Caroline Meek

Caroline Meek, Undergraduate student, English & Creative Writing

Explores writing in community

• Hometown: Kansas City, Kansas
• Faculty mentor/advisor: Katie Prout, Youth Programs Coordinator, International Writing Program
• What is your degree program and expected graduate date? I’m an English & Creative Writing major on the publishing track, and my expected graduation date is May 2021.
• Please describe your research: Each year, the International Writing Program brings students to Iowa City from all over the world to participate in various two-week writing camps focused on identity, belonging, and cultural exchange.  As a research fellow for these summer Between the Lines sessions, I compiled an anthology of students’ work, taught a master class on collaborative work, and served as a mentor and photographer for the duration of the program. Through my research, I examined the following questions: How do educators and writers create community both locally and globally among youth? How can we empower students to find themselves in their writing and use their ideas to connect with others?
• In simple terms, why does this research matter?  Via conversation, creative writing, and global literature, Between the Lines (BTL) guides and empowers participants as they question, explore, and ultimately take charge of the stories they tell about themselves–and about others. BTL ushers young people toward intercultural interactions that are nuanced, compassionate, and informed by cultural understanding. Many of the students who participate in the summer programs leave with long-lasting, meaningful connections and start collaborative projects in their home countries.
• How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I started the process of applying for an ICRU summer fellowship with Katie Prout half-way through my freshman year.  I received the fellowship at the end of my first year and have done research with the International Writing Program (IWP) for two consecutive summers.
• How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? My work with Between the Lines and the IWP has given me more confidence as a leader, teacher, writer, and researcher. I’ve gained experience in disciplines essential to my future career: publishing, nonprofit, international education and communication, and creative writing. Being exposed to the diverse possibilities contained within the realm of creative research has increased my curiosity and understanding of the many ways ‘research’ can be defined. Beyond this, the relationships formed with Between the Lines staff and students have challenged me to rearrange the way I see the world and my own self: a more compassionate, curious, wide open lens.
• What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? After graduation I plan to keep writing, publishing, and working with young writers around the world. I hope to be able to live abroad for a period of time, and eventually work in the publishing industry or with a nonprofit.

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