Marilyn Tarnowski

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I have spent 30-plus years working as a prolific writer and editor in a variety of business, newspaper and academic settings in addition to teaching part-time at community and state colleges.  I enjoy students, teaching, and research. For the past 15 years, I have been incorporating a wide variety of Web-based resources in both face-to-face and e-learning classrooms for courses covering a variety of humanities, literature, and writing topics. 

Until 2001, my husband and I had been living a sailboat-based life for a decade, making  many ports of call from the Chesapeake Bay to the Bahamas.  We have traveled throughout North America.  We are now retired and living in rural Florida with dogs, birds, alligators, snakes–and our sailboat in drydock.


B.A. University of Missouri-Columbia. Senior thesis on Thomas Hardy’s world view in four novels.

M.A. Western Washington State University. Thesis on Elizabethan revenge tragedy theater.

Post-Graduate: Completed most requirements of a multi-disciplinary Ph.D. (except the doctoral dissertation), including 22 graduate hours of small, face to face seminars: advanced bibliography and research, Early Modern English and related linguistics, and high passes on comprehensive oral and written exams at the University of Missouri. My cross-disciplinary study focused on late Renaissance literature, science, art, and culture.  Courses, papers, and original research include various aspects of 15th, 16th- and 17th-century literature, science and philosophy in England, America and Europe.


— Thirty-plus  years experience as a college instructor:  Courses taught include college-level humanities surveys, writing (rhetoric and composition), research, literature, creative writing, film, Internet research skills, and related courses as adjunct faulty at colleges in communities where I have lived and worked. I use up-to-date technology in online and face-to-face classrooms and regularly incorporate a variety of e-learning and Web-based resources for student-centered learning.

— Ten years journalism experience: I covered daily news for the Virginian-Pilot/Ledger Star in Norfolk, Va., and later for the Key West (Fla.) Citizen  as Marathon (Fla.) Bureau Chief. Using Associated Press style at both papers,  I wrote and edited (mainly wrote)  breaking news, features, and special-section stories. I was assigned to regular beats including business and education, which required a solid knowledge of the newspaper’s editing style and reporting standards.  At the Virginian-Pilot, before being promoted to staff writer, my entry level job had been typing stories dictated over the telephone by reporters from remote bureaus and editing their copy to AP Style for the appropriate desk editor.

— A decade-plus in public relations and business:  I have more than 10 years experience in medical public relations for a major hospital (the former St. Vincent de Paul Hospital in Norfolk, Va.),  plus science news, grant writing, and government-publication writing (World Wildlife Fund). In both capacities, I had extensive managerial accountability, including budget preparation and oversight. My office management skills range from basic bookkeeping to customer relations and marketing (including major public events) that generated new business. Most PR writing and editing consisted of fancy corporate annual reports, grant applications, brochures, special projects, and full editorial responsibility for specific in-house magazines and publications.

Today, regular freelance clients keep me busy with both small and large projects, including a past edition of the three-volume Marine Sanctuary Management Plan for NOAA that included scientific data, tables, charts and graphs, indexes, citations, and related material. I have edited several master’s theses and Ph.D. dissertations at various stages of development. Current projects include Web copy for SEO and content enrichment applications.

Style Proficiencies

  • Associated Press and in-house variations used at the Virginian-Pilot/Ledger-Star, the Key West Citizen and the Florida Keys Keynoter newspapers.
  • American Psychological Association’s Publications Manual.
  • Chicago Manual of Style.
  • Modern Language Association style manual.
  • Various in-house style sheets (including those I wrote and maintained for DePaul Hospital publications, Harbor Style magazine and other projects).
  • General familiarity with government printing specs.
  • Web, SEO, blog, and social media content for various audiences.
Winslow Homer Homasassa River

Winslow Homer: Homasassa Springs (circa 1920)