Writing Program Associate Director; Editor LR5-7
Each year, a group of Gallatin undergraduates works from September to May to publish The Literacy Review, serving as its editors, designers, and photographers. To commemorate LR’s 20th anniversary, we asked former team members to tell something about their experience and its influence on their lives. For some, the training in producing a book paved the way to professional work in writing, publishing, and design. For others, the exposure to adult education led to careers in teaching. Some have broadened their knowledge of the world through research, travel, and intercultural friendships. Some seek to serve their communities through work in law, healthcare, or activism. One common denominator is that The Literacy Review encourages students to attend closely to others’ experiences, even and especially those different from their own.
The other common denominator is the tremendous influence of June Foley, Gallatin Writing Program Senior Director and Associate Faculty. She deleted all praise, even mention of her name, from the testimonials—but for many, The Literacy Review is practically synonymous with June Foley. It embodies her deep humanism, her assiduous care as an editor and teacher alike, and her indefatigable advocacy for her students and mentees. I know these qualities first-hand, having worked with June on The Literacy Review first as an editor of LR5 and 6, then as editor in chief of LR7, since 2013 as a colleague, and now as co-adviser. It would be impossible to reflect on the 20-year history of LR without acknowledging June Foley’s vision in founding The Literacy Review and her ongoing dedication as its faculty adviser.
In fall 2001, June audited the new course “Literacy in Action,” which introduces students to the history and pedagogy of adult education while offering hands-on training though volunteer work at a partner institution. She so enjoyed her volunteer work, teaching writing to immigrants at University Settlement, that she continued after NYU’s semester had ended (and continues to teach this course today, working with two Gallatin undergraduate student teachers each semester). Appreciating the richness of her adult students’ writing and motivated by the conviction that students can become better readers and writers by learning from one another, June printed little books of her students’ work to use as course material. The following year, she invited teachers at other adult education programs around New York City to submit their students’ writing, and, with a team of four Gallatin students, LR was born.
Over the years, the book has become longer and more beautifully designed, a website has been added, its contributors have come from an ever-widening range of home countries and languages, and the student team has grown to include an editorial board of 70 members. LR has also given rise to an all-day conference, the annual Literacy Review Workshops in Teaching Writing to Adults.
Many deserve thanks for their important contributions to LR’s success. The warm advocacy and wise guidance of Professor Lisa Goldfarb, who was Writing Program chair and later Associate Dean, and her successor as chair, Professor Stacy Pies, were key to the creation and expansion of LR, and Dean Susanne Wofford’s enthusiastic support has enabled it not only to continue but to flourish. As the teachers of “Literacy in Action,” which has evolved into the course “Race, Social Justice, and Adult Literacy,” Paul Jurmo, Maura Donnelly, and Dianne Ramdeholl have sparked interest in adult education in generations of Gallatin students. The Literacy Review Workshops have offered professional development, thanks to dozens of volunteer presenters and the experience and expertise of coordinators Hillary Gardner, Terry Sheehan, and Wendy Wen. Two funders, in addition to Gallatin, contributed generously for many years: the late Claire Stern (Gallatin B.A. 1989, M.A. 1998) and the NYU Office of Civic Engagement, through Lisa Kail, now Director of University Partners/NYU Combined Campaign.
This anniversary volume of LR is special for another reason: At the end of August 2022, June will be retiring as Senior Director of the Gallatin Writing Program; LR20 will be her last as faculty adviser. Thanks to the strong foundation she has built, the Literacy Project will continue.
