Written by Hank Essman
Edited by Sabrina Wagganer
In this installment of the Alum Report, the English Department is proud to highlight the accomplishments of Aubrey Larimore-Vargas, a two-time MSU Graduate.
Having earned a bachelor’s in English/Literature and a master’s in Writing, Aubrey Larimore-Vargas is both a 2011 and 2014 graduate of the English Department. Today, she can be found in the Missouri State University Computer Services Department, where she serves as the Information Technology (IT) Support Administrator.
Larimore-Vargas has always been something of a technology person. “I’d love to have the latest gadgets and devices as a teen/young adult just to play with them and see what they were capable of – especially mobile devices.”
As she pursued her master’s degree, she held a part-time job at the Best Buy Mobile Department. She continued working at Best Buy while she transitioned to Southern Illinois Carbondale to begin studying for a PhD in English. “I became known as the ‘technology person’ in my program.”
After finishing her PhD, Larimore-Vargas learned that Missouri State had an opening for a Technology Training Specialist, which she saw as a “perfect fit.” She has now worked with the university for more than four years.
Show Employers Your Unique Strengths
According to Larimore-Vargas, the IT Support Administrator position entails running the Help Desk and Missouri State’s Technology Training Program. “This means that I spend the majority of my time problem-solving technology issues and designing training opportunities to help our faculty and staff become more confident and literate in campus technologies, such as Blackboard Learn and Office 365.”
. . . an English degree has uses in just about every field. “It’s all about how you highlight the skills you’ve learned and the ways they will be beneficial to the position you’re applying to.”
Her position not only requires a knowledge of technology but also the skills to explain that knowledge to people far less familiar with the field. Larimore-Vargas claims that her time studying English, along with her practical internships, helped give her the skills she needed to bridge the knowledge gap between a tech specialist and general staff. “I use these skills daily as I communicate with our users and determine the best solutions to their problems and questions. I work to anticipate their needs and create documentation that can help them solve those problems and answer those questions on their own.”
For current students, Larimore-Vargas stresses that an English degree has uses in just about every field. “It’s all about how you highlight the skills you’ve learned and the ways they will be beneficial to the position you’re applying to.” She encourages students to actively find a way to show employers the unique strengths that come with an English background rather than assuming those skills are self-evident.
Larimore-Vargas believes there will always be room for more English majors in the IT field. “We can always use IT professionals with a strong communication and writing background since we are often conveying confusing and complex information to an audience that does not want or need the technical jargon that goes along with it.”
About the Author
Hank Essman is a Spring 2021 graduate with an MA in English. He has worked as a tour guide for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home in Mansfield, Missouri, and co-hosted a radio show for a comic book club at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. He currently helps edit webpages for a Springfield business and is the former series editor of the Alum Report.
We Want to Hear from You
If you are a graduate of a program in Missouri State University’s English Department and would like to be featured in a future Alum Report, we’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.