Carlito Umali graduated with his BA in English Literature in 2008. Today, five years into his teaching career, he is a middle school teacher at Renton School District’s Risdon Middle School, where his curriculum focuses on 21st century skills, STEM integration, and project-based learning.
He credits his various English faculty mentors for helping him to discern his career goals. Post-graduation, he worked for Seattle Central College, and Seattle University’s Center for Service and Community Engagement. These two experiences confirmed his passion for teaching, and from there he completed SU’s Master in Teaching program.
Umali says being an English major taught him how to define himself through writing. “Looking back at all the books I had to read and all those crazy essays – I learned my writing voice. At work, I am writing all the time. The speed, clarity, and confidence that I have in writing came from my training as an English Major.”
Umali advises current students to work and intern at different jobs, particularly before pursuing graduate school. He also emphasizes the importance of learning to work collaboratively. “Wherever you work, you will need to learn how to work with others.”
Umali describes the personal connections he made with faculty as his favorite SU memory. “I am so happy to have had Dr. Tung and Dra. Gutierrez y Muhs. In their classes, they got to really know me. I was working like crazy, hustling to get scholarships, and trying not to take out massive amounts of loans in an expensive, predominantly white institution. Finding them was like finding myself. They didn’t try to make me fit into a model of what an English major was, they allowed me to redefine it. I needed that connection to finish. I am so grateful to them both.”