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Alumni Testimonials

Jackie Kauza

LHSP 2007-2009, 2009-2015 office assistant. English (with Honors) and Archaeological Anthropology. Graduated in 2011.

Now: A doctoral candidate in Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy at The Ohio State University, where Jackie is working on her dissertation on undergraduate writing in academic disciplines.

"My time in LHSP (now LSWA) fostered my growth as a writer and an artist. My projects interweaving writing and art (a children's book and a graphic novel) are still sources of pride for me today. My experiences editing the LHSP Arts and Literary Journal and coordinating the program's clubs also proved incredibly valuable to me in my career."

Cortney Smalley

LHSP 2012-2016. Screen Arts & Cultures (now Film, TV, and Media). Graduated in 2016.

Now: Works full time in college recruitment

"My experience in the LSWA (formerly LHSP) program was enriching and transformative. Surrounding myself with like minded poets, artists, and creative thinkers inspired me to take a holistic approach to developing a career that includes exploration for education and implementation of the arts."

Amanda Wenger

LHSP 2010-2014. Nursing. Graduated in 2014.

Now: A nurse in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. Amanda is performing in her first stand-up comedy set at the Houston Fringe Festival this fall. She will be attending a fiction writing residency next spring at The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow, and she recently launched a blog at

“LHSP was my home away from home when I was at college. I found my most valuable creative mentors among the students and faculty, and they have been supporting me ever since I graduated. Being in this program was the best part of being at Michigan.”

LHSP alumni (Jamie Monville, Andrew Loeb, and Merranda McLaughlin) Photo courtesy of Merranda

Merranda McLaughlin

LHSP 2011-2013. Double major in Psychology & English. Graduated in 2015.

Now: In second year of PhD studies in Clinical Psychology, focusing on a culturally informed treatment for schizophrenia.

“When I first went to the University of Michigan, I knew my main passion was going to be psychology and research. I joined LHSP with the intent of keeping my creative interests alive, but didn't realize what an amazing community I had joined. . . . Most of my college friends were in LHSP and it made the transition into a large university a thrilling experience rather than an overwhelming one. LHSP's influence on me has been quite profound. It has helped me balance these different interests and aspects of myself, and has helped me stay a more centered, whole person." 

Chris Crowder

LHSP 2014-2015. Communications with a Minor in Writing. Graduated in 2018.

Now: Pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing with a distinction in poetry at U of M starting Fall 2019

“How LHSP made a difference: Being a part of LHSP gave me the time and space to pursue artistic expression with classes and a community that fostered creativity. LHSP and its professors started my journey to eventually lead me on a path to become a poet in the Helen Zell Writers’ Program in the Rackham graduate school at Michigan.”

Kelly Gillikin

LHSP 2010-2014. Classical Archaeology with Minors in Anthropological Archaeology, Medieval and Early Modern Studies and Museum Studies. Graduated in 2014. 

Now: Lives in São Paulo, Brazil, and works with 3D modeling software to create digital archaeological reconstructions for projects, research institutes and museums. 

"LHSP for me was the best outlet for my creative interests without having to commit to a fine arts concentration. Meeting and living with other passionate and artistic students from all backgrounds was inspiring and fun." 

Jamie Monville

LHSP 2011-2015. English with a Minor in Writing (Sweetland). Graduated 2015. 

Now: Works at the LSA Opportunity Hub as a Mentorship Program Manager, developing and implementing more ways (in person and virtually) for LSA students to connect with LSA alumni. Also currently working toward a Master's degree in User Experience design through the School of Information at Michigan.

"I had really strong perfectionist tendencies while in college (still do) and what LHSP taught me most was how to explore. While painting murals, editing student work for the journal, and braving the courage to put my own words on paper, I developed a love for process that's become a crucial part of who I am and how I navigate the world."

Jack Foster

LHSP 2011-2013. Double major in Comparative Literature & French, with minors in Translation Studies & Poetry. Graduated in 2015.

Now: A student at Columbia Law School

"I cannot overstate how grateful I am for my time in LHSP. It provided opportunities to grow that I do not believe can be found elsewhere. Students in the LHSP are able to build close relationships with brilliant faculty and have access to unique projects. Carol Tell, the director of the program, who is an incredible scholar and human being, became a mentor to me and I still often turn to her wisdom in my life since graduating. Meanwhile, my time as an editor, and later co-Chief editor, of the Arts and Literary journal helped me develop formative ideas about literature and art while nurturing my writing and professional skills."

David Roston

LHSP 2007-2008. Screen Arts & Cultures. Graduated in 2011.

Now: Documentary Filmmaker and Radio Host

"LSWA was influential during my college years by providing me with a platform to experiment and grow as an artist. I was constantly encouraged to think outside the box: transforming cardboard into mystical creatures with FestiFools, capturing stream-of-consciousness poetry into spoken-word contests, and even binding my own children’s book which I keep to this day." 

Dan Ray

LHSP 2012-2013. Double major in English & Music (through LSA). Graduated in 2016. 

Now: Living in Seattle! Runs a music journalism website (, centered around the local, underground music scene. "My ultimate goal is to make Dan's Tunes nationwide, with satellite campuses in other major cities across the country that all focus on the local scenes. TLDR; don’t give up on your dreams, kids! Lol." 

"LHSP gave me a place to explore and feel comfortable in my creativity. The community made me feel safe and surrounded by people who had similar interests; to me, it started the process of what college is all about—connecting with those with similar passions."

Michael Sugerman

LHSP 2013-2015. Public Policy. Graduated in 2017.

Now: A Broadcast Associate (soon-to-be Associate Producer) at CBS This Morning

"One thing I was anxious about when I came to Michigan was its size, and LSWA (referred to as LHSP at the time) was pivotal in mitigating that fear. I was relieved and delighted to live in a dorm with people who, like me, were passionate about writing and the arts—and to have access to specialized resources that catered to further developing that passion. The examples are myriad, but range from something as small as having piano rooms in the dorm, to something as unique as taking a student field trip to Grand Rapids for ArtPrize. The LSWA community is perfect for people who are seeking an intimate experience fueled by students and instructors alike who care about making the learning experience as fun as it is rigorous."