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Leigh Kim, Technical Writer

By Lizzie Reaves

Magazines, newspapers, and blogs: When you ask what you can write with a degree in English, these are some of the most common answers you receive. But Western Carolina University graduate Leigh Kim has anything but a common answer for that question.

After receiving a B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina in 1995, Kim worked as a development assistant for a nonprofit that provided services to the needy. Soon after, she planned and taught a freshman composition class as part of her graduate school curriculum at WCU. Kim says that she is "skilled in a variety of writing skills and can write to any audience." Her lengthy list of past employers exemplifies this statement.

She has held jobs ranging from technical writing to engineering at a variety of companies such as Object Technology International, IBM's Design and Information Development department, Cancer and Leukemia Group B at Duke University, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, GlaxoSmithKline, and Abbott Laboratories.

Current work

Since January 2004, Kim has worked as a senior technical writer at Applied Research Associates, Inc. in Raleigh, NC. She specializes in "list documentation for contract deliverables" and writes program management documentation for several departments. Kim says a "typical" workday doesn't exist in her life, which forces her to be more flexible than other people with more routine schedules. Her workload may sound heavy, but one look at how she gracefully handles her hectic schedule shows that Kim has the education under her belt to make her an asset to any organization she may work for.


Kim has been able to succeed in such varied fields thanks to the education she received at both the University of North Carolina and WCU. "English majors are aware of the importance of good, clear, concise communication," she states. 

Meaningful work

Technical writers can be seen as glorified administrators, but that's not how Kim sees herself. She defines a tech writer as "a content creator, an editor, a marketer, and the one person in the office who can usually explain best how everything fits together for those who cannot see the big picture."


These profiles were created by the Karen Greenstone's English 303 class (spring 2009)
and edited for the web by Mary Adams's English 303 class (summer 2009).

Students in Mary Adams's English 303 class (fall 2009) wrote additional profiles.