Multimedia skills, extracurricular involvement and a strong resume helped one writing major win a newly established memorial apprenticeship presented at this year’s English department Creative Writing Awards ceremony Thursday.
The apprenticeship is called the Christine Salmon Gauthier Apprenticeship, said Brad Lucas, associate professor and English department chair. Martha Salmon, the donor for the apprenticeship and Gauthier’s mother, said at the event that the apprenticeship is in memory of her daughter, an English major who graduated in 1994 from the university and died in January 2007.
The apprenticeship was awarded for the first time to Spenser Davis, a junior writing and film-TV-digital media major. He said he hopes the apprenticeship will help him develop his research and writing skills.
“I’m really excited to work with different kinds of faculty from all areas of the English department,” Davis said. “I’m looking forward to helping research and helping out a lot with what the department does and getting people excited about English and becoming English majors.”
According to an article written in Reed,the English department newsletter, the apprenticeship recipient will learn new media technologies, provide service to local community organizations to enhance university outreach efforts, support the English department faculty and serve as a peer resource.
Lucas said the apprenticeship recipient would also have the responsibility to help students who are undecided majors recognize if English is the right major for them. The student who receives the apprenticeship, which lasts one academic year, would be paid at a rate above minimum wage, Lucas said.
Ann McDonald, director of development for AddRan College of Liberal Arts, said financial need was part of the criteria for the person who received the apprenticeship at the request of Gauthier’s parents. The student who received the apprenticeship had to be a junior or senior English or writing major with 54 or more hours.
Lucas said Gauthier’s parents wanted to honor her in a way that was true to her spirit. The Salmons wanted the apprenticeship to be reflective of Gauthier’s appreciation of English, Lucas said.
McDonald said Salmon described Gauthier to her as someone who loved English and writing.
“From what I remember Martha saying about her daughter, she was really very articulate, very literate, very deeply immersed in literature, and.she was a voracious reader,” McDonald said.
Salmon said Gauthier had a lifelong love of learning, knowledge about the power of the written word and a passion to make life better for others.
“The apprenticeship’s purpose is to memorialize her deep love of learning, her knowledge about the power of language and her generosity of resources to others,” Salmon said.
In the beginning, Salmon was presented with several suggestions of ways she could donate, McDonald said. Suggestions included an endowed scholarship, an essay award and a gift to the Institute for Critical and Creative Expression. Of all the ideas, Salmon said she loved the idea of an apprenticeship, McDonald said.