Writing Community

From the moment you enroll, MS in Professional Writing students join a community of writers and an online network of support. Learn more about the career trajectories of our alumni and see advice they have for new students entering the program.

Alumni Interviews

Our professional writing alumni go on to have active and engaging professional writing careers. This year, the MS in professional Writing is focusing our “Interview with a Professional Writer Series” on our alumni. We are thrilled to share the exciting and impactful career trajectories of some of our most recent alumni in the interviews below:

April 28, 2023

Interview with Tami Herndon, Class of 2017, Professional Communications Consultant

March 29, 2023

Interview with Shanna Seesz, Class of 2022, Head of Content & Senior Science Writer at Invitae

February 10, 2023

Interview with Katie Bennett, Class of 2016, Vice President, Marketing & Communications at Moelis & Company

January 3, 2023

Professional Writer at Work: Interview with Christinne Govereau, Class of 2021, Technical Editor at US Energy Information Administration

December 2, 2022

Interview with Maggie McGwin, Class of 2020, Technical Writer at Palantir Technologies

October 28, 2022

Interview with Laila E. Dreidame, MSPW Class of 2019, Senior Director of Institutional Partnerships at United Way Bay Area

Letters to Incoming Students

Every graduating MS in Professional Writing student is invited to write an anonymous letter to "an incoming student" at the end of their final semester in the program. This tradition allows our more recent graduates to leave behind some wisdom from their graduate school journeys with our writing community.  Below, please see a sample of these letters to incoming students:

Dear Incoming MSPW Student,

Congratulations! Starting a new academic journey is always exciting. Now that I have completed this program, I can tell you that it turned out to be nothing like what I expected-- in a good way! Let me explain.

First off, I was a little worried about doing an online program. I don’t live in NY and as a working mother, I wasn’t able to relocate to NY. The first question I asked my academic advisor was if an online program would equate to an on-site program. “Yes,” was the short answer to a thoughtful conversation.

What I can personally tell you is that this program was every bit as challenging as it would have been in-person, and maybe even a little more rewarding. Halfway through my coursework, when everything was disrupted by the pandemic, our courses stayed consistent and calming. I am so grateful to have been part of this online program and the MSPW community during the last 3 semesters.

In this program, you can review lectures and complete assignments around your day. When you are given the freedom and flexibility to study at your own pace, you need to become extra crafty with your time management skills. You will be suddenly immersed into an online platform where you interact in every way a class would-- with weekly discussions, lab activities, conversations with classmates, and all kinds of engaging documents and media. It really was far better than I expected.

But let’s talk about the actual classes. I took Principles of Professional Writing in my first semester and I strongly recommend you to do the same. Every course in this program has helped me progress further as a writer: Style and Rhetoric, Writing for Digital Space, Technical Writing, Information Architecture, etc. And my professors were always cheering me on and encouraging me to pitch my stories for publication.

Oh, and in case you are wondering about your professors… they are brilliant. Schedule office hour calls and ask them questions about your assignments and your career goals.

Good luck in your journey,
-- An MSPW Alum, 2021

Dear Incoming MSPW Student,

Congratulations on starting this incredible journey! This is what I've learned over the last 2 years and would like to share with you, from one writer to another:

Use the program's flexibility to your advantage. I'm glad I spaced out my core courses across different semesters and took a lighter courseload at busier times in my life.

Bring your personal and professional interests into the classroom. Writers are genuinely fascinating people. While in grad school, my freelance work shifted from nonprofits & philanthropy, to insurance, pet care, travel writing, and now healthcare & pharmaceuticals writing. I've been able to write about every one of these topics for MSPW assignments and I’ve used my classes to steadily build a professional portfolio.

Learn how to adapt your writing for an industry or medium you haven't before. I knew very little about Health and Medical Writing when I signed up for this elective. I used this course to learn about AMA style, HIPAA, and patient communications. I am now finding that healthcare literacy is more important than ever, in jobs and in the new world we suddenly live in.

Join job boards for freelancers. Upwork is my favorite site for short-term writing gigs.

Read for pleasure as much as possible. Books, newspapers, think pieces— you never know where you'll find a nugget of inspiration for your next project or class forum post. The MSPW holds online book club meetings twice a semester. I suggest you make time to join these events and see what your classmates are reading too.

There is no right or wrong way to approach a project. Maybe it will take 1, 5, 8 drafts, but you WILL get it right. To quote a professor: "You can edit a bad page, but you can't edit a blank page. Just start writing."

Ask your classmates for advice. You may be a first-semester student working with someone in their last semester. They'll have advice about the core courses, electives, events, etc.

Take advantage of NYU student life if you're local to NYC! I've been to a Broadway show and the NYC Transit Museum through NYU Grad Life activities, and attended lectures by the NYU Publishing Society.

Best of luck, and always try to remember why you love to write.

-- An MSPW Alum, 2021

Dear Incoming MSPW Student,

Welcome to the program!

Congrats on joining this wonderful program! I remember being intimidated when I started out and enrolled in my first semester of classes, but now I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished throughout the last two years.

My career interests have shifted during my time in this program, mostly because I took classes outside of my primary interests. Don’t be afraid to take classes outside of your comfort zone/area of interest. They may surprise you and ultimately impact your goals! Isn’t that what grad school is all about?

Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to do weekly readings. When I felt rushed, I felt like I didn't absorb the information as well. I used winter break to go back through concepts I wanted a refresher on, so find a way to bookmark or save your favorite resources! You’ll want to revisit them.

I have to say completing my thesis was the most rewarding aspect of my experience, but there were plenty of rewarding assignments throughout my time in the program. I felt particularly proud every time I completed an assignment type that was new to me, like learning how to draft a B2B press release or how to write long-form digital content. I’m graduating with a portfolio of work that showcases these skills.

Now that I’ve completed this program, I’m even more convinced of the importance of professional writing skills. No matter where your career takes you, I hope you feel confident using your MSPW skills too.

For my next chapter, I will be focusing on research writing and promoting data-driven wellness solutions. Excited for my new gig to begin!

-- An MSPW Alum, 2021