compiled by Rebecca Kilroy, SCWI Coordinator
It’s impossible to imagine what the Summer Intensives would be like without our incredible team of interns. Lively lunchtimes, epic Frisbee games, far-flung field trips and some of the funniest short skits you’ve ever heard are all possible because of their talent and energy. Their roles over the years have included everything from t-shirt folding to self-taught IT pros to Shakespearean actors. My first summer attending the Intensives, I thought my interns were the coolest people I’d ever met (even when they were all wearing traffic-cone orange t-shirts). Most of our interns, myself included, were once students at the Intensive so we watched one another grow and lead summer after summer.
Naturally, it’s bittersweet when our interns decide to move on to other opportunities but we always know that, one way or another, they’re going to change the world. We reached out to five of our former SCWI interns and asked them to share what they’re doing now, as well as their favorite Summer Intensive memory.
I’ve worn almost all the hats you could wear when it comes to the Summer Intensives. From student, to intern, to Program Coordinator, I was truly blessed that every summer I had as a teenager was spent with The Writers Circle. I am now 23, and sadly, no longer a teenager, but a full adult with an adult job and adult responsibilities. I work at a school in Harlem as a coordinator of the special education program and do most of my writing now in a little sage green notepad on the subway to and from work.
When it comes to choosing a favorite memory from the Intensives, I honestly feel like every experience I had at the SCWI was memorable and beautiful in its own way. From starting the now notorious Wildcats chant during lunchtime ultimate Frisbee to scrambling to print off 33 stories right before the Friday readings, it was just so easy to be having the most fun always. What will forever stand out the most to me, though, is sitting in an absolutely silent free-write room as a scrawny 13 year old, looking around, and thinking “Wow, I’ve finally found other kids like me.” So many teens are wildly imaginative and creative, but it’s rare to find those kids who would be happy spending eight hours a day pushing themselves creatively, fueled by the desire to simply write and become better at this craft. Ultimately, looking back, I realize that the SCWI brought about a true feeling of belonging for me, and for that, I am forever grateful.
I live in Astoria, Queens with my fiancé, Rachel, and a fat orange cat named Chunk. I have a job I enjoy in the Communications office of Columbia Law School—where I’ve been since 2017. In my role as Multimedia Content Manager, I create videos, podcasts, animations, and the like. I feel super lucky that I get to spend my days crafting and sharing some really interesting stories. I’m also hard at work on a story of my own. I’m aiming to be done with the second draft of my speculative fiction novel by June!
I have so many fond memories from my time at The Writers Circle. Walking up those back stairs in MONDO, I never knew what was going to greet me on the other side of the door. I have to say, though, nothing stands out more than the daily Add-a-Line. Somewhere along the way, the students realized that there was nothing funnier than writing me into increasingly perilous situations, which I would then have to read aloud at the end of the day. My deaths were numerous, endlessly creative, and always hilarious.
I’m so glad to have been a member of the TWC community. Here’s to ten more years!
After high school, I moved out to LA to study screenwriting, and for a few years I got to focus intensely on my writing and collaborate with other artists to bring stories to life. Since then, I’ve been rounding myself out. I’ve picked up new skills, discovered new passions, and learned a lot about myself. I now live in Burbank, CA with my girlfriend and our cat, where I’m working on building a career in the entertainment industry.
My favorite memories of the Summer Intensives have to be our outdoor escapades. From storming the streets and eavesdropping on strangers, to exploring abandoned villages in the woods, our adventures always reminded me that writing is not always about sitting alone and tapping out a new draft. It’s about seeing the world around you with curiosity, and transforming what you find into something new. Plus, as I’m sure we’ve all learned over the past two years, it’s really important to get outside!
For the last five years, I’ve been based in Boston, where I’ve been pursuing my college education at Boston University. This year I’ll be graduating with a master’s degree in archeology. I’ve been lucky enough to travel extensively for my work – doing heritage management in Menorca, excavating in the Oregon high desert, and teaching archeology for kids in Colorado.
My favorite memory of the Summer Intensives is chaperoning duty on a field trip to Ellis Island. For their trip project, my group of students decided to work together to write a skit about a family attempting to smuggle their son through 19th century immigration. The “smuggling” was done by stuffing the smallest boy in the group into another student’s sweatshirt, while she was still wearing it. The result was a rather lumpy centaur effect, and I doubled over laughing for the next five minutes.
Originally, I thought that after attending school at Oberlin College in Ohio, I would move back to New Jersey and pursue a small job or go to grad school to study creative writing or acting. However, I still live in Oberlin with my partner and my career has developed in so many interesting and interconnected ways. I’ve designed food programs for our local food pantry. I am building a strong acting career, having most recently performed at Karamu House (America’s first African American theater) in Cleveland. I am an organic gardener and I am working on collaborating with other gardeners in my city to improve the local food systems in Lorain County. Lastly, I am coordinating a dialogue program at my alma mater, helping young students host meaningful conversations to build stronger relationships on campus. While I have not been writing as much recently, my life has been one tremendous artistic process.
The Writers Circle was one of the first places I explored my artistic skills. One of my favorite memories is leading groups of young people in our Wednesday Summer Writing Excursions to create group stories, tv scripts and plays. Though back then I thought I was just one writing intern helping other writers, I realize now that I was an artist actively learning important principles such as collaboration, grace, and patience, all of which I still use in my work today!
Though my life has had many ups and downs since I left for college, I keep the door open for writing in my life by continuing to see myself and my life as a beautiful narrative that continues to unfold. I give thanks to The Writers Circle, Judith, Michelle, and all of the interns and young writers for playing a key role in my journey!
2022 is the Summer Intensives’ tenth season. Registration is open. Join us.