Alumna Profile: Michelle Costello '15
By Emily Hollenbach '18
Michelle Costello graduated in Spring 2015 as an English major with a concentration
in Writing. During her time as an undergraduate, Ms. Costello collaborated with Dr.
Michelle Smith on the article “English Majors are Professionals, Too: Liberal Arts and
Vocation in the English Writjng Major” which appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of
Composition Studies as well as in the Sigma Tau Delta Review. Dr. Smith recalls that
Ms. Costello was an ideal student partner: “I already thought of Michelle as a colleague,
so I immediately thought of her when I was asked to write this essay.” Ms. Costello now
works for TheMuse.com in New York City.
Why did you become an English/Writing major?
I knew I wanted to work with writing because I've always loved to write. I knew if I could
work in writing in some capacity, I'd have a career I would enjoy, and that was the most
important thing in my mind when I was looking for a job. Like most English majors, I
wanted to find a way to keep writing, so I feel really lucky to do that as part of my job.
Before graduation, I remember being nervous because everyone seemed to have a set
plan for their careers, and I really didn't have my heart set on any particular industry.
What is your life like now that you're a graduate? Could you give some details about your job?
Life as a graduate has been busy, but fun so far! Right now, I'm working as a content associate for TheMuse.com,
a startup company based in NYC. The Muse offers career advice, career coaching, job listings, and behind-the-scenes
profiles of the companies we work with. I worked as an intern for 4 months before coming on as a full-time employee
in November. Now, I work on the profiles team, helping with copy edits and writing some of our simple profiles. I also
have a lot of other operational responsibilities, including helping to manage our jobs and pitching in with other projects
In what ways has your Marist education prepared you for this position?
Since I work on profiles, my English degree prepared me extremely well for the job I have now—I get to work with
words every day, which is awesome! I also think that Marist's focus on developing well-rounded people, as well as
good students, has been crucial in the workforce as well. Extracurriculars like Sigma Tau Delta and The Circle, as
well as internships I held, were really helpful in landing my job.
What has your job taught you that is surprising and exciting?
What surprised me most about working is the amount of different educational backgrounds everyone comes from.
I work with people who were everything from art history to international business majors. It surprised me how much
people are willing to teach you and help you grow at the beginning of your career, as long as you are open and
willing to ask for help when you need it. It's really exciting to see how many possibilities there are out there, even
though it might seem like the opposite before you graduate.
Has your relationship with writing changed in a way you didn't expect?
I think my job has changed my relationship with writing because it's definitely put all the English classes I've taken
into perspective. At times when I was in school, it wasn't always obvious how a class might be applicable in the "real
world," but now that I'm working, I find myself remembering my courses depending on what I'm working on.I didn't
realize how much of what you learn in school becomes second nature to you, even if you don't always actively realize it.