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Alumni Testimonials

Graduate Chris Vitale

Chris Vitale: Operations & Project Management

Majoring in English was the smartest decision that I have made to date. I would go even further to say that studying English at Queens College, CUNY, directly prepared me to excel in my career and day-to-day life. Some of that invaluable knowledge includes:

  • Translating and being an advocate for multiple perspectives. There is a firehose of opinions, thoughts, and actions happening constantly, so knowing how to capture the key elements of the varied perspectives is something that I learned in the classrooms in Kiely Hall.
  • Talking about books that I have never read, or in this case topics that I don’t know much about. All you need to know is enough to talk to other people about that topic. Being humble and opening every step of the way doesn’t help either. You’ve done this in your entire journey at Queens College, don’t be afraid to admit it.
  • Avoid adverbs. Need I say more? This one has always stuck with me and helps cut through the noise in a lot of the conversations that I have with my coworkers. (Thank you Stephen Kruger).
  • Take notes. Copious notes. Pro-Tip: Use Google Docs or something similar so they’re easily indexed and searchable at a later date. Make glossaries of jargon and acronyms (there’s far too many). Make to-do lists and log decisions that were made. The same way that you would map out parts of a narrative or build an annotated bibliography, keeping notes helps future you and your entire team more than people are willing to acknowledge.

My career trajectory to date has brought me to organizations large and small. From cutting my teeth in digital products in the early days of Thrillist and mental_floss, to project managing website migrations and a team of undergraduate content creators for Queen’s College and the City University of New York as a part of a unique digital fellowship, through to managing the software development lifecycle and client project management at small digital agency within one of the nation’s largest technical recruiting firms, MondoLabs of Mondo—delivering projects for PayPal, McKesson, IBM, and more— and finally to where I was most recently as the leader of the Project Management Office (PMO) at BeenVerified. In the midst of this I even earned my MALS in Digital Humanities from the CUNY Graduate Center because who needs to sleep?

Today I am leading Operations & Project Management for a venture-backed stealthmode team of incredibly smart research scientists exploring the relationship between diet and disease, while running a few smaller startups taking a crack at services for mission-driven small businesses (www.productpaths.com) and bringing brands in front of video game streamers and their audiences (www.wearehazard.com)

Nothing that I have done in my career was on that list of jobs you get with your major. But everything that I learned directly applies to what I do every single day.

Long story short, for all the paranoid English majors who have read one-too-many memes on Facebook about their imposing doom, it’s going to be okay.

Just hustle. Learn. Adapt. Think critically. Read closely.

Don’t be afraid to bullshit a little. You do it every time you fluff up your papers to hit 10 pages. It’s worth far more than you realize.

Connect with Chris on Linked-In.

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