Eliot White '12 '18, English Alum Spotlight

Eliot At A Glance


  • B.S.E. Secondary English Education, 2012 (Millersville University)
  • M.A. English, American Literature, 2018 (Millersville University)

On-Campus Achievements 

  • Distinguished Civic Leadership Award, awarded for assisting creative writing workshops with former Lancaster County poet laureate Barbara Buckman Strasko
  • Creative Writers' Guild, founder and member
  • George Street Carnival (now, George Street Press), renewing member

Career Highlights

  • The Turning Wheel reading series at DogStar Books, organizer and host to poets and writers from across the Mid-Altantic Region
  • Published in SundogLit, Fledgling Rag, The Skinny Poetry Journal, and others
  • Copywriter and brand strategist, formerly the managing editor of The Triangle, a literary blog/website
  • Third Point Press, Poetry Reader for an online literary magazine

Current Pursuits 

  • J.P. McCaskey High School, Teacher
  • Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, Adjunct Instructor 

Continue reading Eliot's story for insights into the professional life after graduating college. Check out his campus favorites and his tips and tricks regarding what professors and courses you can't miss.

“There was such an energy on campus, and I tried to do everything I could to engage...”

- Eliot White | B.S.E. '12 and M.A. '18

Remembering Campus Culture

"I grew up in a pretty small town, so coming to the university environment and encountering its diversity (of people, ideas, courses, activities, etc.) and having close access to Lancaster City, and Philadelphia via train, seemed like a big leap forward for me, culturally speaking. There was such an energy on campus, and I tried to do everything I could to engage beyond just coursework, but with the broader arts community as well."

“I've had a bit of a meandering career path, but that's okay. Sometimes society pushes linearity too much when it comes to figuring out what types of work we are well-suited for, or what opportunities could benefit us and the world.”

- Eliot White | B.S.E. '12 and M.A. '18

“Teaching at the high school level is sometimes a grind, but when a student has a lightbulb moment, or loves a book that you recommend, or when they bravely share a poem they wrote, or absolutely nail an argumentative essay project, it is all worth it.”

- Eliot White | B.S.E. '12 and M.A. '18

English Skills in Action

"After graduating, I taught high school for a couple of years before deciding I missed learning too much and needed to find my way back to the university environment...I began as a substitute teacher at three or four districts, then taught 7-11th grade social studies and English for two years after undergrad. Then, I did three semesters of graduate coursework and loved my time working as a graduate assistant. I also did some freelance writing and bartending during grad school."

"Next, I got a job offer to work in marketing and branding and I jumped at the opportunity, which also meant leaving my grad program at about 90% complete. Over the course of a few years working at the agency, I used my training in a variety of capacities, including writing all kinds of print and web content, working on content strategy, developing communication plans, and even leading brand storytelling workshops. There are so many ways English major skills can be employed in a business setting, and it was thrilling to put those skills to use. I essentially used my research, writing, and empathic abilities to navigate the rhetorical situation on behalf of clients ranging from small businesses, to nonprofits, and medium sized corporations. Yet, after three years or so, I missed the classroom too much."

"I missed the very special feeling of working with young people and making a positive impact that comes with sparking a young person’s curiosity. So, I left my cushy branding job and found my way back to education. Now, I've been teaching for several years at J.P. McCaskey High School in Lancaster, and every day is an adventure working to convince students that language and storytelling hold the whole world together, and that solid communication skills can make all the difference. Teaching at the high school level is sometimes a grind, but when a student has a lightbulb moment, or loves a book that you recommend, or when they bravely share a poem they wrote, or absolutely nail an argumentative essay project, it is all worth it." 

“Creating space for the magic of 30-40 people crowded into a small gallery and listening to the written word is incredibly life-giving, almost spiritually important.”

- Eliot White | B.S.E. '12 and M.A. '18

Taking Pride in his Work and in the World

"I am committed to trying my best to impact the Lancaster community in small, positive ways. In addition to teaching, writing my own creative work, doing scholarship, and writing in a business context, one of the most rewarding things I've done since Millersville has been organizing and participating in the local literary community. Since 2016, I've organized a reading series called The Turning Wheel at DogStar Books in Lancaster, hosting poets and writers from all over central PA and the mid-Atlantic region. And there are tons of other great events going on all the time in Reading, York, Gettysburg, etc." 

Interested in Eliot's reading Series at Dogstar Books? He hopes to be holding in-person events again, starting in Summer 2022! Visit their website for more information. 

“ I am enamored with the way language and stories shape the world, for good and for ill. I wish more people would pay attention to this power.”

- Eliot White | B.S.E. '12 and M.A. '18

A Lifetime Commitment to English

"...I choose to live my life spending my time reading and writing and wrestling with how to use language to solve problems, understand the nuances of the world around me, and find moments of beauty and meaning. I harangue my friends with book recommendations and expect the same from them. Being an English major has allowed me to live richly, to feel deeply, and has given me the tools to (mostly) be in control of my own life journey, even when things are difficult or chaotic or confusing. And that is a gift that I hope to hold on to no matter where my career takes me."

"Richard Powers, in his incredibly powerful novel, The Overstory, writes: 'The best arguments in the world won't change a person's mind. Only a good story can do that.' Maybe this sounds grandiose or cliche, but it's really very simple and practical. I think we should all be striving to live, tell, or imagine a better story for ourselves."

“So, perhaps in the end, literature and reading and language is all about learning how to live well---that is, ethically, meaningfully, attentively, and with empathy. I can’t judge whether or not I succeed in doing this in my everyday life, but I certainly couldn't have come to this focus without the strong humanities education I received at Millersville. And for that, I'm grateful.”

- Eliot White | B.S.E. '12 and M.A. '18

Registration Coming up? Eliot Recommends...

For undergrads:

"I loved Dr. Shields's linguistics courses, Dr. Ording's Contemporary Literature course, and my African American Literature course with Dr. Corkery."

Graduate Student? Eliot has you covered too:

"Some memorable courses were Modern American Literature with Dr. Rineer, a Morrison/Baldwin Seminar with Dr. Ording, and two independent studies---one on narrative structure and cognition with Dr. McCollum-Clark and another on contemporary war literature with Dr. Miller."