LR1: KATE TRAINOR: writes about her experience as a student teacher at the University Settlement class for adult immigrants that inspired LR: “I learned from the students that we all have a story to tell. I learned that stories are a way we share ourselves, our realities, and the emotions that are sometimes difficult to express any other way. Stories are the lens through which we see the world and a way to learn about ourselves and each other. Stories create a web of connection and a means to make contact with people and experiences that expand our understanding, deepen our compassion, and crack our hearts open wider. I learned that it wasn’t so much the words themselves but the heart of the story that gave it gravitas. Sometimes there was uproarious laughter; sometimes tears rolled down our cheeks. Sometimes the stories were simple, life vignettes and snapshots, and sometimes they were testimony to the complexity and confusion of being human. The experience tenderized me and stoked my desire to be of service in the world, to listen intently to stories being told, and to make human and heart connection a priority. I’m forever grateful.” Kate is now a Labor and Delivery nurse and a yoga instructor in the West.
LR2-4: NIKKI (D’ERRICO) RODNEY: “Working on the Literacy Project taught me that life is made rich by human connection. Through the Project, I helped to teach writing at University Settlement, whose students were mainly immigrants from China, and the International Rescue Committee, whose students were African refugees. On the day that an older woman from China cried as she realized she could now fluently read her granddaughter an English language children’s book, I was certain that there was nothing more important than this. My experience as a teacher and an LR editor emboldened me, and immediately after college I packed my bags. Knowing that it was deep relationships I was after, I lived in places—Moldova, Tanzania, and the D.R. Congo—for a year, two years, and then six. I earned a Ph.D. in medical anthropology, but I wanted to build community and stay there. With my family, I now live in Cleveland, where I am a part-time acupuncturist at an international community health center and on the research faculty at a school of Chinese medicine. My family’s lives are filled with people from all around the world. I don’t know that I would have ever understood the value in this if not for my early experiences with the Literacy Project.”
LR3: CARIN CLARY: “Having spent the majority of my life in a small coal mining town in rural Colorado, the transition to NYU and New York City was a seismic shift, let alone with the events of 9/11 descending during my first weeks away from home. What shifted my personal momentum from struggle to focus was transferring to Gallatin, and specifically, the advice to envision a career that weaved together my passions for creative writing and social justice. Teaching creative expression and GED-prep to justice-involved men and women at the Fortune Society through the Writing Program’s ‘Literacy in Action’ course and working on The Literacy Review, I gained a window into the lives of people trying to navigate beyond the roadblocks of our broken justice, immigration, and education systems. Now, with over 15 years’ experience as a New York City policymaker, having served as a Senior Advisor to three Deputy Mayors for Health and Human Services, I have had the privilege of working to advance social justice and racial equity. As both a non-profit service provider and a New York City government policymaker, I have designed, implemented, and scaled initiatives for vulnerable New Yorkers most deeply impacted by systemic and institutionalized racial disparities, leading to generational poverty and instability, within the housing and criminal justice fields. And it began with The Literacy Review.”
LR4: JOANNA CASTLE: “I came to The Literacy Review relatively new to editing and entirely new to the community of immigrants, refugees, and other talented writers I would soon meet in the process. By editing their stories, I became intimately familiar with their daily joys and hardships and the enormous potential of every person who wants to write. I was especially drawn to the words of refugee authors. As a result, shortly after graduation, I began volunteering with refugee organizations and writing about forced migration and resettlement. My partner joined me and eventually went to law school to focus on designing communities where refugees have full work rights and freedom of movement. He works in that field to this day, with projects in Ethiopia, Libya, Honduras, and more. Editing The Literacy Review inspired a lifetime of activism, and I’m forever grateful to the gifted authors who trusted us with their powerful words.” Joanna is a published author with two plays in development.
LR5: MARA DAJEVSKIS: “I still have my copy of LR5, and I am proud to have helped emerging writers create a vessel to hold their stories and tell their truths to the world. I am also grateful for the way this experience shaped my interests and worldview. I believe that working on LR with people new to English nudged me toward my path as an ESOL teacher in New York City public schools. As the daughter of a refugee, I was honored to serve immigrants and children of immigrants. I also think that an interest in language and languages, cultivated in part by LR, helped me decide to move to Ecuador years later. There, I taught at the American School of Quito for two years and myself became a newcomer. The Spanish I acquired allowed me to return to New York, this time to teach Spanish as a Foreign Language to elementary school students. More recently, I taught ESOL to adult students through The Open Door of NY and NJ. And now, in Philadelphia, I am involved with two refugee resettlement organizations that provide housing and other necessities (including English classes) to newly arrived families. I couldn’t have known when I was working on LR5 that my life would become so intertwined with learning languages and language learners, but I’m so glad that it did!”
