Mary Ann Williams


Degree(s): BJ '53

Whereabouts: United States, Lakeland, Florida

What do you do?
Bob Williams, whom I met at MU and my husband of 57 years, and I are happily retired from his practice of 35 years at a large multispecialty clinic. Our son and daughter provided us with five grandchildren and are our pride and joy. I worked for AT&T as a employment couselor/college recruiter while Bob was in med school. He served in the Air Force Medical Corps after the birth of our first child. Later, our son was born while Bob trained at Johns Hopkins. While the kids were small, I taught creative writing as a volunteer in the public schools and public library. Also did freelance writing for Southern Living magazine, the Tampa Tribune and other local newspapers.

How did you get your job?
I interviewed for it. Regarding the freelance work, I submitted my feature articles and I got lucky! As to the creative writing, the school staff invited me to teach.

What is the best professional lesson you learned at the J-School?
In the reporting class, Queen Smith had us walking door to door soliciting for the Columbia Missourian on a slow news day. That took guts. Yet, as a dedicated journalism student, I wanted to pass the course and graduate. The experience helped in future interview jobs!

What advice do you have for current students?
Know your topic well before an interview story. Ask questions that can’t be answered as yes or no. This leads to a better dialog and fewer dead ends.

What is your favorite J-School memory?
Getting that cherished BJ degree in the sweltering heat of June 1953 with my fellow reporters.

Updated: November 15, 2011