“An Amazing Day”
On May 2 and 3, 2019, Princeton Writes convened its first symposium on the written and spoken word, “Connect: Harnessing the Power of Words,” designed to strengthen staff communication skills and the human connections that sustain our campus. As Program Director John Weeren put it in his opening remarks, “the more we conceive of communication as relational rather than transactional and the more we subordinate the pronoun I and elevate the pronoun we, the more fruitful our exchanges will be.”
Led by some of our University community’s most accomplished writers and speakers, the symposium began on May 2 with an opening conversation between the distinguished essayist and novelist Pico Iyer and interim Vice Provost for International Affairs and Operations Aly Kassam-Remtulla, entitled “A World of Words: Communicating Outside Our Comfort Zones.”
The program for May 3 consisted of a master class, led by the Department of English’s Jeff Dolven (a second master class, led by Tamsen Wolff, will be rescheduled) and two panels, including the celebrated writer John McPhee, that addressed topics ranging from pitching ideas and building relationships to portraying the other and embracing creativity. The proceedings closed with a keynote address, “Embracing Our Humanity: ‘Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life,'” delivered by Joe Richman, founder and executive producer of Radio Diaries, whose work has won every major award in American broadcast journalism.
Schedule of Events
May 2, 2019
Opening Conversation: A World of Words: Communicating Outside Our Comfort Zones
1:00-2:00 p.m., Room A17, Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building
Stephanie Whetstone is assistant director of Princeton Writes, a program dedicated to fostering effective communication at Princeton. She previously taught composition, literature, and creative writing courses and has published fiction in several journals. Whetstone holds a BA in comparative area studies from Duke University and an MFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Pico Iyer is a visiting lecturer in the Humanities Council and a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton this semester. An essayist and novelist, he has been described as “arguably the world’s greatest living travel writer,” though this does not begin to compass his work, which has yielded 15 books and has regularly appeared since 1982 in such publications as Time, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, Harper’s, and Vanity Fair. Iyer studied English literature at Oxford University and received a second master’s in literature from Harvard University.
Aly Kassam-Remtulla is vice provost for international affairs and operations (acting) at Princeton. As the University’s senior international affairs officer, he leads the development and administration of partnerships, polices, and programs that advance the international scope of Princeton’s teaching, research, and service mission. Kassam-Remtulla is also a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology and a faculty advisor in Wilson College. Before joining the University’s administration in 2010, he served as a program officer at the MacArthur Foundation. Kassam-Remtulla holds a BA in social anthropology from Stanford University and, as a Rhodes Scholar, studied at Oxford University, where he earned an MSc, MBA, and PhD.
May 3, 2019
Master Class 1: Communicating with Our Bodies: Voice, Gesture, and Presence
12:30-1:45 p.m., Room 397, Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building
Tamsen Wolff is an associate professor of English specializing in modern and contemporary drama and performance, gender studies, cultural studies, voice, directing, and dramaturgy. In addition to her scholarly work, she has published a novel, with a second in progress, served as a director and dramaturg, and is an associate teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework. Wolff obtained a BA in theater and women’s studies from Smith College and a PhD in theater and English from Columbia University.
Master Class 2: Writing with Styles
1:55-3:10 p.m., Room 301, Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building
Jeff Dolven, a member of Princeton’s faculty since 2001, is a professor of English and acting chair of his department. He specializes in poetry and poetics, especially of the English Renaissance, and is the author of three books of criticism and numerous essays and poems, including an eight-part series of meditations on the sentence commissioned by The Paris Review. Dolven earned a BA in philosophy and a PhD in English from Yale University and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in between.
3:20-3:30 p.m., Room 399, Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building
John Weeren is founding director of Princeton Writes, a program established in 2013 to strengthen the practical communication skills of Princeton’s employees and students. Prior to assuming this role, he served as assistant to and speechwriter for now University President Emerita Shirley M. Tilghman and as an archivist at a number of institutions, including Princeton’s Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. Weeren holds a BA in history and Spanish from the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University and an MA in history from the University of British Columbia.
Panel 1: Connecting Through the Spoken Word
3:30-4:30 p.m., Room 399, Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building
Cornelia Huellstrunk is executive director of Princeton’s Keller Center, which fosters entrepreneurship, innovation, and design. Prior to joining the University in 2009, she worked for many years at Texas Instruments both in Europe and the United States in various roles, including global marketing manager for the company’s MSP430 microcontroller business. Huellstrunk holds a BA in economics from Columbia University and an MBA from the Universitaet des Saarlandes in Germany.