LR5: ISABELLA ALEXANDER: “Working as a photographer for The Literacy Review, and later as an editor for a special Literacy Project publication titled Where I’m From, cemented my interest in pursuing a career in creative activism. It made me aware of the wide reach and profound impact that my work could have if it tied together creative forms of storytelling and the fight for equal human rights among marginalized populations, especially migrant and refugee populations in the U.S. Many years later, now working as the founder and director of a social impact film production studio called Small World Films, I am deeply grateful for my time with the Literacy Project and the countless incredible writers I was fortunate enough to cross paths with there. Each of their stories pushed me to continue lifting the voices of marginalized populations to the global stage and to continue fighting for the rights of those who no longer have a safe place to call home.” Isabella has a Ph.D. in anthropology. She is the creator of the documentary film, The Burning, and the related book, Burning at Europe’s Borders. She wrote the introduction to LR18.
LR6: PETER TORRE: “Working as a student teacher at University Settlement was one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career. I (the son of immigrants) was able to do something I have wanted to do all my life: empower and help give voice to immigrants working on their English. Copy editing their pieces and working with them in class gave me an opportunity to get to know people from all over the world, who were unfailingly kind, generous, and warm. Working on getting their essays published in a collection, culminating in the LR6 celebration all those years ago, is an experience I have never forgotten: the joy of people who were being seen, and heard. LR6 helped inspire me to participate in an immigration clinic while a student at Fordham Law School, where I helped secure asylum for an undocumented immigrant who was in deportation proceedings. I continue my work in public service as a lawyer for the New York City Council.”
LR6: SAMANTHA WOLF: “I recently came across my copy of LR6, which took me down a rabbit hole of great memories. I loved working on The Literacy Review, from reading submissions from amazing writers all over the city to the background experience of teaching creative writing at the Fortune Society. I still think of Derek Scott, a young student in my class who wrote a beautiful story about his best friend, who was shot to death by a rival gang. I got to see Derek’s hard work while writing that story, and it was particularly rewarding to see how it moved the other LR editors. The Literacy Review is a special project, and I am particularly grateful for the experience because it began my journey in publishing. After internships with Simon & Schuster and Scholastic, I became an editor at an independent children’s book press. I am currently an editor at Junior Library Guild, a collection-development service for school libraries. My main responsibilities include evaluating published books for selection for our lists. Although I spend my days reading about middle-schoolers, I still use the skills that I first developed as an editor of LR6.”
LR6-8: SARAH SECUNDA: “I remember what it was like each year when we’d first get all the submissions from the schools that participated in The Literacy Review. We would receive hundreds of stories from people who had come from all over the world, with each story containing its own world of experience. LR put all these worlds of diverse lived experience together into one place. After publication, when I read through the journal, I would always come away feeling like I better knew the world that we all share and that I had greater insight into the many different people who inhabit it.” Based in Boston, Sarah is a documentary filmmaker and cinematographer. They also have their own art-making business, and, in spring 2022, they are teaching courses in cinematography at Emerson College.
LR8-9: ELIZABETH MITARO: “Through the ‘Literacy in Action’ course, which included volunteering at the International Rescue Committee, I was privileged to hear the first-hand stories of refugees from across the globe, and I continued to volunteer there throughout my college career. The Literacy Review put the classroom teachings into practice, serving as a platform for underrepresented voices. As an LR8 editorial board member, and an LR9 editor, I edited writing from adult literacy and ESOL students across the city. As a student teacher at the University Settlement Society, I got to personally know many of the students who submitted writing to LR, and I beamed with pride as I watched them share their stories for an audience at the final reception. My experience with the Literacy Project has stayed with me. I received a master’s in social work in 2019, focusing on trauma-informed practice with refugees and immigrants, and learned about the important role of narrative therapy in the healing of trauma. Today, I work for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, supervising a program that provides access to resources for foreign national survivors of trafficking. Our program refers clients to English-learning opportunities, in New York and around the country, and I hope survivors find similar opportunities to deepen their roots in new communities and share their unique stories with the world.”
