Hello Portland!

My name is Eric Jennings, and as the latest intern to be welcomed to Literary Arts and Writers in the Schools, I’ll be working with teachers and students to promote opportunities for students to grow as readers and writers. My new internship with Literary Arts is allowing me to gain valuable professional experience in the non-profit sector, which complements my academics. A senior Economics major and first-generation college student at Reed College, my education in the liberal arts has been a great channel for cultivating my interests in the language arts as well as my writing skills. My coursework at Reed began with a class in ancient humanities, in which I read classical works drawn from a variety of genres and traditions: the epics of Homer, ancient Egyptian poetic texts, and the tragic plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides to name a few. I’ve also taken many courses in French literature spanning from the Middle Ages on through to the 20th century. My time at Reed as well as eight months spent studying abroad have given me the opportunity to learn a second language. During my time abroad, I worked as an ESL tutor and as assistant director of a summer program for second-language acquisition at an international school in Paris. My professional background has left me especially enthusiastic about second-language education, and I was thrilled to learn that WITS promotes multilingual writing. Finally, my coursework in early American history up to the mid-1800s has given me the opportunity to read many significant works of American writing, and to learn how we can use literature to study history.

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I enjoying writing, and believe in the importance of language and education, which is why I was drawn to the work of Literary Arts and Writers in the Schools. I often find myself procrastinating on essays for my classes by spending too much time poring over thesauruses in search of the perfect adverb or crafting a sentence to my exact style. I love reading about word etymologies and linguistic history. My favorite writer is Joan Didion, whose nonfiction work has taught me much about life. Following my graduation this May, I plan to pursue a Ph.D in political science, leading to a career as a professor and researcher. In my spare time, I enjoy food-centric activities with friends (cooking, exploring Portland’s restaurants, etc.), reading, planning my escape back to Paris, organizing my life, swimming, going on walks, and doing my homework. I look forward to working with Portland’s community of students, teachers, and writers on making the most of this academic year with meaningful programming in the language arts.

Until next time,

Eric