Heather Hughes, '11
Heather Menarchek Hughes, a native of New Philadelphia, Ohio, graduated from Muskingum in 2011 with an English degree. Shortly after graduating, Heather and her husband (Tad Hughes, ’09) moved to Geochang, South Korea, where both of them spent six months teaching English. Upon returning to the U.S. in December 2011, both were hired at the University of Akron English Language Institute as ESL (English as a Second Language) instructors.
Of her job, Hughes explains, “We teach international students from various countries daily. In October 2012, we were asked by Kent State University if we would join their English Language Institute as well, and of course we agreed. I do what I love every single day of my life. I am fortunate that I had such an awesome start to my career.”
Hughes’ interest in and exposure to ESL began at Muskingum, where she spent three years working with Meri Linn McCollum, Director of International Admission and ESL instructor. “I helped with class organization, sharing cultures, and grading papers, all things I do now in my own classes. Secondly, my journalism experience…helped me to develop good writing skills that I can now pass on to my students.”
Hughes appreciates the liberal arts education she received at Muskingum, and says she often puts it to use in her classroom experiences. “Since I work daily with international students, many different types of topics come up during in-class discussions. It is a wonderful feeling to know that something you learned in history class from Dr. Hilton, or a current events topic that you learned in a journalism class from Dr. Wagner helped you in your career in some way, even if it is as simple as helping to hold an educated conversation with a student from Saudi Arabia.”
Hughes has advice for college students looking toward the future and the job market: “I advise that they begin networking if they haven't done so already. Talk with people within their majors to ask what they are doing. Make connections with professors, and ask them who they know that can help them within their careers. Make a collection of their work, whatever it is, to show during an interview. I advise that they push themselves, go to every career fair they can attend, and apply for as many positions as possible. Also, I highly suggest that each senior be willing to move around the country. Not only will they gain valuable experience in both living and working somewhere out-of-state, but it shows employers that you are dedicated, hard-working, and willing to do whatever it takes to be successful.”