LR8-10: EMILY HE: “I learned more about my family history from reading LR stories than I did from my own parents, who immigrated to the U.S. from China in the eighties. Stories like Shen Ji’s ‘My Hero’ from LR8 and Lisa Ng’s ‘Journey to Freedom’ from LR9 piqued my interest in learning more about my roots and my own family’s journey to the U.S., so much so that after graduating from NYU, I moved to China. Ten years on, I am still here, now running a little imported foods shop in a mountainous town of Yunnan Province. LR 8, 9, and 10 are here with me, too, tucked into a refurbished bookcase in my traditional courtyard home in rural China, where my family’s story began.”
LR8-10: RYAN PATRICK CASEY: “I was an editor of LR9, where I read submissions of writing from all over the world. In addition, through the Writing Program’s Great World Texts project, I had the pleasure of collaborating with an English class at Gramercy Arts High School in Union Square, where I helped teach a translation of Lazarillo de Tormes, an anonymous picaresque novel from the Golden Age of Spanish literature, about a boy from Salamanca, Spain. I am now fortunate enough to be a high school Spanish teacher and to travel biannually to Salamanca with students. Whenever I’m on one of those trips, strolling along the River Tormes, I have fond memories of getting my feet wet (no pun intended) in education. The Writing Program’s civic engagement projects gave me a student teaching experience that foreshadowed my future career and confirmed what I had hoped would be true: I love being in a classroom.”
LR8-11: DAVID MARUZZELLA: “I don’t recall exactly how I became involved with The Literacy Review. It must have been through working as a student teacher for the Friday morning class at University Settlement sometime in spring 2011, but the dates are fuzzy. Recently, I found my old copies of the Review—Volumes 8 through 11. Re-reading the contributions, I suddenly remembered the University Settlement building at 184 Eldridge, the staircase, the classroom. I remembered the many students with whom I worked, their handwritten assignments, the laughter when an amusing story was read aloud and the collective sadness that sometimes filled the room when a story of hardship or struggle was shared. When I began writing this brief testimonial, the impact of The Literacy Review on my trajectory after Gallatin—during which I earned a Ph.D. in philosophy—wasn’t exactly clear to me. However, a few years back, I began working at a contemporary art museum in Chicago. The most recent exhibition I helped organize featured an artist who has collaborated with communities across the city, an artist who challenges the traditional notion of authorship by insisting not simply that anybody can be an artist, but that everybody already is an artist, an author, a poet. It’s clear to me now that I first encountered this profound idea through The Literacy Review.”
LR9-11: PAOLINA LU: “Perhaps counterintuitively, my fondest memories from LR are of what felt like the hardest part: making choices about which pieces to include! As editors, we got to read so many amazing stories. And I remember vividly, coming together around a table, having read the submissions separately, each of us going to bat for the pieces that had captured our hearts. I still have the same soft spot I had then for the essays about food. As a college student, getting to meet so many different New Yorkers through the writing they shared gave me a sense of New York City as a real, inhabited place—a place full of people who had come from all over and were busy building all sorts of lives for themselves. It sparked in me a feeling of connection to the city beyond my identity as an NYU student. A decade later, I’m happy to still live here.” Paolina is in her fifth year in NYU’s American Studies Department working on a doctoral dissertation about the future of food.
