Turning a Passion into a Career: Kristyne Bradford

kristyneEvery person dreams of finding a way to be paid to do what we love. Kristyne Bradford is one such lucky person. Bradford is a former WIU English Graduate student who excelled at every challenge she encountered and is currently living out her passion for art as the Executive Director of the Buchanan Center for the Arts in Monmouth, Illinois.

After graduating from Monmouth College with her degree in Business Administration, Bradford came to WIU to further her degree and pursue her interest in writing. She says that “working with fellow grad students on class assignments and teaching first year composition” were by far her favorite parts of being at WIU. Bradford was granted an assistantship that allowed her to teach several semesters of first year students in the art of composition. She was honored to be able to mold young minds and help inspire a love for writing in her students. Little did she know that what she was actually doing was preparing for her future career.

Bradford’s writing knowledge and experience working with others comes in handy in her new career as Executive Director of the Buchanan Center for the Arts. According to her, “The BCA hosts 7-9 exhibitions annually in addition to special events and fine arts (art, dance, and theater) classes. I spend my days researching and writing grants to support the BCA mission: To promote education, participation and enjoyment of the arts in the Warren County region. I am also responsible for curating the exhibitions and coordinating arts classes.” Bradford has expressed how much she enjoys her positions surrounded by writing and art on a daily basis. She is able to credit her WIU education for giving her the needed preparation for this demanding position. Bradford mentions, “The research and writing involved with the English Graduate program has been instrumental in my daily tasks.”

We could all be so lucky to find a career that is built around our passions. That is the goal, after all. When asked how others can improve their job search process, Bradford said, “Make writing a part of your daily habit, whether or not your field of study is English. The ability to effectively communicate is the key to success in any field.” She has plans to eventually get her Ph.D. in English and return to teaching full time.

Bradford wants to encourage current and future students to “Enjoy the journey! Not just while you are in school, but in any challenge or opportunity you face.” And she had a few helpful words of advice for the English Graduate students she knew would be struggling through the program during these final weeks: “Persistence. Never be afraid to try what others may feel is impossible or out of the mainstream. Be yourself.”