Austyn Rask (BS ’16) says she’d pay money to take Professor Mary Schuster's editing class all over again. Yet she is looking firmly forward.
Today, Rask is director of content and research at BridgeWorks, a small company that conducts generational research to help corporations bridge age gaps. And she is forever thankful for the unique degree that prepared her to excel in her role—a bachelor of science in technical writing and communication, with an emphasis in health and biological sciences.
When Rask was first accepted to the University of Minnesota, she considered a biomedical engineering degree. But when it came time to declare a major in the College of Liberal Arts, she noticed the technical writing and communication major (then called “scientific and technical communication”). It combined everything she liked.
The relatively small Department of Writing Studies not only taught Rask fundamental skills, it gave her a community. Her major also aided her as a web writer and editor at CLA's Office of Institutional Advancement. There she applied her learning in a professional setting, working with clients and honing her technical and people skills.
At the Twin Cities Job and Internship Fair her senior year, Rask discovered BridgeWorks. She landed an internship at the company and was later offered a full-time position. Recently she was promoted to director of content and research.
Looking back, Rask believes no other degree could have better prepared her to discover what an audience wants and then to write for that audience in the most understandable way.
“[Companies] need people with the skills that I used to think [weren't cool], and now that’s what employers are saying they need from people they are hiring,” she says.
Put simply, it comes down to clarity.