LR9-12: JENESSA ABRAMS: “For four years, first on the LR editorial board, then as an editor, I spent January devouring hundreds of poems and stories with metaphors I’d never read before, innovative ways of thinking, hilarious and heartbreaking ruminations on family and caregiving. In my senior year, I had the privilege of serving as editor in chief, which continues to be a highlight of my life. Giving these writers the chance to have their work shared with the world, to have a tangible record of their art, is everything. Several years after graduating from Gallatin, I became involved in a nonprofit organization, Open Doors, which supports the creativity and leadership of Black and brown people who use wheelchairs. One of my fondest memories is returning to Gallatin as an adult, celebrating the publication of one of the Open Doors poets in LR, and watching his face light up when he first held the book in his hands, a book that held his words.” Jenessa went on to earn an M.F.A. in fiction writing and translation and an M.S. in narrative medicine at Columbia University and is currently a writer and a lecturer at Columbia.
LR10-11: LARA BLACKMAN: “I’ll always remember the sense of excitement and joy in the Gallatin building on our photo shoot days, setting up a makeshift studio in one of our classrooms and hosting each writer to sit for a headshot. Getting to spend this time with the writers added a new dimension to reading their work, and I was so inspired by their creativity and passion. I like to think that some of that wonderful energy came through in the photos!” Lara is now working at Audible on the Originals team, with writers and creators on original audio content (mostly fiction).
LR10-11: ANNABELLE MARONEY: “Assisting in the creative writing class for adult immigrants at University Settlement was my first formal experience working with language learners. Reading the students’ writing and later becoming editor in chief of The Literacy Review inspired me to develop my own emerging bilingualism. I became a bilingual childhood educator, focusing on literacy development in young, multilingual children. I am now teaching in a small school in Vermont, as well as with the Vermont Migrant Education Program. I often credit working on The Literacy Review and with the Writing Program as formative steps towards becoming a teacher myself.”
LR11-13: LIBBY GOSS: “My best memories of working on The Literacy Review are of learning from its authors—and they are authors in every sense of the word. Though LR celebrates English language learning and literacy, I found I had so much to learn from these writers about resiliency, growth, and determination. I have often been struck by how openly and honestly the writers are able to share their experiences of joy, sadness, success, and of course, humor. I hope LR will continue to be not only a celebration of literacy and learning, but also of shared experience and community for many years to come.” Libby Goss, a published author, is the program manager at Columbia University’s Artificial Intelligence Lab.
LR11-14: KARA SAUNDERS: “Being an editor for The Literacy Review was an incredible experience that inspired so much in me. I started off on the Editorial Board and was honored to be an editor in my senior year. I admire the community participation and outreach that drives the book, as well as the belief that we are all life-long learners. As an editor, I knew my work was crucial to publishing the book. However, along the way, I realized I was not the expert; I had learned more from every author whose work passed through my hands than they could ever have learned from my edits. I feel similarly every day as I teach and work with my students; I teach, but more importantly learn, from each of them. LR brought theory into action for me. It was an experience that opened up the city for me, teaching me that there is so much to witness and learn outside of NYU. I am thankful for the opportunity, and thankful that I am able to carry on the spirit of the book in my daily work as an educator.” For five years, Kara has been a math teacher at a public school in the Bronx. She also teaches a dance cardio class at an all-female gym in New Jersey.
LR12-14: CARLY KRAKOW: “Serving as editor in chief of LR (and before that as an editor and editorial board member) was an honor and a highlight of my time as an undergraduate. It was an opportunity to learn firsthand the painstaking effort that goes into producing a publication. Even more importantly, it was a unique and invaluable opportunity to learn from the work of so many talented writers enrolled in literacy programs throughout New York City. As editors, we had the privilege of reading their work and the responsibility of editing it with restraint, care, and attention to detail. We then had the great honor of meeting some writers when they came to Gallatin to have their photos taken, and when some of them read their work at the joyous annual LR celebration. I also had the humbling opportunity to interview some writers to include their perspectives in an introduction to the fourteenth volume. The writers’ faces and names have stayed with me, years later, as have so many other memories of the process. With every publication I have worked on since graduating from NYU, LR has come to mind. I am so proud to have been part of it.” Carly is a Ph.D. candidate in international law at the London School of Economics, and a part-time faculty member at Gallatin.