Howard Stone is the Donald R. Dixon ’69 and Elizabeth W. Dixon Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton, as well as his department’s chair. He taught at Harvard University for 20 years, receiving its top teaching awards, before coming to Princeton in 2009, where he received the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. Stone’s research interests lie in fluid dynamics. He received his BS in chemical engineering from the University of California at Davis and his PhD in chemical engineering from Caltech.
Michael Rosenberg has served as managing director of the McCarter Theatre Center, one of America’s foremost regional theaters, since 2018 and has nurtured and guided the performing arts from coast to coast for more than 25 years. Prior to joining McCarter’s leadership, he served for nine years as managing director of La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, California. Rosenberg holds a BA in theatre from James Madison University.
Sara Judge is deputy vice president for development at Princeton, a position she has held since 2017. She previously served as founder and managing director of River Way China Consulting, as global director at Avenues: The World School, and as president of China Institute. Judge received a BA in East Asian Studies from Princeton, pursued postgraduate Chinese language and literature studies at Peking University, and holds executive education certificates from Harvard Business School.
Panel 2: Connecting Through the Written Word
4:40-5:40 p.m., Room 399, Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building
Marianna Bogucki is a conference and event manager in Princeton’s Office of Conference and Event Services, where she has worked since 2010. In 2015, she was the inaugural winner of the Princeton Writes Prize for her essay “November Light,” which highlights New South, an underappreciated campus building. Her work has been published in The Huffington Post and U.S. 1, and she enjoys finding ways to bring writing into both her professional and personal lives. She came to Princeton from Bryn Mawr College, where she earned an AB in growth and structure of cities.
John McPhee is a Ferris Professor of Journalism in residence at Princeton, where he has taught nonfiction writing since 1975. He is the author of 30 books and has contributed more than 100 articles to The New Yorker since joining its staff in 1965. McPhee is a four-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in general non-fiction, which he won in 1999, and in 2008, he received the George Polk Career Award for leaving an “indelible mark on American journalism.” He earned a BA in English from Princeton before pursuing postgraduate studies at Cambridge University.
Nick Chiles is a visiting lecturer in the Humanities Council and a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton this semester, having previously taught at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. He is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author, as well as a literary agent for Aevitas Creative Management in New York. After beginning his career as a reporter for publications such as New York Newsday, The Star-Ledger, and Dallas Morning News, he became a successful freelance writer and magazine editor. Chiles has written or co-written more than 14 books, has served as a director of the Grady High School Writing Center in Atlanta, and as the director of Harlem Overheard, the community newspaper of the Harlem Children’s Zone. He earned a BA in psychology from Yale University.
Daphne Kalotay is a lecturer in creative writing at Princeton’s Lewis Center for the Arts, where she has taught since 2017. She is the author of two award-winning novels, with a third to be published this summer, as well as a collection of short stories. Before coming to Princeton, Kalotay taught in MFA programs at Boston University, Emerson College, and the University of Massachusetts. She earned a BA in psychology from Vassar College and an MFA and PhD from Boston University in creative writing and modern and contemporary literature, respectively.
Keynote Address: Embracing Our Humanity: “Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life”
5:50-6:35 p.m., Room 399, Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building
Joe Stephens is the founding director of Princeton’s Program in Journalism and has been a Ferris Professor of Journalism in residence since 2014. Prior to coming to Princeton, he worked at The Washington Post, joining its investigative projects team in 1999, and The Kansas City Star, among other newspapers. Stephens is a three-time George Polk Award winner and a three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He holds a BA in English from Miami University.
Joe Richman is the founder and executive producer of Radio Diaries, a not-for-profit radio production company that has won every major award in American broadcast journalism. For two decades, Radio Diaries has helped pioneer a model for working with people to document their own lives for public radio, collaborating with teenagers and octogenarians, prisoners and prison guards, gospel preachers and bra saleswomen, the famous and the unknown. Richman’s work has been likened to that of legendary broadcaster and oral historian Studs Terkel, and in addition to teaching at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, he has been a visiting lecturer in the Humanities Council and a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton, a position he will assume again this fall. Before creating Radio Diaries, Richman was a reporter and producer for the National Public Radio programs All Things Considered, Weekend Edition Saturday, Car Talk, and Heat. He received a BA in History from Oberlin College.