Today we’d like to introduce you to Whitney Dennis.
Hi Whitney, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
After I graduated with my Master of Arts in linguistics, I started working as an English instructor at LSU.
After a few years of teaching, I made the somewhat foolish decision to pursue a Ph.D.; this was foolish for me because I had not done nearly enough research on the program and did not know exactly why I wanted to do it.
However, this poor decision would eventually have a positive impact on my career path. While enrolled in the Ph.D. program, I taught undergraduate courses in communication studies.
I also continued to edit papers for friends and former students. I eventually realized that the Ph.D. program I had chosen was not the right fit for me; I had no idea what to do next, but I stumbled into a career in medical school admissions.
Just as many others did, I experienced a significant change in 2020. In addition to the stress and uncertainty related to the pandemic, I went through significant personal changes. Fortunately, one of those changes was extremely positive; I had been trying for several years to move closer to my family in Louisiana. That goal was realized in October 2020 when I accepted a job in Texas.
A few months after moving to Texas, I found myself once again editing and reviewing academic papers, resumes, and cover letters for friends. I suddenly realized just how much experience I had in higher education and how much value I could add by starting a side business as an editor and proofreader.
As I was creating my website earlier in 2022, I happened to look up my bulletin board. There was a card with the word “ignite” on it. I thought back to everything I had endured from 2016 to 2020. While not all of the changes I experienced were my choice, I had been bold in blazing new trails for myself. That is how I thought of the name “Igniting Changes” for my editing business.
I now have clients in Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. I am thrilled to be able to use my teaching and admissions experience to help others, especially those working to make positive changes in their own lives.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
My editing business is still new, and so far this particular road has been smooth.
The road leading to this business was not smooth, but I am thankful for the unexpected experiences I gained. I am thankful for most of them, that is. If I had not moved out of state for a Ph.D. program, I would not have started working at a medical school in that area.
My experience working with medical school applicants was one of the most professionally fulfilling times of my life. I’m thankful for that experience as I work with applicants on their personal statements.
As you know, we’re big fans of Igniting Changes Editing. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
My full-time position is in graduate admissions, but I started Igniting Changes as a part-time venture earlier this year.
I have over 15 years of experience in higher education. This experience includes teaching ESL composition to both undergraduate and graduate students, editing doctoral dissertations, teaching undergraduate communication courses, and working as a director of admissions for graduate and professional programs.
I am most passionate about working with applicants to college, graduate school, and medical school. Working with these individuals allows me to use my education, work experience, and personal experience to help others trying to find their way through academic and professional changes.
Looking back at my time as a college applicant, I realize I did not have a very strategic plan for my future. I was good at school, and that is where I felt safe. Sometimes I wish I had planned things out a little more carefully. Then I realize that my haphazard journey through school and personal challenges brought me to where I am now.
My experiences as an applicant, Director of Admissions, and teacher give me a unique background that enables me to help others.
What are your plans for the future?
My editing business is still new, so I am trying to go with the flow right now.
This year I am focusing on editing personal statements for medical school applicants as well as reviewing resumes and cover letters. Soon I will also be teaching part-time, so I am not planning any big changes for my editing business just yet.
My goals within the next year include hiring someone to rebuild my current website and logo. I am embarrassed to admit how long it took me to create what I currently have. I can handle writing and editing the text of my website, but web design is a different story!
In addition to editing and proofreading, I am a singer/songwriter. I just started playing my original songs at open mic nights in late 2021, and I am looking forward to improving and eventually getting paid music gigs.
- $25 for medical school personal statements (now through July 31, 2022).
- Website: ignitingchanges.com
- Instagram: @ignitingchangesediting
- Facebook: @ignitingchangesediting
- Other: https://www.instagram.com/whitneyblakemusic/