St. Bonaventure University

Student Testimonials

Here’s what students have to say about majoring in English.

Matt Villanueva, Class of 2022

English & Adolescent Education Double Major, Minor in Classic Cultures

Villanova University, M.A. in English, Class of 2024

Despite the minimal size of the English department rivaling that of St. Bonaventure, I could not have asked for much more in my four years as a Bonnie. The program’s small size provided a personalized experience within the literary sphere with each faculty member. Each faculty member shows great care with all their students both in and outside of the classroom.

Inside the classroom, the intimate class sizes yielded thought-provoking discussions that often had me continuing the conversations after class. They were also always available to discuss work through office hours.

Outside of the classroom, when applying for my Masters in English in other institutions, I had the privilege of having multiple faculty members help me with writing samples, personal statements, and letters of recommendations.

Bona’s English program dutifully prepared me for my English MA through intimate discussions, analytical reading, and constant constructive criticism, and I could not have imagined my four years of undergraduate studies anywhere else.

Matt poses with his Bona's diploma

Kaitlin Sinclair, Class of 2022

Adolescence Education & English Double Major

The St. Bonaventure University English Department renewed my love for English and strengthened my desire to teach it. During my junior year, I declared my second major of English.

The wide variety of classes offered allowed me to strengthen different aspects of myself as an English student. I learned how to write in different ways that allowed me to reach a wide variety of audiences. My favorite part of the English classes I took was the discussions the professors had the students engage in. In addition, we applied the themes that were present in literature to real life scenarios. A key part to my success in the English program was the dedicated professors. If I ever had a question or concern, they would always go out of their way for me.

I will cherish the classes, the professors, and the memories I made in the English Department for the years to come. I strive to impact my students the way the professors have impacted me.

Kaitlin poses in her graduation robe in front of Plassmann

Kyra McGoey, Class of 2022

English Major

The St. Bonaventure English Department gave me a place to be creative. It gave me a judgment-free zone to share all of my work. Through my years in the department I learned how to become a better writer. I learned that there are no “wrong” answers. I learned different writing styles from Hemingway to Christie and how they helped shape the world we’re living in today.

I can’t thank the English Department enough. Through struggles, defeats, trauma, love, heartbreak, anger, and depression I always had a place to creatively share without judgment or fear of being wrong. I felt confident going to class and I was proud to share my work because of the professors who helped shape the writer I am today.

After I graduated I accepted a full time position working in the construction industry in New York City. One of the skills that makes me stand out from others is the degree I received from St. Bonaventure because of the skills I learned studying in the English Department.

Kyra poses in her graduation robe in front of Plassmann Hall

Maria Ragonese, Class of 2020

English & Secondary Education Double Major

My time in the St. Bonaventure English department allowed me to really grow as both a writer and a reader.

The professors are passionate about the literature they teach, and their enthusiasm was always transferred to me. They brought insight to stories that I had not seen, and I am excited to pass along to my own English class.

Everything I learned in their classrooms has prepared me for my career as an English teacher.

Maria Ragonese, Class of 2020

Ashley DelVento, Class of 2020

English & Computer Science Double Major

Even though I was an unconventional English major (having a second major in Computer Science), the English Department made me feel welcome and at home. The classes that I was able to take while pursuing this degree not only expanded my knowledge of literature but also how to use different mediums to convey my ideas and analyses.

Since graduating, this degree has set me apart from my fellow software engineers, proving that my abilities to communicate and analyze go beyond that of technical terminology. This has helped me to land contracts in the educational technology sector as a creator of English language learning software and games.

Ashley DelVento, Class of 2020

Calsey Bump, Class of 2020

English Major

There are not enough amazing things that I could say about the St. Bonaventure English Department. I was fortunate enough to be a part of a department where the faculty genuinely want what is best for you, and make you feel important and welcomed.

I have gained so much knowledge and skills from my four years as a student in this department; I found my passion for literature through the diverse courses they offer. I am grateful that the department has such a vast range of classes to take that helped me become more open-minded and learn about different cultures. I was able to take English courses such as Victorian literature, Shakespeare, Advanced Written & Oral Composition, and even a Mystery in Literature course. All of these courses, and the many others that I took prepared me for a successful career because we were taught how to be highly effective in skills such as: communication, research, presenting, working independently, and using critical thinking skills.

As a recent graduate from St. Bonaventure, I am able to look back at my time spent with the English department. I am very thankful to have been able to work with the department over the years as a college student. I gained the confidence to pursue a career doing what I love, and I have them to thank for helping me along the way. The faculty, and the students in the department, have such magnetic personalities and really want to see everyone succeed to be lifelong learners and accepting individuals.

Calsey Bump, Class of 2020

Mya Coleman, Class of 2020

English Major

The English Department was always there for me from the moment I stepped foot on campus; I remember meeting the entire department on my first ever Bonas visit.

Not only did they help me academically, they were there to help throughout my personal life, especially through my loss of family members.

After college the English Department has helped me pick a career path that I want to follow for the rest of my life. I also loved that they sent a farewell video to all of the English Program graduates after graduation saying a final goodbye to us. Even teachers from my freshman and sophomore years said goodbye to me.

