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Amanda Baker (B.A. 2015) Public Affairs Specialist, U.S. Army

Amanda Baker

Amanda Baker (B.A. 2015)

Public Affairs Specialist, U.S. Army

Amanda Baker was torn between two passions:  a love for journalism and her dream of serving in the armed forces.  After graduating with her B.A. in English (Literature Track), she found a way to pursue both—as a Public Affairs Specialist for the U.S. army.  

Amanda is stationed at Joint Base Lewis McChord just outside Tacoma, Washington.  As a Public Affairs Specialist, she writes for the Base’s two newspapers:  The Guardian and The Ranger. For these, she has covered stories on special forces soldier trainings, ‘combatives’ events, and family days at the base, as well as features on a unit chaplain and a retiring colonel.  She has also become ‘airborne certified’ to jump out of airplanes in flight and been trained in Psychological Operations (PSYOP) for the base office where she works. 

Amanda credits the English major for preparing her for the multiple responsibilities of her position.  Specifically, it was in her English courses that she learned to ask questions about characters and themes in literature—a skill that she applies to unpacking Psychological Operations texts, and to creating news stories.  In fact, Amanda says that because of her natural inquisitiveness, her colleagues at the base call her the ‘Riddler’ (a play off of her birth name, Amanda Ridder).  The English major, says Amanda, has also helped her work well at the base with people from diverse backgrounds: “English taught me to see multiple perspectives by engaging texts that spoke about culture, history, science and gender.”

Before joining the army, Amanda worked for City News Group, a regional weekly newspaper in Grand Terrace.  And prior to that, she interned as a writer with LA Yoga Magazine, for which she earned ENG 575 credit toward her B.A.  Amanda again emphasizes how important the English major was in her writing jobs: “English helped me to articulate my thoughts and structure my ideas on paper,” and to communicate those ideas effectively to various audiences.

Amanda has many positive recollections of her time at CSUSB:  “I remember the wonderful, helpful professors and the beautiful campus . . . My two favorite English courses, Studies of the American Gothic with Professor Chad Luck and Victorian Literature with Professor Luz Ramirez, allowed me to study the most interesting works of literature.  Writing in the Public Sphere with Professor Mary Boland also encouraged me to pursue journalism and blogging.  And while at CSUSB, I was a student editor for the Pacific Review . . . and was proud to read one of my short stories at an open mic on campus.” 

To students wondering about the English major, Amanda offers these words:  “Having an English background gives you many valuable assets for employers.  You can use this degree towards practically any career field.”  And to current English majors, Amanda says:  “Enjoy the journey.  Sit with a book assignment, turn off your phone and escape into a story.  Have fun with it because you’ll be amazed at what you learn.”