Liz Cullen '99

"When people ask me about my major I say that comparative literature study prepares you for nothing…and everything."

I did hone concrete skills as a comparative literature major, focusing on Spanish and Russian. Those skills include research and writing to develop strong arguments, analytical thought, and communicating in two or more languages. The greatest gift that comparative literature gave me, however, was the knowledge and acceptance that not only are there many different opinions, values and cultures, but there are also many truths that inform them. When many of my colleagues were looking for jobs after college, I was looking for a purpose. My comp lit studies gave me the confidence to take a low paying job in environmental activism where I could get my hands dirty. I have worked for non-profit organizations and have felt gratified and rewarded by my career choice since that time. Despite the fear that some have about the word “non-profit,” I have also been able to support myself financially throughout my career and have not spent any time unemployed. Graduates my age experienced the tech bubble burst, 9/11, and the sub-prime mortgage fiasco, and while I did not experience the six figure highs of the economy for the past 10 years, I also now have one of the more stable careers among my friends and fellow alums. For the past nine years I have worked for an organization that creates access to business opportunities for women business owners in New York and Washington, DC. In a few weeks I will take a position at another organization, WEConnect International, that will provide a certification for women business owners globally so they can access corporate and government supply chains. It is a dream job for me and it is a dream I might not have had if comparative literature hadn’t given me the freedom and confidence to have it.