Updates from Alumni: Mary Schmick ’14

By: Emily Church

There’s always a good reason to catch up with an alumni of Whitworth University. Not only are they great people, but they help remind students, like me, that there is a life after Whitworth and it can be pretty awesome. I got the chance to ask Mary Schmick, a Whitworth graduate from 2014, about her life beyond the pinecone curtain.


So, what are you up to these days?

I am now a technical writer/technical editor for Mission Support Alliance, a company that supports the Hanford clean-up project in Richland, WA.  I edit environmental permitting and regulatory documents that will be submitted to the Department of Energy and other government agencies (EPA, Department of Ecology, etc.).  Editing a document involves fixing formatting and copy editing, as well as looking at sentence clarity.

How did you get to where you are now?

I had become interested in editing in college and also began to see technical writing as a possible career path when I spent a summer interning for a geologist at a research laboratory. There I got to help research and write scientific articles on topics like carbon sequestration. I graduated from Whitworth University in 2014 with an English degree on the writing track. After graduating, I moved to the Tri-Cities where there are several companies that need technical writers. I spent ten months working a part-time job and applying and interviewing for technical editing positions before I got my first technical editing job. The job was editing safety procedures on topics such as electrical safety and working with beryllium, which were used by workers for the different companies across the Hanford Site.  I was in this position for a year and a half. During this time, I started editing for a different organization within the company I worked for when their technical editor retired. When the position came open, I applied and got the job, which is the position I currently hold.

 How has your English degree from Whitworth served you since graduation?

My English degree has been so valuable to me since graduation from Whitworth. In terms of a career, strong writing skills have been very helpful. So many different types of work involve writing, which makes strong English skills indispensable. As an English major, writing was something I sometimes took for granted, but in the workforce it is viewed as being an area of expertise. Apart from my career, my English degree has also shaped my critical thinking and communication skills. Also, the things I have learned from reading and analyzing literature has had an impact on how I look at situations in life and has given me a better understanding of viewpoints different than my own.

Emily Church (’17) is an English Writing and Sociology major at Whitworth University from western Washington and dreams of one day traveling the world. She enjoys writing, reading, painting, collecting journals (not writing in them), fall leaves, summer warmth., and adventure.

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