Rachel Clair '09 lives in Chicago with her husband, Dan. They love everything the city has to offer when there’s not a global pandemic. Rachel spent six years writing curriculum and creating content for a kid’s summer camp in Chicago before accepting a job as a content writer at World Relief. She loves pizza and riding her bike, and sometimes blogs about faith, politics and creativity at rachelclair.com.
Kristine Somerville, Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing: What year and issue of Harbinger did you edit?
Rachel Clair: 2009, “Restoration”
What did you learn from your experience as a Harbinger editor?
I gained a lot of confidence in my ability to edit and draw out the best in someone else’s work. I also learned the value of clear communication and really enjoyed working with everyone on the team.
What is your current job? What do you love about it? What are the challenges?
I am a content writer for a global humanitarian relief organization called World Relief. I really love the people I get to work with and the things I learn from them daily. Likewise, as a marketing professional, I consider it a privilege to tell the story of the work my colleagues and our community partners are doing on the ground. At the same time, it is often challenging to hold someone else’s story, telling it in a way that is both honest and dignifying. My biggest hope is that the work I do would challenge the stereotypes that often come with humanitarian work rather than perpetuate them, and ultimately it would draw all of us to see that we are each connected and play a role in making way for one another to thrive.
What advice would you give to English and Creative Writing majors?
Hold things loosely. Chase the dreams and goals you have but also don’t be afraid to let those goals change as you grow. Leap to try new things — whether that’s new ways of writing or a new creative endeavor. One of my favorite things about Stephens is that we had to take classes in every genre, which gave me a bit of experience writing a bunch of different things. Keep doing that. Say yes to opportunities that interest you even if it’s outside your most natural genre of writing or creating. I never imagined that writing curriculum and short plays for a kid’s summer camp is something I would do or enjoy, but I did it for six years and loved doing it. Your creative life and your professional life will both ebb and flow. Don’t be afraid to let them. I struggle with this almost daily and have a mantra I often have to repeat to myself: trust the process.
What is your favorite book, movie, and song?
Gosh, my favorite book and favorite song change all the time. So, my favorite books I’ve read this year are Elinor Oliphant is Perfectly Fine and Dreams From Many Rivers: A Hispanic History of the United States told in Poems. Likewise, my current favorite song is "Julianna Calm Down" by The Chicks.
I do have a consistent favorite movie though: Girls Just Want to Have Fun, starring a young Hellen Hunt and SJP. It was the perfect slumber party movie in my middle school years and still makes me want to dance around my living room every time I watch it now.
Please share an inspirational quote from one of your most admired people.
“When you cannot see the future, just do the next right thing.” -Frozen II (not an inspirational person, but it's the quote that's gotten me through this last year!)