LR13-14: ALYSSA YURASITS: “Through my experience in The Literacy Review I have come to learn that the most impactful writing sometimes lies beyond the words. As editors, we piece together diverse samples of writing to fill a book with words. Together, these pieces become a work of art that tells a larger story of a unique moment in time. They speak of a community and form a bond beyond the pages. And these pages come to life when we gather to celebrate the publication of the book and hear the writers speak their words into existence. There are connections that form between the stories, not only from a reader’s perspective, but insofar as the community that LR fosters among its writers. I am forever grateful to have been a part of such a wonderful program—and I am so thankful that my words are connected to a story like this one.” After graduating from Gallatin, Alyssa became Operations Leader at an elementary school in Southeast Queens, then helped expand it to a middle school. During remote learning, she made sure students could access WiFi, get devices, food, and medical care.
LR13-16: SYDNEY RAPPIS: “I have such joyful memories of working on The Literacy Review. The whole process was rewarding in many ways, but I often think of the times when we were able to meet with the teachers and students involved in the book. The all-day Literacy Review workshops, photoshoots in the Gallatin building, and (of course) the celebration of the finished book were my favorite moments. After discussing the pieces for weeks, it was always such a delight to meet the authors and teachers behind the stories. The LR network is a wonderful collaboration of shared passion for literacy and storytelling, and I am honored to have been a part of it. After graduating from NYU, I continued working with a literacy program through Columbia, working as a volunteer teacher, and attending the workshops and LR17 celebration from an outside point of view. Now, I work as an editor at an academic publisher that focuses on literacy programs for younger readers. We publish a small number of children’s books as well, and I often look at past LR volumes for inspiration. I am looking forward to reading the stories that come out of The Literacy Review in the future.”
LR14: GRACE GUARNIERI: “Being an editor for The Literacy Review was one of the greatest experiences I had during my time at NYU Gallatin. It’s very easy to go to college in New York without ever knowing the city and the people around you. Through The Literacy Review, I was able to connect with the writers on a deeper level to better understand their experiences through their words and descriptions of their lives in New York. The Literacy Review influenced my life after graduation in a meaningful way, as I continued to seek out opportunities to get to know and listen to people in New York. I am currently in my second year at The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. As a law student, I interned at an innocence project where I worked to exonerate prisoners who were wrongfully convicted. After law school, I intend to pursue a career in the public interest.”
LR14-17: KEYLI PERALTA: “When I think about The Literacy Review, I realize it was a home away from home. I remember feeling quite anxious as an undergraduate student. Maybe the anxiety can be chalked up to me being an introvert, or maybe it was because I was a first-gen student. However, all the anxiety would just fall away when working on The Literacy Review. A line from Angie Stitt’s work in LR17 comes to mind: ‘Everybody needs a place where they can be themselves.’ The Literacy Review was that place for me. A place for community and collaboration. A place where we valued words that celebrated our differences while also highlighting human goodness. While working on LR, I found myself constantly reflecting on the importance of education. I still carry all the lessons I learned with me today. I now work in the education field at a nonprofit organization. I work to connect teachers and students with travelers studying in different parts of the world in order to teach geographic literacy, cultural competence, and global citizenship.”
LR15: ROSIE GILROY: “Joining The Literacy Review was a highlight of my time at Gallatin. It was an incredibly supportive community at a school that can sometimes feel fragmented. Most importantly, LR created connections between us, as NYU students, and the broader New York City community. Reading the writing helped us to understand the lives of our New York City neighbors outside the NYU bubble. The LR experience also taught me editing skills that have helped me succeed in law school and at work. Now a third-year student at Georgetown Law, after graduation in May, I will be moving back to New York City to work as a fertility and matrimonial law associate.”
