As students and alumni of NLU’s M.S. in Written Communication program listened to a panel of celebrity writers at the program’s annual MOSAIC party Oct. 23, emcee Marjie Killeen asked the panel a question that almost had them at a loss for words.
Almost, but not quite.
The question, “Other than earning a living, what do you strive to achieve in your writing?” provoked a pause. After a few moments, panelist Dawn Turner, a book author and former Chicago Tribune columnist, responded that she tries to create characters or portray real people who defy stereotypes.
After she got the ball rolling, Laurie Lawlor, who has written 38 books for children and young adults, had a ready answer. “To be transported through time and space,” she said.
Rick Kogan, a Chicago Tribune columnist and radio show host, was up next. “It is my aim to find stories that interest me, on the assumption they might interest others–and tell them in an interesting and compelling way,” he said.
Nate Herman, a comedy writer for Second City who has also written for Saturday Night Live, topped it off by saying, “I would like to write something equal to writing I’ve read that has made me say ‘wow.”
The panelists had all taught in National Louis University’s M.S. in Written Communication program, either during the school year or at Writers’ Week, held every July. Joanne Koch, Ph.D., director of the MSWC program, had invited them to celebrate the release of this year’s MOSAIC, the program’s annual literary magazine.
Koch, who is celebrating 20 years at NLU, explained the MOSAIC release is meaningful for students who are seeing their byline in print for the first time.
She also gave alumni a chance to tell the stories of what they had been doing since graduating from the MSWC program.
Linda Sorin said she had been out of the workforce for 15 years before enrolling in the program. “It definitely helped me get a job,” she said. She is working in marketing and communications for a global company.
Eric Martinson had been working a as a financial analyst before taking the MSWC program, but he had always wanted to teach. After graduating from MSWC, he accepted a job as an adjunct English professor at College of DuPage; he is now a tenured assistant professor.
“The program changed my life,” he said.
Adrian Bogdan Toma found work teaching English and philosophy at City Colleges of Chicago after graduating from the program in 2015. He is also making a movie in his native Romania.
“Dr. Koch’s screenwriting class definitely kicked in,” he said. “It helped me a lot.”
Salisia Webber, a 2016 grad, said the program helped her write about anti-human-trafficking, a cause she champions. The program helped her start a business which has raised money for the cause, she said.