Hundreds Gather to Enjoy Student Readings in Writing & Science Writing

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Writing Program

More than 200 students, alumni, and guests gathered on May 6-7 for the Writing and Science Writing Programs’ Spring 2016 thesis readings and awards presentations in Baltimore and Washington.

The Baltimore event in Hodson Hall on the Homewood Campus featured nine readers, plus the presentation of awards to Outstanding Graduates, for Teaching Excellence, and for Distinguished Professional Achievement by a Faculty Member. In Washington, at the main JHU/SAIS auditorium at Dupont Circle, the crowd enjoyed eleven readers, plus more faculty awards. Both readings also featured the unveiling of the Spring 2016 PennUnion, the thesis course literary journal that includes writing from all 23 students who completed thesis requirements this term in Writing and Science Writing.

“This event is the culmination of years of work by our students, and we’re always grateful for the alumni, faculty, friends, and relatives who show up to cheer them on,” said David Everett, director of the two programs. “Both evenings were fun, festive, and full of great writing.”

All Writing Program students from Baltimore and DC joined in the readings. Science Writers, who complete their thesis course online, were invited to join in, and four students took part.

Readers in Baltimore were: Elizabeth Doerr, Justyna Surowiec, Kate Fitzgerald in Nonfiction, Brittany Krueger, Alison Nicola, Anneke Kandel, M. Jane Taylor, and L Ann Dulin in Fiction, and Carol Berkower in Science Writing.

In Washington, the readers were: Miles Ryan Fisher, James E. Jackson, Steve Hemlin, Miriam Hamilton, and Jeanne Jones in Fiction; Shaelyn Patzer, Margarita Yatsevich, and Godfrey Onime in Science Writing, and Gail Lang, Victoria Balides, and Victoria Gaffney in Nonfiction.

Also completing their theses this term are Science Writers Karen Mitchell, Joslyn Neiderer, and Nadia Whitehead.

Named as Outstanding Graduates by the faculty were: Carol Berkower, Eilidh Gilbert, and Godfrey Onime in Science Writing; David Frey, Mindy Watson, and Erin Williams in Nonfiction, and Tyrese Coleman, Steve Hemlin, Jeanne Jones, L Ann Dulin, and M. Jane Taylor in Fiction.

Faculty awards begin with student nominations and are given for Teaching Excellence and Distinguished Professional Achievement. This year’s winners include Karen Houppert and Heidi Vornbrock-Roosa for excellence in teaching, and Susan Muaddi Darraj and Ronnie Greene for professional achievement. Houppert, an author and editor of the Baltimore City Paper, has taught at Hopkins for a decade. Roosa, herself a fiction graduate of the Writing Program, teaches in both DC and Baltimore. Darraj is author of A Curious Land, a story collection that won the Grace Paley Award for Short Fiction from the Associated Writing Programs. Greene, whose book Shots on the Bridge started as his thesis in the Writing Program, won the Investigative Reporters and Editors annual book prize.

The thesis readings are held each Fall and Spring term as the final program event for thesis students. The awards are presented at the Spring readings for the full academic year. The DC Master of Ceremonies was Ed Perlman, a long-time instructor who led the DC Thesis & Publication Course this Spring. Also speaking were Mark Farrington, assistant director of the Writing Program, and Melissa Hendricks, coordinator of the Science Writing Program.

Both readings this Spring concluded with tributes to Program Director David Everett, who is retiring in June after 21 years on the Hopkins faculty. Students, alumni, and faculty members presented Everett with various gifts, including a special faculty award for distinguished leadership.