LR15-18: LIZZY CHESHIRE: “Having been a photographer, editor, and then editor in chief of LR, every volume reaches out and touches my heart. When I read the stories and look at the photographs of the writers, I am honored that I was able to have a small hand in its history. I was also lucky to have participated in two all-day workshops, where teachers from across New York City come together to learn from one another, and each time, I have been awed by their passion and care. Of course, it shows in every piece of writing that is submitted. That love and dedication also shines through the writers themselves. Though my final year with the LR was curtailed by Covid restrictions—resulting in a canceled celebration—I luckily still got to meet many of the writers who were published in Volume 18 when I photographed them for their author portraits. The editors, designers, and photographers I got to work with during my time with the LR are some of the best people I know, and I am proud to call them my friends. Some of my fondest memories of college will always involve The Literacy Review.” Lizzy has a master’s degree in linguistics from Queen Mary University in London and is a first-year student at NYU School of Law.
LR17: JULIA CRUZ: “I was lucky enough to be the graphic designer for the 17th volume of The Literacy Review. Three years later, it remains one of my favorite projects during my time in university and an integral experience in my career. It was such a joy to collaborate with the LR17 editors in creating a book that showcased the wonderful stories of writers from New York and well beyond. Their stories inspired my designs for the book cover and chapter dividers, and it felt so heartwarming seeing the newly published writers hold the physical copy of the book in their hands. I recall that our whole team was filled with pride during the annual celebration, hearing the authors read their work aloud. I am incredibly happy to have been a small part of The Literacy Review’s 20-year run, and I hope it continues for many years to come! I recently relocated to London and have started a full-time job as a product designer at Facebook (now called Meta). I still consider working on LR17 a significant learning experience for me early in my design career.”
LR17-18: EMILIE LAROCK: “During my time as an editor of The Literacy Review, I was introduced to the works of students from adult literacy programs across New York City. These writers told stories of family, friends, pets, and also times of trauma. Some works were just a few paragraphs, yet they captured emotions that seemed to encompass pages in my mind. Some were experimental, playing with magical realism and world-building. What struck me most is that every piece that was submitted had personality. I got to know the writers and was able to hear their voices in the details of their experiences because they were given an outlet and platform where their creativity could shine. My experience with LR taught me the value of accessibility and learning for all, and I will remember these stories for years to come. LR also has pushed me to pursue graduate studies in the hopes of one day starting my own community writing program within an institution of higher learning.”
LR17-20: MOOSA WARAICH: “In November 2018, I received an email from the Gallatin Writing Program listserv inviting students to apply for an exciting opportunity taking place over the winter break. If selected, students were to participate as members of the editorial board for the 17th edition of The Literacy Review. I decided to apply. This decision set into motion a series of events that have come to define my university experience and will stay with me long after I have graduated. The time I spent as a main editor for Volume 18 was, simply put, absolutely wonderful. The entire experience, from the interactions with chosen authors at the photoshoot to selecting and advocating for works we each deemed fit for publication, was one that I will deeply cherish. Even though we were forced to pivot to an online model in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, our publishing audio files of the authors reading their pieces on the LR website compensated for the absence of an in-person celebration. The decision to apply to the editorial board was seminal in my academic growth and in informing my career aspirations. For that, I am most grateful.”
LR17-20: YEJIN CHANG: “One of my favorite memories of The Literacy Review is reading the LR17 submissions. They were all intimate and thoughtful, utilizing literacy education to tell their own stories. One that stuck with me was ‘The New York City Subway’ by Antonio Pontecorvi, which made me appreciate each moment of my commute to class. The photoshoot gave editors the opportunity to spend time together outside of the classroom, a valuable team-building experience. I also enjoyed meeting with the writers contributing to the volume, listening to them speak about their classroom experiences and the inspiration behind their writing. And when more digital, online aspects were brought to LR, I was overjoyed. We were able to introduce audio recordings of readings and hear writers’ voices narrate their work. My LR experience defined my relationship with education. Prior to LR, I didn’t think much about the privilege of being educated. LR made me understand the importance of literacy programs and the transformative, liberating effect of education that empowers students. I would like to work in education in the future, and I know that LR will continue to inform how I think about education.”
