After graduating SHU, Kilgore supported herself as a freelance writer, writing everything from brochures to press releases to web content. She even wrote speeches for a variety of people and businesses; including the president emerita of SHU, Kennywood, and a local Jimmy Buffett impersonator. She still works as a freelance writer today as a way to make contact with a variety of people, sharpen her abilities and grow as a writer. She attended a graduate program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and earned her Masters of Arts degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She worked as a tutor before obtaining the position of an adjunct professor at SHU. When the intercultural services coordinator position opened up, Karissa applied and got the job.
As an ESL instructor, Karissa teaches English to English language learners on campus. As intercultural services coordinator, Karissa assists faculty who need help with working with non-native English speakers in their classes, and addresses cultural issues in the classroom.
“My wildly varied professional and academic experience gives me unique insight to the work I do now,” said Karissa. “Teaching feels natural to me and I knew I would enjoy its challenges and rewards, but my staff position in Intercultural Services has allowed me to learn many new things and use skills I didn’t know I had! I’m helping to create a stronger intercultural presence on campus by building relationships between domestic and foreign students, professors and students, and the University and the world at large. And I get to teach English. It’s great.”
“I learned that college graduates with an English degree can do anything, really. It’s that flexibility that has helped me figure out what I enjoy doing and, more importantly, how to do it,” said Kilgore. “We can specialize our knowledge, tone, or style to any field or audience we want.”