I feel as though I gained a network of people that I can rely on at any time in my future.

Mya Coleman, Class of 2020

Emily Palmer, Class of 2020

Professional & Creative Writing Major, Arabic & Islamic Studies Minor

I was lucky to have such an amazing experience in the Bona Family through the “tiny but mighty” Professional and Creative Writing major, which crossed between disciplines in the English Department and the Jandoli School of Communications. The professors from both departments were critical in shaping the way that I view and interact with writing. They recognized potential and talent in all of us and pushed us to move beyond our comfort zones and regular thought processes to really embrace the world around us—and in the case of creative writing, the worlds within us.

The courses I took used a variety of interactive approaches to communication. Assignments involved not only traditional essays but also presentations, podcasts, audio-visual remediation projects, blogs, vlogs, workshops, and digital portfolios. The English Department values interdisciplinary perspectives; my other classmates and I could apply interests from other parts of our studies or lives to our work. Because of the array of media, styles, and platforms as an outlet and the never-ending discovery of new and different thought processes, there was never a feeling that there was “nothing to write about.” My four years were so interesting and inspiring.

The support of the English Department at St. Bonaventure University gave me the foundation that I needed to take a leap of faith and pursue an MA in Middle East Studies/Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter in England. I’m more confident in my ability to use my love for writing and communicating in other spheres of study and life, and I’m excited for future Bonnies to find their paths.

Emily Palmer

Alexandra Amico, Class of 2019

English Major, Minors in Law & Society and Sociology

University of Massachusetts School of Law, Class of 2022

I took a different approach to law school through obtaining my English degree. It would be this approach along with the encouraging faculty and wide variety of classes offered at St. Bonaventure that would ignite my ability to succeed. The English Department is where I gained critical reading experience and further developed my writing. It’s also where I became comfortable with articulating and presenting my own ideas. The environment is one that fosters an appreciation for both thought and expression.

I am so grateful for my time at St. Bonaventure and the English Department faculty who helped to make my experience so meaningful.

Alexandra poses outside of her home

Ashlee Gray, Class of 2019

English & History Double Major

When I first started at St. Bonaventure University, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do and I switched majors quite a few times. It was hard when everyone told me to pursue a career in something I was not interested or particularly good in. Thankfully, in my second semester of my freshman year, I took an English class with Dr. Ellis and instantly changed my major to English.

The English Department challenged me to think critically and to push myself. My writing and analytical skills have improved immensely, as well as my ability to participate in discussion and solve problems. Every English class I took was engaging and the faculty were always there to provide assistance or advice.

With my English degree, I landed a job working in a library right after graduating and was accepted into a Master’s Program in Information and Library Science. I would not change a thing about my time at Bona’s as an English major, and I hope future students experience the same.

Ashlee Gray, Class of 2019

Joseph Giglio, Class of 2019

Professional and Creative Writing Major

The English Department at St. Bonaventure not only improved my mechanical skill at writing, but also gave me the confidence and encouragement to put my work out there. My experiences with the St. Bonaventure English Department helped me turn a passion for writing into an actionable plan for the future, and I could not be more grateful.

Francesca DiCillo, Classes of 2012 & 2014

B.A. (2012) and M.A. (2014) in English

I will be forever grateful for my time in the English Program at St. Bonaventure University. I always had the most supportive professors who let me be creative with my writing within the parameters of the assignments. They also taught me different styles and strategies to use for writing and overall communication.

Dr. Ellis was my undergrad advisor and he helped guide me through both the undergraduate and the graduate programs. His Shakespeare Comedies and Histories and his Creative Writing: Fiction were two of my favorite classes at Bonaventure and I still think about them even though it has been over a decade since I took them. I felt the greatest increase in my writing skills after having a class with Dr. Walsh. The Romantic literature classes I took with Dr. Simpson and the general lit and Chaucer classes I took with Dr. Panzarella were amazing highlights of my schooling, as was being Dr. Panzarella’s research assistant in graduate school.

I cannot say enough good things about both English programs I was lucky enough to be a part of, as they some of the best years of my life and taught me skills that have been applicable across many disciplines. Dr. King and Dr. Matz were invaluable in graduate school, helping me with both classes and beyond. Dr. Matz was an incredible thesis advisor and she helped me create the work that I am proud to call the best piece I have ever written. Teaching the freshman composition class with Dr. King’s guidance gave me skills that I still use in my day-to-day activities. His advice and mentorship are certainly part of the reason that I am successful today, as I currently have a mentorship role in my career. Every professor took the utmost care with their students while I studied with them, and I am sure that standard has continued.

After leaving SBU, the lessons I learned gave me the confidence to become an English teacher in South Korea for several years, and then gave me the confidence to pursue a career in New York City. Even though I do not work in a field that most would consider having an English degree as a major requirement, I truly believe that the skills I learned as part of this department have been paramount to my success. I count myself incredibly lucky to have been in this program with so many amazing people.

Francesca DiCillo stands in front of a lake