Penn 2014-2015 Bassini Writing Apprentices Announced

By Gina Bryan

University of Pennsylvania undergraduates Jacob Gardenswartz, Annika Neklason and Leah Davidson have been selected as the 2014-2015 Bassini Writing Apprentices. They will complete their apprenticeships in the spring 2015 semester.

The Bassini Writing Apprenticeships were created in 2003 through a generous grant from alumni Reina Marin Bassini and Emilio Bassini. Each year Penn’s Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing in the College of Arts & Sciences offers three Bassini Writing Apprenticeships to eligible sophomores, juniors and seniors who are aspiring writers.

Each student chosen for the program is assigned to a member of the Creative Writing faculty to work as an apprentice for a full semester. Together, the mentors and student apprentices work on a project that is at the core of the mentor’s work as a practicing writer. The apprencticeships are designed to expose the students to the variety of writing practices and problem-solving techniques used by writers when tackling a major project. The student apprentices also receive one course credit for their work with the faculty-mentors.

The 2014-2015 Bassini Writing Apprentices have been awarded to the following students: 

  • Jacob Gardenswartz, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences of San Diego, Calif., who is a managing editor of The Spectrum, a campus political publication. As a member of the interview staff for the Penn Political Review, Jacob will be working alongside political blogger and journalist, Dick Polman.
  • Annika Neklason, a sophomore English major with a concentration in creative writing from Santa Cruz, Calif., will be working with fiction writer and magazine editor, Karen Rile.
  • Leah Davidson, a junior management and global innovation major in the Wharton School and an English minor, from Sherbrooke, Quebec will work with journalist, fiction and non-fiction editor, essayist and magazine writer Avery Rome.

Al Filreis, professor of English, Kelly Writers’ House faculty director and director of Penn’s Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, said, “The Bassini Writing Apprenticeships are a unique blend of creative writing seminar, independent study project, and internship. The student apprentice is invited to watch an accomplished writer do her work, to see every step and action at close range, to get a daily sense of what a major writing project entails. And then the apprentice begins to try out these practices on and with and in support of her own writing.”

More information about each project can be found here:

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