News from our Alums: Vanessa Hester (PhD 2021)

Submitted by Michael Neininger on
Vanessa Hester

When I decided to leave academia after the defense of my dissertation in the spring of 2021, I did not know what to expect. While I enjoyed the work as a teacher in the department and my research, I realized that I needed to try something new that was outside of the familiar walls of Denny Hall. The pandemic and the overall slower nature of life contributed to my decision to start fresh and try something new.

At first, the job search seemed dreadful. So many positions, so many possible pathways but also so many candidates who were looking for a new professional opportunity. But I wanted to succeed and ended up with a job that fulfills me deeply.

After 4 months of writing applications, making it through phone screens and receiving lots of rejection emails, I saw the job positing as a Content Specialist for German on the Amazon Seller University team. Yes, another University. However, this time in an entirely different setting at one of the largest corporations worldwide. I applied and made it successfully through three rounds of interviews and started this new professional adventure in August 2021. My team, a mix of writers, editors, instructional designers and localization specialists, creates educational content for third-party sellers who are offering their products in the Amazon stores. Originally, I was responsible for the localization of the content into German. But as I became more familiar with my team’s work, my responsibilities and my scope grew. First, I became the manager of the European content team with 4 localization specialists. And after an internal restructure of our team at the end of March, I am now co-leading the entire worldwide content team that supports the creation and localization of content in all 20 worldwide Amazon stores.
While the pace at Amazon is definitely faster than in academia, I enjoy the collaborative work with my team members who are located all over the world, from Brazil to Australia. Additionally, the new work – and the return to normalcy – also allows for some interesting work travel to meet with global teams and create content strategies for engaging educational content.

Outside of work, baseball remains my passion as I diligently manage my fantasy team, root for our local Seattle Mariners and try to visit new ball parks in North America whenever possible.

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