Alumni in Action

Alumni Spotlight: Jennifer Baker

Alumni Spotlight: Jennifer Baker

Describe your current position

I am the Stewardship and Content Coordinator for WCSG, a Christian radio ministry that is part of Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids. I write and design content for print and digital donor communications that our development team uses to engage potential sponsors and underwriters for WCSG’s programs and events.


To what extent does writing relate to your current position? What type of writing/design do you do work for?

My central role with WCSG is writing, and I primarily follow similar patterns that would be used in marketing and advertising. I first identify the target audience, which determines the tone, language, and “ask” the communication will be making. Regardless of who my specific audience is, the number one question from a donor I seek to answer is, “What’s in it for me?” There are many fantastic organizations that people can support, so my goal is to identify and emphasize what benefit or value someone might gain should they choose to support WCSG specifically. For example, that “value” may take the shape of quantifiable information about the number of listeners we reach, which might appeal to a business seeking to get their name in front of thousands of people. However, for others the value might be more emotional and appeal to their desire to share the Christian message in general. I am constantly adjusting my writing to emphasize what resonates most to a specific readership.


Briefly describe your path from graduation at GVSU to your current position.

When I first enrolled at GVSU, my intention was to pursue a science-related major so that I could pursue a future in veterinary medicine. After a couple semesters, it became clear that this was not the direction intended for me. I had received many comments from teachers through the years about the quality of my writing, so I decided to pursue something I knew I was good at. At the time there were two tracks in the writing program: creative writing and professional writing. I didn’t see myself becoming a novelist, so I opted to take the professional track. I’m glad I did.

I graduated in 2004, and within a year I obtained a job with a non-profit medical organization as an administrative assistant. Within a year, the executive director recognized my writing skills, and I was offered a role as a communications specialist for their marketing team. That position was very similar to what I am currently doing for WCSG. I worked in that role for nearly nine years until I decided to leave the workforce in 2012 to stay at home with my children full time.

I worked in a freelance capacity as a writer and graphic designer during the next ten years. However, in 2022 I began working as a pastor’s assistant at my church until I learned of a writing opportunity with WCSG, which is where I’m at today. Professionally, I picked up where I left off back in 2012, and I feel incredibly blessed to have a job where I get paid to engage both my faith and talent. Not everyone finds work that fosters the core of their identity.


What parts of the writing major had the strongest impact on you as a professional?

My favorite class was “Writing with Style”. The professor had many in-class exercises that helped me learn how to carefully consider the words I use based on the needs of my reader. That is one of my greatest strengths as a writer, and I believe it was Professor Dwelle who helped me cultivate this skill. 


What advice would you offer to current/future writing majors at GVSU?

When I changed majors to pursue a BA in Professional Writing, I had no idea what I would do with such a degree. All I knew at the time was that I was terrible at science and chemistry, but I was really good at writing. My advice to current or potential students is to not only look at what you WANT to do for a profession, but to also consider what you are uniquely talented in. Every person has been gifted a skill, and if yours is in writing, then lean into it! I didn’t realize it then, but writing can be used in so many capacities for businesses everywhere. Writers are needed to obtain grants, create copy for print and digital media, appeal to donors, promote a business; it’s such a versatile skill that can be done anywhere and for anyone. And while there are some “AI generators” out there that suggest writers can be replaced, there simply is not a substitute for the relational nuances that a real person can capture. The need for writers is here to stay. If you’re good at it, then use it. 


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Page last modified November 27, 2023