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Jacqueline Lea
December 1, 2021

Creative writing major shines in corporate job thanks to Berry network

A creative writing major can take you a lot of places, including the business world. Just ask Jacqueline Lea ’21, an honors student who took a job as a tax technical writer with Aprio, a CPA-led professional services firm in Atlanta. She says hiring an English major was considered “a grand experiment” by her employer. “People don’t often think of English majors as having much to offer the business and finance world, but the importance of writing and reading comprehension skills really cannot be undervalued,” Lea explains.

Lea’s story is a testament to how Berry faculty and alumni play a role in helping students secure professional positions. Christina Bucher, chair and associate professor of English, rhetoric and writing, told Lea about an opportunity with Romega Digital, a local agency specializing in website development and social media. Soon after, Lea began a three-month internship producing copy and social media captions for clients.  

Last summer, Bucher was again contacted about a job opportunity — this time by Berry alum Maggie Crow ’16. As the technical documentation and communications manager at Aprio, Crow knew how important writing skills would be in building her team. “I immediately reached out to my remaining contacts at Berry, including Dr. Bucher,” Crow says. “I knew an entry-level English major with superb writing skills would be perfect, and the timing coincided with Berry’s graduation in May – I knew there would be English majors freshly entering the job market.” 

After Bucher connected the two, Lea joined Aprio. During the pandemic, the firm has become a leader in assisting businesses and clients with the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) and the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). Lea readily embraced her responsibilities. “Most simply put, our job is to make sure our clients have the best chance at getting the PPP loan or ERC credit,” she says.

Lea was well prepared for this position despite a lack of experience in accounting. “I recommended her because she had proved herself to be genuinely intellectually curious in my classes, she was an agile thinker and used constructive criticism to improve her writing, and she had an excellent work ethic,” Bucher says. “It's so important to counter the narrative that an English or creative writing major (or any other humanities major) will not lead to meaningful, financially rewarding work and careers.” 

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