Mary Arnold ’19 graduated with a B.F.A. in Creative Writing and a minor in music. She was born and raised in South Carolina and moved with her family to Missouri in late 2009. Before attending Stephens, she worked for a manufacturing company for six years to earn money to attend college. Stephens was her first choice. In her spare time, she enjoys reading mysteries and romances, writing short stories, binging crime shows, playing video games, and being at home with her family.
Kristine Somerville, Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing: What year and issue of Harbinger did you edit?
Mary Arnold ’19: I served as Harbinger’s editor-in-chief in 2018 for the “Negative Space” issue.
What did you learn from your experience as a Harbinger editor?
That being an editor is a lot of work! But that’s what I really liked, too. From composing the giving letter, to writing the foreword, to overseeing everyone’s participation in reading and rating the submissions, to leading the launch party, it was fun to take charge and collaborate with some amazing team members!
What is your current job? What do you love about it? What about it challenges you?
I am the marketing and communications coordinator for Alternative Community Training. ACT is a 45-year-old non-profit organization that has been supporting people with developmental disabilities in Columbia and Mid-Missouri.
I love what our agency is all about. The mission they stand behind: “An inclusive community where everyone belongs, participates, and is valued.” I’m a positive, happy person who enjoys socializing (when possible) and getting to know people, and in my current position I get to do both, a lot! Also, I am able to utilize creative writing, event planning, social media, and tech skills, all of which I acquired during my time at Stephens College.
The biggest challenge is juggling a lot of responsibilities, such as managing our social media platforms, creating digital content, answering phone calls and emails all day long. Not to mention the monthly Zoom meetings with management and attending webinars. My current challenge is planning for our annual fundraiser with CoMoGives 2020. This starts on Dec.1 and goes till Dec. 31 at midnight! CoMoGives is a huge deal for our agency.
What advice would you give to English and Creative Writing majors?
Don’t discredit your writing abilities before you get started! Turn off the editor in your mind and write without restraint. Absorb all the writing advice you can from the professors. They are very knowledgeable and there to help you succeed and be your best. Enjoy your time as an English/Creative Writing major, because it’ll be over before you know it.
What is your favorite book, movie, and song?
Beauty by Robin McKinley is probably my all-time favorite book! It’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast (my favorite story!).
My favorite movie is Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightly. I absolutely love watching period pieces with a good amount of romance!
I don’t have a favorite song. My current favorite album is The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Studio Cast Recording). A musical based off the Disney animated film. Dark, haunting, suspenseful songs that’ll stay with you all day long!
Please share an inspirational quote from one of your most admired people.
“Don’t get it right, get it written.” By Kate Kogut. I can’t tell you how many times this helped me get through writing assignments for classes! Kate Kogut was my academic advisor. She’s the reason I loved my time at Stephens and exceeded my own expectations.