LR18: CHEYENNE PORCHER: “As an editor of LR18, I had the opportunity to participate in the first-ever virtual iteration of The Literacy Review. This experience reinforced, for me, what seems to be the essence of the publication—connection. Although the majority of my time as an editor happened prior to the pandemic and consisted of the typical in-person events, including the photoshoot weekends and the workshops, etc., I felt closest to the Review sitting in my childhood bedroom and looking over the completed website for the first time. While time may fade the memories we have of specific meetings, conversations, and encounters, the voices of those who shared their spirit with The Literacy Review will endure, now in a forum for all to enjoy.” Cheyenne will attend NYU School of Law in fall.
LR18: CADE RICHMOND: “Being an editor for The Literacy Review was a transformative experience. The editors, faculty advisers, students, and teachers brought their unique backgrounds and perspectives to the project. I reflect fondly on the photoshoot sessions where I spoke with writers about their stories and lives. The Literacy Review casts a powerful spotlight on the importance of promoting adult literacy, elevating marginalized voices, and communicating through literature. I am immensely grateful for the colleagues and professional skills I acquired during my time with The Literacy Review.” Cade is a second-year student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, focusing on health law.
LR18-19: EMMANUEL HIDALGO WOHLLEBEN: “Editing The Literacy Review was one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences I had while at NYU. What a pleasure it was to work with such an outstanding team of writers, editors, and designers, and how enlightening and rewarding it was to contribute, in however minor a way, to the amplification of such a diverse range of voices. That these incredible stories will have a permanent home in the pages of The Literacy Review will always be a tremendous source of pride and satisfaction for me, and I am so excited to see what the next generation of LR contributors will bring to this terrific publication.”
LR18-19: EMILY PARDUE: “During my first year at Gallatin I learned about The Literacy Review and instantly knew that it was something special. Now that I’ve had the privilege of spending my senior year as an editor of LR19, I can say without a doubt that participating in LR was one of the most rewarding parts of my Gallatin education. When I think back to our weekly Zoom meetings, the massive spreadsheet I always worried I’d somehow erase, and the ‘Big Meeting’ when we made the final decisions about the submissions, I’m filled with gratitude. Even with the seemingly endless amount of reading and editing and emailing, the LR19 team never failed to make me laugh and remember the importance of what we all were working toward. The Literacy Review is such a beautiful representation of the Gallatin philosophy of individualized study, and I’m so proud to have been a part of the legacy of LR. It taught me that editing is, above everything else, about the heart behind the story.”
LR18-19 TRAVIS SCHUHARDT: “The reason I am so fond of the program is that it encourages everyone who is learning English as a second language to make the language their own. It’s not just confidence, it’s ownership. The poems and stories that LR publishes showcase all of the students claiming this new language, and I am delighted that I got to be a part of that process. LR19 happened in the midst of a global pandemic, but I don’t think that stopped our group from coming together to get everything done. We were all excited to read stories and poems, to get the human experiences we were all lacking while locked inside all day. It was inspiring, engaging work, and the kind of thing that brings people together, which is exactly what was needed then, and always.” Travis is pursuing an M.A. in creative writing at Oxford University.
LR18-20: JULES TALBOT: “I stumbled upon The Literacy Review at Gallatin’s annual club fair in 2019, when there happened to be an opening for a book designer. Three years later, I’m still here. By now I’ve designed Volumes 18, 19, and 20 of LR, and each annual book has brought its own learning curves, creative hurdles, and triumphs. Working on LR is educational—it’s taught me so much about book design and production—but we also have more responsibility than students in a typical classroom, since there’s a tangible product at the end of each year: a real, print book, full of real stories. Every year, I look forward to holding that first proof copy. LR has been a pillar of my Gallatin experience, and beyond Gallatin, my LR portfolio has helped me find professional work as a designer. It represents the best of our school: brilliant, committed students and faculty, doing work with an impact beyond 1 Washington Place.”