Digital Humanities Major Looking Forward to Creating Her Own Career

Marissa Kagarise is one of the first students enrolled in the new digital humanities major at Seton Hill. 

Digital humanities, she says, is a “perfect fit” for her interests and career aspirations, as it is “adaptable and diverse for a wide spectrum of careers - especially in our technologically advancing society!” 

"The Digital Humanities Program stems from a unique collaboration between faculty in the School of Humanities - particularly with specializations in English, professional writing, and creative writing - and faculty in graphic design, business communication and entrepreneurship,” says Debra Faszer-McMahon, Ph.D., dean of Seton Hill’s School of Humanities. “The goal of the program is to equip students for work in increasingly interdisciplinary business contexts, where skills in critical thinking, creative writing, and design are linked to business savvy and data analysis."

As part of her coursework in digital humanities, Marissa has been able to complete two internships. For her first internship, she worked at a holistic health shop in Hollidaysburg, Pa. There, she had the opportunity to learn about inventory management and organization along with using digital design skills for marketing. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marissa conducted her second internship solely online. “It provided me with a unique experience for adapting a business to an unexpected crisis and how to keep consumers involved,” she says.

For this second internship, Marissa wrote blog posts and created podcast graphics for The Bring Me 2 Life Network. She also participated in a few podcast episodes. This helped her to better understand the process of planning, recording, editing and promotion. 

“I had access to the analytics and ‘behind the scenes’ action of setting up and maintaining a network designed to connect people across the globe.” 

“Social media promotion gave me the opportunity to play around with Canva applications and learn how individuals interact through technology - as well as the most effective ways to convey a message/product,” she says. “I had access to the analytics and ‘behind the scenes’ action of setting up and maintaining a network designed to connect people across the globe.” 

A creative person by nature, Marissa wants to develop her own start-up after graduation. Beginning in the fall of 2021, students in the digital humanities major will gain experience in doing just that. 

“We wanted students to have a hands-on, interdisciplinary experience, so part of the major involves a design firm on campus,” says Emily Wierszewski, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the English Program and director of the Undergraduate Writing Program. “Students will collaborate with other digital humanities majors and students in various disciplines to do design work for local nonprofits and small businesses.” 

Marissa hopes to wrap up her study in the digital humanities major with a study abroad experience in Ireland next year. Traveling and learning more about global issues is important to Marissa. She hopes to use the skills she learns in the Digital Humanities Program to “see where in society and around the world I can use them. More specifically, I want to be an advocate for environmental change through my unique, creative lens.” 

“Digital humanities offers that toe-dipping and foundational criteria to expand upon and mold into my own as I discover the possibilities that lie ahead,” Marissa adds. “Asking myself questions of how I could best reach out to people while maintaining an explorative and self-expressive nature led me to this major, and the possibility of a future of self-employment -- or at the very least more individualistic career and lifestyle opportunities.” 

Marketing communication intern Jessica McClelland assisted with this story.