Alumni Spotlight

COLLEGE OF HUMANITIES & SOCIAL SCIENCES

Alumni Spotlight

Some parents may question the value of an English degree. Luckily for Nic Esposito, his parents did not.

When he graduated from Rowan with a bachelor’s degree in English, Esposito wanted to be a writer. However, as life began to present opportunities in other areas, he also began to feel, “But I am also interested in community service, political movements, urban agricultural and building communities.”

His English degree helped him to achieve success in all of these areas.

Esposito believes that Rowan’s English major gives students a lot of skill, but also a lot of freedom and leeway to carve out their own paths. “With the economy we live in, you’re not taking a job - you’re creating a job.”

After rebuilding homes and communities ravaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Esposito put down roots in Philadelphia. He developed an interest in urban gardening and now serves as co-manager of Emerald Street Community Farm in the Kensington section of Philadelphia.

Just six years after graduation, Esposito founded The Head and the Hand Press, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit, independent book publisher and writers’ workshop. Noting a lack of access in Philadelphia to New York companies and agents, Esposito says, “I wanted to create that opportunity and that noise here in Philadelphia. The Head and the Hand sees its power in that we can work with writers, serving as a launching pad to create broader appeal.” Gone are the days of handing over your manuscript and hoping for royalty checks, Esposito says. “You’ve got to hustle. But not many writers want to be a 'brand.' That's why we collaborate with authors on the marketing for the books, and make it feel fun and creative."

Reflecting on his undergraduate studies, Esposito says, “Rowan taught me the value of what to do with an English major. I learned criticism and critique through an interdisciplinary lens. When I graduated, I had the ability to sit down and learn about whatever I wanted to learn about--whether it be gardening or community building.”