UC Student Veterans Summer Writing Workshop

UC Student Veterans Summer Writing Workshop

University of California, Santa Barbara

Read The Current‘s April 2019 feature story about the UC Student Veterans Writing Workshop as well as an article about the 2018 workshop.

Read the featured item from the UC Office of the President newsroom about the Workshop.

“Creative writing offers veterans a way to integrate their military experiences into their larger life narratives. When veterans write and share their stories, they build bridges to the civilian community, and they strengthen their ties to other veterans.”

- Susan Derwin, Director, UC Student Veterans Summer Writing Workshop

Every veteran has memories of his or her military service, from enlistment, boot camp and trainings, through deployments and homecomings. At the UC Student Veterans Summer Writing Workshop, student veterans from all ten campuses of the University of California will gather for five days to study and practice the art of storytelling. Under the guidance of experienced instructors, students will learn how to compose personal narratives about their military experiences and share their stories with others.

The UC Veterans Summer Writing Workshop is FREE of charge for all participants. Lodging and meals will be provided. Participants coming from Southern California (UCSD, UCLA, UCI, UCR, UCSB) will be reimbursed up to $150 for private car mileage or for bus or train travel to UC Santa Barbara. Participants coming from Northern California (UCSF, UCB, UCD, UCSC, UCM) will be reimbursed up to $400 for private car mileage or for bus or train travel to UC Santa Barbara. If paying for travel expenses in advance presents an obstacle to your participation, please email nerstad@ihc.ucsb.edu.

Who Should Apply: Undergraduate and graduate UC student veterans interested in writing narratives about their military experiences in a workshop composed of student veterans from across the UC system. Applicants need not have any experience with creative writing.

Program: The program schedule includes daily workshops, group discussions, and story circles. Afternoons are devoted to writing and are a time of quiet work. The late afternoons are reserved for recreation: attending a yoga class to refresh mind and body, swimming and exercising, meditating, and strolling around the campus lagoon, labyrinth, and beach.

Daily communal meals and evening gatherings, including a sunset beach barbeque, afford time for conversation, friendship-building, and conviviality. The final evening will feature a celebratory banquet in which participants have the opportunity to share their written stories with their peers and members of the campus community.

Goals: The UC Student Veterans Writing Workshop was created in the belief that when veterans write their stories and share them with others, they become more connected to themselves, they heal invisible wounds, they discover new meanings in their life, and they build bridges of communication to the civilian world.

If you are a UC student veteran interested in exploring what your service has meant to you, developing your writing skills, and strengthening your ability to communicate with others about your military experiences, we invite you to apply to the UC Student Veterans Summer Writing Workshop. The next workshop will be held in June 2020. Questions about the program or application process can be directed to IHC Associate Director Erin Nerstad at nerstad@ihc.ucsb.edu.

The UC Student Veterans Summer Writing Workshop is supported by the UC Office of the President and through a gift from Laureen Seeger and David Elliot Cohen.

About the Instructors

UC Student Veterans Writing Workshop Instructors:

Susan Derwin is Professor of German and Comparative Literature at UCSB and Director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center (IHC). Her teaching and research concentrate on the relationship between testimonial narrative and healing. Since 2011 she has facilitated a university writing workshop for student veterans and military dependents. She has spoken nationally and internationally about the benefits of narrative-making for the social reintegration of returning soldiers. She helped create a UCSB student veterans writing column in a local journal run by UCSB undergraduates, and she is the editor of Instant Separation, a digital journal of military experience from the University of California. A recent interview with her, focusing on her work with veterans, was featured on UCSB’s Humanities and Fine Arts page.

Peter Molin is a retired US Army infantry officer who currently teaches in the English Department Writing Program at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ.  As an Army officer, Molin was stationed at Fort Bragg, NC; Fort Drum, NY; and in the Republic of Korea; and he deployed to the Sinai, Egypt; Kosovo; and Afghanistan.  He also served for nine years on the faculty of the Department of English and Philosophy at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY.  He has published and presented widely on war-and-military writing, veterans-in-the-classroom, rhetoric-and-composition, and American literature, and he has participated in many veterans-writing workshops and reading groups.  He received a BA from the University of Virginia; an MA from the University of California, Berkeley; and a PhD in American literature from Indiana University. Online, his writing can be found at 15-Month Adventure: US Army Advisor Service in Khost and Paktya, Afghanistan and Time Now: The Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in Art, Film, and Literature.

Aida Amirkhanian has been studying and teaching yoga in the tradition of B.K.S. Iyengar for over 25 years. She is a graduate of the teachers training program of the Iyengar yoga Institute of Los Angeles and certified at the Intermediate Junior III Level. Interested in both the practical and the philosophical aspects of yoga and the interconnectedness in the day-to-day practice and life, Aida is currently teaching at “Light On Yoga” yoga center. She is also participating in the 3 year program of the Iyengar yoga therapeutics under the guidance of Manouso Manos. Aida has methodical and strong teaching style, her determination and strong yoga practice motivates her to provide an uplifting, safe forum for challenging, rewarding and transformation experience.