New Workshop Helps Young Writers Enhance Skills

What can you do with an English degree?

“I thought I was going to be a journalist because it seemed like the right thing to do,” said Nebraska Wesleyan University junior Taylor Lutz, an English major from Benkelman. “But being an English major has exposed me to so many styles and authors and I’m glad I didn’t stick with my original plan.”

Lutz has since discovered a passion for creative writing and hopes to eventually become a teacher. She shared her thoughts with 21 high school juniors and seniors at the NWU Young Writers Workshop held November 13.

The high school students — many of whom are enrolled in Nebraska Wesleyan’s Honors Academy — were treated to a student panel of NWU English majors who shared advice and feedback.

The high school students’ first question for the panelists: what do you want to do after you graduate?

Two panelists said they plan to teach, one said she wants to pursue her master’s degree and Ph.D., and another said she hopes to land a job as a grant writer.

“If you can write, edit and are comfortable with words, then you are very marketable,” said senior Sammi Campbell, an English major from Centennial, Colo.

Participants learned about the English majors’ favorite writing styles, authors, favorite classes, and workload. They learned about experiences beyond the classroom like writing for a university literary magazine and learning from national authors through the NWU Visiting Writers Series.

High school students who attended the Young Writer’s Workshop also spent the day with Nebraska Wesleyan English professors in a poetry writing session, a fiction writing section, and a nonfiction writing session that was led by writer-in-residence Caryl Pagel, a poet and essayist who was also on campus as part of the Visiting Writers Series. The workshop concluded with an open mic reading by the high school students, who represented 11 high schools reaching as far as Sidney, Neb.

“College opens you up to other (literary) devices,” Lutz advised the students. “Writing becomes second nature just like speaking. You will flex your writing muscles.”

 

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Poet, essayist and writer-in-residence Caryl Pagel leads high school students through a nonfiction writing session.
NWU students Andrew Samson, Taylor Lutz, Sammi Campbell and Karolinn Fiscaletti share college and career advice.