Colgate students are sharing their experiences conducting research with faculty members on campus and in the field. This post is by English major Carlie Wetzel ‘14, of Lancaster, Pa. 


Carlie Wetzel ’14 with George Saunders’s Tenth of December

This summer, I held a faculty-sponsored research position with the Colgate Living Writers program, where I worked closely with Professors Jane Pinchin and Jennifer Brice, who teach the Living Writers course.

I’m continuing my internship this fall by helping facilitate the actual events. I will assist with the public readings, field questions sent in from online participants, assist with the Living Writers course, and have the opportunity to dine with the course’s featured authors.

Every year, Colgate invites nine to ten prominent authors from all over the world to campus to speak about their work. Each author converses with the sixty students enrolled in the Living Writers course for a full class period. Then, each author holds a public reading open to the whole campus and community. Several of the authors also participate in an online discussion available to alumni, parents, and friends taking part in LW Online.

This summer my research included carefully reading each of the selected works and compiling approximately 50 resources for each author—including book reviews, interviews, videos, biographies, and other works. I created a Moodle site for the course which listed the best resources I could find for each author;  I also included the schedule for their readings and on-campus events.

This year’s group of authors is really stellar. The works include short story collections, fiction works, a poetry collection, as well as two works of non-fiction.

During my summer research, I brainstormed connections between the works that would be interesting and relevant to students, a project I found to be fascinating. During my reading, I also considered issues of class, race, modern technology, and the human condition, which all intertwine in this fall’s provocative pieces.

Our special initiative this year is Colgate Reads 2013. We met our goal by recruiting over 2,013 people to pledge to read a short story written by our first Living Writers author, George Saunders. I helped facilitate conversation on a special blog made for this initiative. It was really interesting to discuss Saunders’s works with students, faculty, and alumni in an online community forum.

Saunders will talk about his short story collection, Tenth of December, this Tuesday, September 10, at 4:30 pm in Memorial Chapel. The event will also be livestreamed. I hope many people will come together in person and online to join the event!