MLA Alumni Testimonials

What are MLA Alumni doing now? How did the MLA program help Alumni to navigate to where they are today? Read what MLA alumni say to learn more about their experiences.

Career Enhancement

Cathy Holland“Through the MLA program, I realized I wanted to work with children and went back to graduate school after I graduated from the MLA program to pursue a degree in school psychology [M.A. and Ed.S. in school psychology]. I met a LOT of incredible people, learned a great deal, and it helped catapult me to where I am today. I was able to count ALL of my masters credits in school psych, which makes a significant difference in pay. Although I wasn't hired because I have the MLA, I AM paid more because I have the MLA!”

Cathy Holland
MLA 2006,  Capstone: Motivating Student-Athletes
Educational Services (School Psychologist)

James Carpenter“Prior to my studies in the MLA program, I was a lecturer in the Wharton School, but only had a BS.  In order to continue in that job, I needed an advanced degree.  As a result I maintained my position for an additional 8 years. Beyond that, my thesis evolved in to a research program that gained me some international recognition, including presenting a paper at a conference in Paris.”

James Carpenter
MLA 2002
Educational Servicess

Kristen Kearney“I had a focused personal interest in work/life balance, and used what I had learned in the MLA program to initiate changes in my workplace. Additionally, my MLA degree at Penn influenced how others viewed me, and I was promoted from a manager to a director within six months of graduating.”

Kristen Kearney
MLA 2007, Concentration in Gender, Media and Society,
Certificate in Women’s Studies, Capstone: Work/Life Balance,
Media (publishing/broadcasting)


“I am in the medical field and my MLA in Sociology of Medicine greatly helped in my understanding and appreciation of overall issues in Healthcare pertaining to different cultural subsets within the US.  As a surgeon, it is easy to lose sight of the personal and cultural aspects of medicine.  I believe my MLA degree helped/helps me to maintain that aspect of medicine in my practice to a greater degree than I otherwise would have done.” 

Inderpal Sarkaria
MLA 1996, Concentration in Sociology of Medicine
Healthcare and Social Assistance

 Career Change

“The MLA enabled me to fulfill a lifelong dream and to complete a major mid-life career change. With my MLA in hand, I made the transition from the corporate world to academia. I am now an Assistant Professor at Temple University in the School of Communications and Theater.”

Dana Saewitz
MLA 2007, Concentration in Media and Society
Advertising/Marketing/Media Studies

Erich Sirkowski“I have successfully gained employment not only within my curriculum, but also with one of the largest companies in my field. I feel that the flexible curriculum and the ability to chart my own courses was the perfect combination needed to be successful.”

Erich Sirkowski
MLA 2007
Concentration in Neuroscience
Capstone Project: "Descriptive Analysis and Characterization of Voltage-Gated Potassium Channel Kv3.1b".

Katherine Rogers“The MLA … was a catalyst for a number of changes that have led me here. It also provided me with coursework very different from my undergraduate major (Animal Science) which was a boon to my changing careers.”

Katherine Rogers
MLA 2005, Concentration in Public Life
Public Policy


PhD Pursuits

Lauren Bylsma“I was working as a psychology research assistant and wanted to pursue graduate level psychology courses and related courses to prepare me for a psychology PhD program. I am now currently finishing my psychology PhD.”

Lauren Bylsma
MLA 2005, Concentration in Psychology, Philosophy, and Religious Studies
Academic/Scientific Research

“I was a piano student who wanted to switch to the field of art history. I studied art history, cultural studies, and economic history while I was in the program, and now I am a PhD student in art history; and will pursue my career in this field when I graduate.”

Jihyun Sophia Lee
MLA 2005, Concentration in Art History, Cultural Studies, and Economic History
3rd year PhD student studying 17th century Dutch and Flemish art under the supervision of Dr. Arthur Wheelock (senior curator at the National Gallery of Art) at the University of Maryland

 View Alumni Survey Snapshot

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