Current Student Spotlight: Madison Butler

Madison Butler is a student of the MPW program at Chatham and a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh. Before attending Chatham’s MPW program, Butler attended Penn State to study Print Journalism and graduated from their program in 2015. In the Fall of 2016, Butler enrolled in Chatham’s MPW program and is expected to graduate this semester.

Butler felt she learned a lot from Penn State’s communication program, but she wanted to continue her education in order to expand her knowledge of writing styles.

“I was drawn to this program because it was unique,” Butler said. “I have always bounced around a lot in terms of learning new skills. I liked that Chatham offers a program that can be completed online and with a variety of classes. This is something that fits really well with my personal style of learning, so I was really excited to begin the program.”

Since beginning the program last fall, Butler has taken a wide variety of classes in the program. She’s explored grant writing, technical writing, blog writing, and social media writing. She’s also taken classes in web development and design and information architecture.

“I was most excited to learn about the more technical styles of writing because I think the formats are widely applicable and can be used in several industries,” Butler said. “These are also specialized styles of writing that you don’t learn about.”

Butler really enjoyed the web development classes with Professor Charlotte Scott since it was a new skill for her, and she plans to learn more about it on her own. Classes with Professor Mike Lavella in information architecture were also of interest for Butler during her time here at Chatham.

“All of these [classes] were extremely helpful in expanding my knowledge of web design and development, which has made me a better writer and blogger,” Butler said.

The skills Butler has learned from her coursework at both Penn State and Chatham have helped Butler in many jobs. Butler said she worked at a flower shop developing social media, design, branding and marketing, and customer service.

Butler said, “I’ve used my knowledge from the MPW program in each position I’ve held. I think the position I used these skills in most was, surprisingly, at the flower shop I worked at. There, I ended up writing product copy, developing a social media presence, and writing a business plan for the owner.”

Butler currently works as a freelance writer. She writes for Graphic Policy, a site focused on comics, and Sidequest, which focuses on videogames.  She’s also currently working on a project of her own where essays dive deep into media; it’s called Critsumption.

“This program has given me tools to be more effective in my workplaces, and to implement more effective practices and methods of communication. It’s pretty amazing that the professional writing field encompasses so many different jobs,” Butler said.

Butler is currently looking for a full-time job outside of the writing she does already. She wants to pursue a position in journalism or social media marketing.

“My ultimate goal is to be in a position where I’m passionate about the things I’m writing about, regardless of what type of writing it is.”

Butler’s advice for new writers is to write first and edit later. Butler said, “As a writer, I tend to get caught up in editing as I go, which makes my projects take much longer than they should. Writing for yourself allows you to get your thoughts down without worrying about audience reception, and since I’ve started writing for myself first, I find that I’m able to distill my writing into a clearer message that’s closer to my original intention.”

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