Undergraduate Alumni Stories

Brett D. Wilson, '92

I graduated from Dartmouth in 1992 with a degree in Comp Lit. From there I went on to earn a PhD from UPenn, finishing in 2003, and I'm now a recently tenured Associate Professor of English at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA. I thought that the Comp Lit program might be interested to know that my book on 18th-century British drama, A Race of Female Patriots: Women and Public Spirit on the British Stage, 1688-1745 has just been published by Bucknell University Press. And my interest in literary scholarship all began with a course with Peter Bien on Odysseus/Ulysses... in Fall 1988! 

Meg Donohue Preuss, '00

I have no doubt that my comparative literature studies at Dartmouth ('00) helped me land my wonderful, first post-college job in the foreign rights office of International Creative Management's literary department in NYC. There, I supported a team of agents dedicated to finding foreign publishers for American authors and eventually managed translation deals in Eastern Europe and Greece. While the role fed my interest in contemporary literature, translation, and foreign cultures, and I really enjoyed working in publishing, I always knew that I wanted to be an author, not an agent. So I enrolled in Columbia University's MFA program in fiction. After I completed the MFA program I did every writing-related job I could get my hands on--from freelance writing for magazines and websites to writing resumes for job hunters--while getting married and starting a family and continuing to write fiction whenever possible.

Gregory Lamontagne, ’07

After graduating in 2007, I took a position in the Investment Management Division of Goldman Sachs in New York.  I left Goldman after a year for a position in the Dubai office of Oliver Wyman, an American consultancy, and have stayed with the company for the last two and a half years, though I have since moved back to New York.  While at Oliver Wyman, I have worked on projects in four industries across seven countries, and have worked on English-, French-, and Spanish-speaking case teams.

Jennifer Gill '01

I chose comparative literature because the courses were the most interesting and Comparative Literature seems to attract the best professors from a variety of disciplines. At the time, it seemed like the best of both worlds and I knew that I could figure out how to make sense of it all from a career perspective later. Ten years later, I found myself at INSEAD, one of the top European business schools. To get into INSEAD, you need to speak three languages and have worked abroad. Without Comp Lit, the Rassias method, and the inspiration of Graziella Parati, I never would have managed working in Italy, and certainly would have never made it to INSEAD. Now I am the Business Manager to the Chief Technology Officer of Vodafone. My boss has an annual budget in the billions and 22,000 people across 28 countries reporting up to him, and I am responsible for coordinating all his activities, event and deliverables. His motto is 'hire in your weakness' so as the CTO, so he chose to me to be his right hand 'man', with a strong background in writing, culture and, well, being organized.

Brook Cosby '00

I was Marianne Hirsch & Irene Kacandes' student, graduating in 2000. I continue to be grateful that I majored in Comparative Literature! I completed an MA in English at UC Santa Barbara in 2003 and relied heavily on my critical theory and close reading background as both graduate student and teaching assistant. I then moved to New York and worked as an editor at Routledge. All the while, I developed a great interest in yoga and Buddhist philosophy, as the ideas that my yoga teachers were citing from ancient Indian and Tibetan texts corresponded alarmingly well with what I had studied in Comp Lit at Dartmouth, namely that reality depends on the label you apply to it and desire is never free from lack. I have taught yoga classes since 2006 and am on faculty with the Conquering Lion Yoga teacher training program. My goal as a yoga teacher is much the same as it was as a Comp Lit student: to give voice to experience, heal from suffering and evolve towards happiness.

Oliver Bernstein '03

My comparative literature major honed my language, writing and critical thinking skills and has served me well in my career. I focused on Spanish and Portuguese literature with environmental themes -- a passion of mine. These days I am Senior Communications Strategist for the Sierra Club, the country's oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization. I use my Spanish all the time, do plenty of writing of all types and spend significant time thinking about the effect of specific language and diction on our environmental conservation goals. The small classes and outstanding professors I had in the Comparative Literature program will always be one of my best memories of Dartmouth. I recommend the major to anyone who enjoys language, writing and thinking; it has served me very well.

Alexander Fidel ’09

After graduating I lit out for Europe. I think the comp lit major gave me a kind of confidence about how much culture I could absorb and about what a unique experience that is. I wanted to go to a city that had a rich history in the past century, and it fell to Berlin in the end. During my three month term in the city, I got to prepare the gallery for international art fairs and work with artists in studio. The community in the industry was fascinating, and because of my comp lit background, the conceptual art that I dealt with was accessible and enjoyable. At work and at home, Berlin was rewarding. After work, I crossed the city looking at other galleries. When Berlin exploded with art about the Berlin Wall for the twentieth anniversary of its fall, I took my roommates to see what I knew about. We talked more personally about history and the life of a city during those weeks than I had with anyone. At the end of that month, I made them all their first Thanksgiving dinner.

Catharine Morgan '06

I am a big fan of Dartmouth's Comp Lit program. My first year after graduating from Dartmouth, I lived in Munich, Germany and worked as a teaching intern at an international school. I've spent the last three years working for a small public relations agency in San Francisco and Boston helping clients in the clean technology and information technology industries. I'm currently wrapping up there and preparing to move to Ukraine to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer. In any career, it's paramount that a person be able to think critically, examine a problem from different angles, connect seemingly unrelated ideas, and write well. Majoring in comparative literature helped me develop precisely those skills. Please share my gratitude with all the professors who helped me along the way: Professors Kacandes, Martín, Parati, Kopper, Gemünden, Mladek, and Aguado.

James Redfield '06

The COLT major was a means to acquire fluency in two European languages, to conduct research in France, Germany, North Africa and the Middle East, and to form lasting friendships in all of those places. His phenomenal advisor Veronika Fuechtner and the program's rigorous classes with challenging peers helped to sharpen his writing and presentation skills. These skills, in turn, led to three postgraduate research fellowships and several publications, including a chapter of his B.A. thesis.

James is now a doctoral candidate in Anthropology at UC Berkeley and a Graduate Research Fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, where he is helping to start a new Center for Biological Futures. He is married to Terra Edwards, a linguistic anthropologist, and they are expecting their first child in July.

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