English Department Hosts Career Panel

Lauren Kourey, Staff Writer

On March 23, the English department hosted three University alumni to discuss how their Villanova English degrees influenced their careers. 


Panelists Patrick Mullaney, Meghan Muniz and Joanna Bowen shared their stories with current Villanova undergraduates. 


“I knew I was going to be an English major because I liked learning about people’s stories,” explained Bowen, who graduated from Villanova in 2007. 


She also majored in Art History and came back to Villanova University to earn her Master’s Degree in Counseling. Bowen is currently the Director of the Augustinian Volunteers, where she is able to teach and help young adults. 


“Working in a small non-profit, you have to wear all of the hats and use all of the skills useful in working with a diversity of people,” Bowen said. 


She reminded audience members that, no matter the job, the ability to write concisely and clearly is highly valued by all employers.


“I feel confident in being able to communicate what our work is to stakeholders and community members because of the skills I gained as an English major,” Bowen said.


As a graduate student at the University, Bowen ran the Service and Justice program. During her time back on campus, she was also the Associate Director of Campus Ministry for the Service Break Program, planning service trips across the globe for hundreds of students.  


“My biggest challenge was getting out of my own way,” Bowen said about her own struggle to decide her career path. “I am deeply loyal to the institutions that have shaped me. I have a real sense of commitment to places that have formed me, but I also don’t let that hold me back. Especially in your generation, you’re not going to be in the same job for the next 25 years.”


Muniz is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion Partnerships at Pfizer, and she thanked her Villanova English degree, earned in 2005, for her communication skills. 


“Don’t be intimidated by a company name or job title,” Muniz said. “As an English major, you pick up these habits like being curious and being a critical thinker and picking up on contextual clues.”


She realized that, during her various jobs in the tech industry, “the stories that matter most were the unheard stories and the untold stories.” 


Before her current directing role at Pfizer, Muniz worked at both Yahoo and Verizon Media as Senior Manager of Diversity and Inclusion. She also has experience with event coordination and sales. 


Muniz also earned her Master’s degree in Management and Organizational Dynamics at the University of Denver. 


“I really wanted to understand business from a foundational level,” she chuckled. “And I was the oldest person in all of my classes.”


Mullaney, the third panelist and a 2009 graduate, explained that Villanova was his “second home,” as his father was a coach for the women’s basketball team for many years. While an undergraduate, he wrote for The Villanovan and decided that majoring in English would be the most beneficial to him. 


Mullaney is the current Marketing Manager for Very Pharmaceuticals. A shared struggle among the panelists, Mullaney explained how he was unsure about his future after graduating college. 


“2009 was not a friendly job market, and I spent that summer as a basketball camp counselor for Villanova and I also wound up as a teacher activities coordinator for Americorp that year,” Mullaney said. 


Mullaney spent time working as a copywriter, editorial assistant and marketing communications professional before taking on his current management position. 


Before the panel discussion concluded, all three panelists shared their contact information with the students in attendance and encouraged everyone to practice their networking skills.