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Featured Alumni

Melissa Zeid, '19

There's so much I love about the Vanguard English Department--from the curriculum to the small classes sizes--but my favorite part is the people. My classmates and my professors had a profound impact on my growth as an academic and a person, and I credit so much of my success to their mentorship and encouragement.

Melissa Zeid graduated from Vanguard University in 2019 with a Bachelor's in English with an emphasis in Literary Analysis and minors in Spanish and Religion. During her time at Vanguard, Melissa served as a resident assistant, SBA representative, Sigma Tau Delta President, and editor-in-chief of Synecdoche. Melissa is currently a second year law student at the James E. Rogers College of Law in Arizona. After graduation, Melissa will begin her legal career as a Judge Advocate in the United States Air Force.


Kyle Durham, '12As an English major, I acquired the skill set necessary to be a good writer and a critical thinker, but it also helped me become more competitive in marketing and sales. Since graduating with an English degree, I have had one more than one boss tell me that "I can train you for the job, but I can't teach you how to read and write. 

Kyle Durham has a diverse background when it comes to education, particularly as it pertains to reading and writing development. In 2012 Kyle graduated from Vanguard University with his BA in English. Shortly thereafter he taught English as a Second Language in Cheongju, South Korea. Upon returning, he worked in event planning, sales, and marketing before he decided to continue his educational experience by obtaining his preliminary Single-Subject Teaching Credential in English Language Arts in 2017. While teaching Researched Writing, Creative Writing, and College Success Strategies, Kyle went back to school to complete his MA. His final Master’s Action Research Proposal focused on the effectiveness of formative video/virtual feedback on students' disposition and writing proficiency. In May 2019 Kyle earned his Master of Arts in Education: Curriculum and Instruction. September marked the beginning of Kyle's third year overseeing the Academic Success Coaching program, Tutorial Program, and the College Success Strategies course where he hopes to become even more involved with Student Success and the English Department. 


Jackie Gutierrez, '20Vanguard’s Minor in Journalism and Digital Media enabled me to develop and line up my passions, education and writing skills in a way that prepared me for a career in journalism.

Jackie Gutierrez is a sports journalist and the creator of and writer for Women Kick Balls, an independent news source specializing in articles covering women’s soccer. In the last couple of years, Jackie has written over 200 articles for the site, a time coinciding with a growth of nearly 500 email subscribers from around the world. Reporting from the press box at the U.S. Women’s National Team games to on-the-field coverage of the National Women’s Soccer League, Jackie’s work continues to grow the exposure of women’s soccer. A 2020 graduate of Vanguard University, she is the first student to graduate with the Minor in Journalism and Digital Media, while simultaneously pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Communication. These twin degrees led to her acceptance at University or Oregon, where she is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Journalism.


Ashley Scriven, '18The English department at VU provided a safe space for me to find my voice, enabling me to courageously pursue deeper truths beneath the surface of a story.

Ashley Scriven graduated from Vanguard University in May 2018, after an undergraduate degree that included two-and-a-half years as a consultant and tutor in the Writing Center, service as the Managing Editor for Synecdoche, and three years on the Dean’s List. In 2017, she received an award for Best Scholarly Essay, a nice complement to her multiple publications. Ashley was also a member of Live2Free, an on-campus group committed to raising awareness of the perils of modern-day slavery. Following graduation, Ashley moved to Virginia to pursue a Master’s Degree in Counseling at Liberty University. Her goal is to become a licensed professional counselor and help people make meaning out of their life stories and heal them from trauma.  In her free time, Ashley enjoys hiking, blogging, and sitting around a bonfire with friends.


Christina Azevedo ('12)In many ways, Vanguard’s English Department shaped the educator I am today. Through the examples of faculty such as Professor Warren Doody, and Dr. Karen Lee, I learned how to create an inviting environment in my classroom, while maintaining rigor and high standards. Many of the activities, stories, and assignments I did during my time at Vanguard University can be seen in my classes today.

Christina Azevedo (‘12) is a high school English teacher, and proud alumna of the Vanguard English Department . She has taught English 12 & AP Literature for six years in San Jose, CA, and loves the adventure that teaching brings. Nominated Teacher of the Year in 2019, Christina is known for fostering meaningful and lasting relationships with her students, while sharing her love of literature- especially the many works she read in Professor Doody’s classes at Vanguard. In June 2020, she earned a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and looks forward to transforming educational systems to be more equitable, loving, and safe environments for all kids. When she’s not grading papers, or attending staff meetings, she enjoys drinking coffee, watching romantic comedies on Netflix, and spending time with her boyfriend, Jeremy, and her cats, Grace, and Milo.


Ashley Collins ('19)The professors in Vanguard’s English department were intentional in my development, challenging me to grow as a reader, writer and as a person.

A recent graduate of Vanguard University, Ashley Collins’ storied time as an English major included her service as Editor-in-Chief of Synecdoche, Vanguard’s literary journal; President of Sigma Tau Delta; and as the recipient of the Sigma Tau Delta Award, signifying the outstanding student of that year’s graduating class. Ashley also worked as a consultant in the Writing Center, as a coach for the university’s cutting-edge writing labs, and published her creative work in Synecdoche, A Tired Heroine, Vanguard Magazine and Grey Wolfe Publishing’s Legends. After graduating Magna Cum Laude, Ashley took her talents to Northern Arizona University, where she is pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing and teaching in the university’s composition department.


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