What’s a pilgrim soul? Yeats might say that it’s who we really are, not who we pretend to be. We say it’s someone who isn’t afraid to admit they’re searching, a current student who is on a path, but doesn’t know exactly where it will lead.
By: Marisa Sloan
Eileen Porzuczek is a writer, author, editor, artist, and activist who is passionate about making a difference in the world. She has worked as a writer, editor, and designer for the digital magazine Rethinking Children’s & Young Adult Literature In 2018, Eileen won the Best Poster Design Award at the Cohen Peace Conference for her work with Rethinking Children’s and Young Adult Literature on the #blacklivesmatter edition. Eileen has also interned with the PR agency Bohlsen Group and at Indiana Writers Center for their Building A Rainbow summer program.
Currently, Eileen is the art and design editor for The Broken Plate and Brave Voices Magazine. Additionally, she has been accepted into Ball State’s Master of Arts in Emerging Media and Design Development program. She also writes a blog, Healthy Free Love, which is published through Alpha Chi Omega, about educating on intimate partner violence and promoting healthy relationships. In her free time, she works as a freelance writer and artist. Find Eileen on LinkedIn.
Since you have worked in an array of fields (editing, design, public relations, etc.) how has your English major factored into your pursuits?
As a professional, with experience in various fields, my English major has given me many important transferable skills. My English major has given me the skills to effectively communicate, collaborate, write, edit, design, research, and analyze. When going out for jobs not specifically looking for English majors, I make it my goal to sell myself as having the same skills they are looking for in other majors and more.
What inspired you to start your blog Healthy Free Love?
I was inspired by a professor to start my blog Healthy Free Love. I was in English 150 with Dr. Darolyn “Lyn” Jones and had decided to read one of my journal entries aloud. That specific week’s journal entry was about how we found our passion for writing or reading. I chose to write in my journal about how I found my passion for writing as an intimate partner violence survivor. When I shared my entry with the class, my professor encouraged me to start writing a blog about my experience as an intimate partner violence survivor and about healthy relationships. So, I did and I have been running the blog ever since. Writing the blog has also given me an opportunity to do some motivational speaking to school groups around Indiana.
What is it like being someone who fills so many roles in their professional life?
I personally enjoy being someone who fills many roles in their professional life because it keeps things interesting. I never feel bored with the work I do, which is a really great feeling and I am lucky to be able to do work that I love. I have also found that filling so many roles in my professional life allows me to market myself to employers in many ways.
How were you able to acquire your experiences as a designer and PR intern?
I have never had a design internship. However, I have worked as a designer on numerous projects and I do freelance design work. I was able to acquire my design skills by taking the knowledge I learned in English 430 and English 431 to further explore design tools on my own. So, in a way I am a self-taught designer.
Prior to working with Bohlsen Group as a Corporate/Nonprofit PR Intern, I did not have any PR experience. I learned about Bohlsen Group from my friends, some of whom had previously interned there. I then reached out to my friend’s mother who is the CEO of the company and asked if she would be willing to discuss more about the internship on the phone with me, she generously spoke with me over the phone and answered all of my questions.
After speaking with her I applied and had a scheduled interview with the woman who would be my boss, her name was Lauren Parke. In the interview my worst nightmare happened and she asked me, “I see on your resume that you don’t have any experience in PR. What makes you think that you are more qualified for this internship position than someone who is a PR major?”
I remember sitting in the conference room panicking for a second before I responded and completely sold myself with all the valuable skills being an English major has given me. Ultimately I ended up getting the internship. I will say this in experience of mine networking was just as important as my professional skill set.
Would you describe your creative process?
When I am doing creative work it is important for me to do work that is meaningful with the purpose of making the world a better place. I carry this value through my writing and design work. Social responsibility is something that is extremely important to me as a professional.
When I am designing my creative process can change depending on the project, but I always focus on the client and their creative goals.
Out of your diverse experiences, which one has been the most valuable to you?
It is hard for me to choose just one experience because all of my professional experiences have been really valuable to me. However, if I had to choose one I would probably say working as a writer, editor, and designer for Rethinking Children’s & Young Adult Literature Digital Magazine. I would choose this experience because working on their two most recent issues has allowed me to not only publish my work, but present my work at national and international conferences.
What was your day to day like when you interned at the Indiana Writers Center and Bohlsen Group?
When I interned at The Indiana Writers Center my day to day was focused on posting on all forms of social media to promote their Building A Rainbow Summer Program. I would also focus on working with my high school students to write their own memoirs and help them gain confidence to share those memoirs through spoken word.
When I interned for Bohlsen Group my day-to-day tasks were always changing because the job was very fast paced. Every morning I would start by checking my email and looking at when all of my projects were due. I would then prioritize what to work on and start working. If I had any questions I was able to ask my superiors, but they gave me a lot of trust as an intern and that really allowed me to work as an independent professional. The work environment was also very comfortable and employee oriented.
What are your future goals plans as a writer, editor, designer, and activist?
After I graduate with my Bachelor’s Degree this spring, I plan to continue my education at Ball State University. I will be continuing my education in the Emerging Media Design and Development Master’s Program. I plan to continue working with Rethinking Children’s and Young Adult Literature and writing my blog in the future. Although I am not sure what else the future holds for me right now, I am looking forward to what the future may bring.
What advice would you give to current English majors who are dreaming, big but don’t know how to sell themselves and their skills to get internships and experience?
I would that it is important to go back and look at the work you’ve done throughout your English courses and really break down those experiences into marketable skills. I would also say that it is important to prepare and do your research on a company before you sit down to meet with them for any professional opportunity.