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Two students posing on campus

Last year, Marietta College alumnus Jeremy Jusek ’10 reached out to the Theatre Department to create the kind of program that he always wanted to take part in as an undergraduate student. One where he could give students a one-on-one experience.

With the help of the Office of Academic Affairs and the Career Center, Jusek was able to put the fellowship into motion and even receive funding. Three students were able to take part in this rigorous eight-week reading and writing experience with a $500 stipend to help them purchase materials.

Sam Bartlett ’22 (Marietta, Ohio) and Meridith McKain ’23 (Parkersburg, West Virginia) are two of the students who participated in the fellowship this past summer, each saying that it was a great experience. They spent two hours a week working with Jusek on various writing skills.

“In the first two weeks, Jeremy taught me the basic tools utilized in poetic language such as how similes/metaphors/alliteration can be used to enhance a poem or how Haibuns work,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett said he now considers himself a solid poet and can continue writing with skills and tools that he learned from Jusek.

For McKain, she said the experience was amazing. She was able to get serious about writing and learned things about editing practices, publishing and formatting a manuscript. Beyond the technical aspects, she was able to go outside her comfort zone.

“I learned how to push myself and my writing style, but I also just gained confidence in myself and my poetry,” McKain said. “I went outside of my writing comfort zone, and it was OK, good even.”

While putting this fellowship together, Jusek said he felt extremely supported by the College administration to do this and thinks it’s important to expose students to the professional side of their field of study.

“Regardless of the discipline, there are business opportunities that students can begin pursuing now. All fields have a portfolio of work, experiences, publications that can be constructed to enhance a résume,” Jusek said. “It is useful when alumni show undergraduates how to get that early start, develop discipline and contacts, and begin viewing themselves as professionals.”

Both Bartlett and McKain encourage their peers to take advantage of fellowship programs that are offered.

“I would absolutely encourage anyone interested in a fellowship experience because it shifted my mindset toward myself and allowed me to push myself past my own expectations and outside of my comfort zone,” Bartlett said. “It helped me grow as an artist.”

Alumni interested in starting a similar mentorship project should contact Dr. Erika Smith, Director of Alumni Relations and Engagement, at