations at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Stephanie Hicks ’06 double majored in English and communications with a minor in African American studies. After graduation, she worked at an educational non-profit for a few years in Englewood. In 2008, Stephanie started her master's in educational policy studies at the University of Illinois Chicago and then pursued her PhD in the same field. She completed her PhD in 2017 and since then has been teaching at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She is a lecturer in the Program on Intergroup Relations, a social justice education program that trains and supports students in facilitating dialogues about social identities and social justice issues. She has also been a yoga practitioner and teacher since 2011. In 2016, she started Yoga for Black Lives.
Why did you choose Lake Forest College? I went to a large magnet high school in Chicago, which students from all over the city and all walks of life attended. I loved it, and there was a real sense of community. I knew I wanted that same sense of tight-knit community, and a liberal arts education was attractive to me because it made writing and critical thinking central no matter what you studied. Lake Forest College offered a close community and a great liberal arts education. I felt like I could learn more about who I was and who I wanted to be in that environment.
Looking back on your college experience, what resources and opportunities set you up for success, and which would you recommend to students in the English department now? The relationships you build with your professors can be a source of support, guidance, and mentorship, and a small liberal arts college like Lake Forest College allows you to connect early and often with professors. I was so lucky to study with Dr. Judy Dozier when I was in undergrad. Find your Dr. D.! The Career Advancement Center was also an incredible resource. They were great at showing me how to translate what I learned in my majors and minor into concrete skills that would help me as I went on to apply for jobs.
How has your degree in English helped you with your current position? Being able to think critically, analyze and synthesize information, and translate it clearly and with style are all skills you need as an academic and an educator. Whether I’m in the classroom with my students, working with my colleagues, or even doing administrative tasks, I use those skills constantly.
How did you leverage skills you learned as an English major in order to get a job? I’d had internship experience in the nonprofit world, but my first job after college was doing development work for a small nonprofit, and I was the entire development team. I also led some programs. I was able to show my co-workers and board that I had technical writing skills and creative writing skills. I could write a grant application for a foundation, a newsletter for donors, and a curriculum for young people who were being served by the non-profit.
What’s one thing you want others to know about majoring in English? That it can really support your life goals no matter what you choose to pursue!