Prison Creative Arts Project, Administrator
Grad Year: 2006
Using my skills for the greater good
Coming into the University of Michigan as a freshman in 2002, I was skeptical that college was the right place for me. I was interested in a variety of subjects, and was excited to continue my studies, but found myself really wanting to travel and to be engaged in my community. I knew that I was passionate about reading and writing, but didn’t know that majoring in English could lead to a myriad of other careers outside of teaching. With support from a number of my English professors, I became enthusiastic about a degree in liberal arts, and learned that poetry was a tool that could be used for social change and that my creative skills could easily be translated to effective work within my community. I found a number of courses that helped me to develop my interests in poetry, art, and community outreach, and was excited about the opportunities the department offered. I felt both supported and nourished by the individual attention my professors offered, and developed confidence to publish and perform my creative work, leading to a Hopwood award in poetry and an opportunity to represent U of M at the Mt. Holyoke Glascock poetry competition. I also became very involved with the Prison Creative Arts Project, a non-profit organization based at U of M, after taking a course in the English department that introduced me to facilitating a theater workshop in a juvenile facility with incarcerated youth. I later went on to facilitate poetry and spoken word workshops in a number of men’s and women’s prisons in Michigan. I took a course on grant writing and became involved with several non-profit organizations in the community, helping to develop their programs and correspondence. With the support of my English professors, and a minor in Asian Language and Cultures, I applied for a variety of research opportunities, leading me to travel in both Thailand and Tibet. These experiences helped me to develop my creative work and added an exciting dimension to my poetry manuscript which I completed while in the creative writing subconcentration program.
How my studies prepared me
After graduating in 2006, I joined the staff of the Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP) as the program administrator. The skills I developed within the English department contribute to my experience working for a non-profit on a daily basis. Among my responsibilities with PCAP, I manage a large amount of correspondence, public relations, and fundraising, and my writing and critical thinking skills have led to my success within the organization. Not only have I been able to develop effective press releases, training materials, and various projects, but I have also been able to use my creative skills for writing articles for community newspapers, supporting grants, and improving our public relations. I am confident that my skills developed from a major in English will further contribute to my future career in community non-profits, and would help many others to support and nourish their own communities.
Rachael Hudak, Margaret Vincent, Elizabeth Bender, Dory Gannes, Aric Knuth, Katherine MacNair, Amanda Richardson, Michael Richman, Melissa Shook, Charles Aldrich, Faith Adler Brown, Vanessa Febo, Lisa Vandenbossche
Related Career FieldsArt and Design, Non-Profit, Public Relations