Christopher Carr

Degree and Year: 
BA 2006
Professional Title: 
MD/MPH Student
Tulane University, United States Navy

Professional Background: 
Japanese <> English translator, medical student

How has being an English graduate from Duke University helped shape your professional success?: 
When I was an undergraduate at Duke, I decided to double major. The idea was that I would choose one practical major (I chose economics) and one fun major (I chose English). As a graduate now ten years out, I've been surprised by how valuable my English training has been for the practical advancement of my career and interests. From 2006 to 2011, I worked in Japan mostly teaching English and translating. Since being a good translator means being a good writer, I found my English education invaluable. In 2011, I decided to return to the United States to attend medical school. Being a medical professional and researcher requires more sentence-craft and communicative ability than one might care to imagine, and there are few with the required skills. Here again, I have found tremendous practical benefit in my English skill set, as other physicians and researchers will often turn to me to put the finishing touches on their messages to the world. While English has turned out to be more practical a major choice than I imagined, it has also allowed me to have fun: over the last ten years I've been able to write poetry, essays, and other creative works and publish these online at places such as the Atlantic and Ordinary Times. In this sense, writing has become both the cornerstone of my career and the principle source of joy in my imaginative life.