SLA Spotlight: Amanda Mulvihill '10
Amanda Mulvilhill graduated from the College in 2010 with a double major in English/Literature and
Mathematics. In the discussion below, she reflects on her undergraduate experiences.
Q: What made you choose Marist in the first place?
A: This might sound clichéd, but it was just a feeling I got. I had been to visit a bunch of other schools that I’d
applied to, and when I came to Accepted Students day at Marist and walked through the campus, saw the
students and the community that was there, everything just kind of clicked. I could see myself there.
I wasn’t even that impressed by the aesthetics of the campus, which now seems ridiculous. All the schools I’d been looking at had a very traditional feel – red brick and clock towers and white columns – so Marist didn’t really have a lot going for it in the architecture department. It wasn’t until move-in day when I rounded the corner of the student center and glimpsed that amazing view of the rotunda and the campus green and the majestic Hudson River, glittering in the sun, that I actually said to myself, “Wow, this is a gorgeous campus.” And it’s so much prettier now than it was then, with the Hancock Center and that lovely walkway under Route 9. And more projects underway, I’m sure.
Academically, I was drawn to Marist because it offered a variety of programs that I was interested in, which was a good thing, because I had the luxury of changing my mind a lot. I applied for Advertising, I think, and by the time I entered as a freshman I had switched to English Secondary Education, and then added a minor in Math, and ended up with a double major in English Literature and Math.
Q: What kind of community did you find here?
A: As a somewhat nerdy freshman who didn’t want to go out and party all of the time, I remember being concerned about making friends. But as I got involved in clubs and activities and got further into my major classes, and met friends of friends, it became apparent that there were so many people just like me. I found the people I needed in my life. I made such wonderful friendships. And everyone went out and had a good time just as much as they pulled all-nighters in the Donnelly computer lab. Everyone found a balance.
Even as an alumni, that friendly community still exists. There are plenty of networking opportunities, especially with resources like LinkedIn. In fact, a fellow English Literature alum helped me get my current job. And when something affects the school, everyone is connected. Once a Red Fox, always a Red Fox.
And the faculty was great. After getting my education there, I can’t imagine an environment where the professors didn’t know my name. My younger sisters both go to bigger schools with large lecture halls and they’ve told me about how they had a question about homework, or were confused about which direction to go in a paper, and I’ve said “Well can’t you just email the professor and ask?” and they look at me like I’m crazy. But that’s the environment at Marist. You talk to your professors, you go see them in office hours, they give you direct feedback on how to improve on past assignments. I wouldn’t have graduated with a degree in math if it hadn’t been for office hours. That’s all I’ve known, and I’m so grateful for that. Welcoming, down-to-earth, and enthusiastic professors really make the school what it is.
Q: What kind of work does your current job entail? Can you think of any specific instances in which your academic or extracurricular experiences helped you in your professional life?
A: I work in book publishing, in international sales, and I can safely say that both of my majors and my extracurricular experiences have pointed me here. As an English Literature major, reading was a huge part of my life, and I developed an appreciation for well-written things. Rather than reading pieces of the English canon quickly for analysis, I now read unpublished manuscripts quickly for plot, so that’s taken a bit of adjustment. I was a member of the Literary Arts Society at Marist, and the environment of passionate, intellectual, book-loving, word-loving writers is something I valued, craved, and then found again in this industry.
In sales, I pretty much live in an Excel document all day, so I’m glad I had experience using it in some of my math classes. And ebooks have created (and keep creating) a whole slew of problems that need solving, including figuring out pricing ratios and profit margins and currency conversions, so my math background gives me the mindset to think on my feet.
Having had the opportunity to study abroad definitely helps me in my job, because it opened my eyes to a way of life that was not American. When you’re dealing with customers in other countries, especially when it comes to recommending which books they should buy, it’s very helpful to be aware of and sensitive to other cultures. It also gave me the travel bug and gave me experience traveling by myself, so when I have to travel for work, I’ll jump at the chance.
Q: What do you miss (if anything) about Marist or the Mid-Hudson Valley?
A: The skies, the scenery. The constant background noise of rumbling trains, the spontaneous picnics by the river or trips to the Walkway Over the Hudson. I miss living there, being surrounded by friends, having everything within arms’ reach, having a 10 minute walk as my only commute to class. And let’s face it, I will never live anywhere as nice as Fulton again. They don’t make Fulton Townhouses in Brooklyn.
And, of course, I miss Osho’s. Desperately.
Q: When you get around to writing your own book, what's it going to be about?
A: When will I have time to get around to it!? I imagine it will be little stories – funny and poignant stories, taken from my own experience. I often update my Facebook status with short stories from my daily 2-hour bus commute, and I get a good response from friends who read them. I think they respond to it because they can relate. I’d like to voice something that everyone feels, make observations of something everyone sees, because those are the kinds of stories I most like to read: the ones that really connect us. I’m not drawn to epic adventures or sweeping romances. I like the kinds of books where I nod along, saying “Exactly! That’s it! I know! I’ve seen that man! I’ve felt that feeling! Thank you for putting them into words!” So that’s the kind of book that I’d like to write. Hopefully with recipes included, just because.