Amanda Norton

Amanda Norton [email protected]
Senior Writer
University of Chicago Urban Labs
33 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 1600
Chicago, IL 60602

1) What is your current occupation and where do you live? Please briefly describe your duties and responsibilities. How long have you been at this position?

I am currently Senior Writer for the University of Chicago Urban Labs, which is an action-oriented social science research center, led by economists who are conducting rigorous, evidence-based work across five areas of urban life: crime, education, health, poverty, and energy and the environment. I write and edit all kinds of things — grant proposals, emails, magazine pitches, web text, talking points, etc., — and support event planning efforts and organizational strategy. I have been with the University of Chicago for eight years, in a few different roles, and have been in my current position since August 2015. I live in Hyde Park, a few blocks from the UChicago campus.

2) Did studying German language and culture at Williams College help you in your professional and personal development? If yes, then how were German Studies useful to you? What opportunities and challenges did the German major open up for you both specific to your current occupation and more generally?

My Williams education was invaluable to me. I did go on to get a PhD in Germanic Studies (University of Chicago, 2010) and my whole education from Williams on taught me how to write very well and very quickly, and how to weather challenging situations. I was also encouraged by a Williams professor — Gail Newman — to study in Graz, Austria, during my junior year. That was an amazing year for me in many ways, and led me to receive a Fulbright to Vienna in the year after I graduated. I think if there was any challenge opened up by my education, it was in the question of whether or not to try to pursue an academic career, but I have been married for many years now to a successful Germanist (Robert Norton, Notre Dame), and knew pretty early that I did not want to pursue that route.

3) Please share your advice or recommendation about the German department at Williams to a prospective student who is considering taking courses or majoring in our program.

I loved my time at Williams, and I loved the classes I took. I felt very lucky to get to read all the great books and stories I was introduced to, and to do so with energetic, thoughtful faculty in very small classes. I think a major like German can really stretch one’s intellectual capabilities, and teach one about human nature and how to think — these skills and experiences have been very useful to me over the years since I graduated from college.

4) Would you be willing to serve as a contact person for current students of German about your career or life path? If so, how should students contact you?

I would love to — this email address ([email protected]) is the best way to reach me.