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Graduate Capstone Projects and Reflections on the Minor

Jared Bartman

Major: Health and Fitness

America's Concerning Storylines

I was elated to discover the Sweetland Writing Minor because writing is something I have been passionate about my entire life. Classes have offered me an excellent array of resources and new skills that I will carry with me no matter where my professional career takes me. Writing is a talent that translates to any role, so I'm ecstatic to have a great foundation for how it can be used effectively.

Gabriel Boudagh

Major: Cellular and Molecular Biology

Sick Lullabies

It is interesting how sweet my time was learning from the best at Sweetland. I first would like to thank my colleagues and peers who have inspired me through their own projects and creativity. I would next like to thank the Sweetland Writing Department, specifically Professors Ray and T, for giving me the help and encouragement I needed during my time at U of M. Finally, more importantly, I would like to thank my father, my mother, and my siblings for everything else.

I hope through this minor I will be a better communicator as a doctor, a leader, and as an activist.

John Bynan

Major: Business
Supplemental Studies in Public Policy

Caught in College

Maddie Deutsch

Major: Sociology
Minor: Spanish Language Literature & Culture

Extended Stay

As someone with so many different passions, picking classes every semester was super stressful. Everything sounded cool to me. My MiW allowed me to take courses that pretty much make up my favorite classes at Michigan. I created a speculative fiction movie, recorded two podcast episodes that are now on Spotify, wrote investigative journalism during a pandemic, made zines, expressed gratitude to my family through open letters, and of course most recently wrote the pilot episode to a TV series. I applied to the minor because I knew I wanted to write in college. What I got through the minor is a whole new understanding of what writing encompasses and a toolbox to continue to creatively explore genres as I start my career.

Akili Echols

Major: Sociology with a focus in Law, Justice, and Social Change
Minor: Education for Empowerment

Ask Her Name

I've really loved my time at Sweetland, and it has only further cemented my passion for writing. By both minoring in writing and being a Sweetland Peer Consultant, I've been able to grow as a writer and explore writing in a variety of ways. I now know that I want to publish a poetry and fiction in the future, and that I want to teach writing in some capacity. I'm super grateful for my time at Sweetland and will cherish it forever.

Kaitlyn Ender

Major: Psychology

Let's Talk About Adulting

I am so grateful for my time at Sweetland. While pursuing the minor, I had the rare opportunity to experiment with my writing in a safe and supportive environment. Thanks to the endless encouragement and thoughtful feedback from Shelley and my MiW peers, I was able to further develop my unique voice and writing style, all while following my passions and interests. Although the past year was very challenging, both personally and academically, my Sweetland community always kept me motivated and excited about learning and writing. I am so thankful for my MiW family! Go blue!

Lucy Freeman

Major: Communication & Media
Minor: Performing Arts Management

alice festival

I appreciate Sweetland for always supporting us in interpreting "writing" the way we want to. I think in a lot of our courses we're taught that there is a "correct" way to write, or that writing can only come in the form of an essay or a book of poems. In reality, writing is all around us. It's in films and in branding and in menus and in websites. It is as important to small children as it is to grown adults. I have a new outlook on writing thanks to Sweetland, and I'm sure it will come in handy in the future.

Aria Gerson

Major: Political Science
Minor: History

After the Glass Ceiling

I realized about a year into college that I wanted to pursue journalism, but Michigan doesn't offer a journalism major or even a minor. With the writing minor, though, I don't feel like I missed out on much. The writing minor gave me an opportunity to branch out and try new forms of writing that helped make my journalism better and by the end I was able to incorporate my loves of journalism and sports into other forms of writing, particularly creative nonfiction. Knowing how digitally-focused the journalism world is, I love that Sweetland actively promotes digital writing as writing. My Sweetland classes were among my favorite of my time at Michigan and I learned so much about not only writing, but how to use writing to make a difference.

Andrew Green

Major: Business Administration (BBA)

Maya Grossman

Major: Bassoon Performance
Minor: Performing Arts Management& Entrepreneurship

The Musician, the Markswoman, and the Jew

I am so thankful for being a part of the Sweetland Writing Minor and having such great professors, mentors, and classmates in the cohort! Sweetland has been a huge part of my college experience and has completely surpassed my expectations of what a writing minor could be. Big shout out to T Hetzel and Julie Babcock for being there throughout my journey!

Aylin Gunal

Major: Data Science

The Minor in Writing was one of the best parts of my undergrad experience; everyone is so incredibly cool and talented and kind, and I'm glad I got to be a part of such a vibrant and encouraging community over the past few years.

Arushi Gupta

Major: Public Policy


I originally pursued the Minor in Writing to refine my writing skills for a professional environment. By the end of my capstone, however, I walked away with so much more. I feel more confident in my ability to express my emotions, and my capstone project helped me learn so much about my family. The writing process that the Minor facilitates also encouraged me to become more comfortable with sharing my writing with others. The workshop process not only helped me develop my own skills but also introduced me to the incredible work that my peers are doing. Sweetland is an incredible community of talented writers, and I am so grateful for my time in this program.

Tatiyana Ibanez

Majors: Political Science; Sociology
Minor: History

While a lot of my classes felt impersonal due to large class size, I always felt cozy in the MiW space. The faculty were always so welcoming and understanding and I always appreciated that. I'm so grateful to have transferred here and gotten into the Minor. Having a space to write has been such a wonderful outlet for me these past few years. I just have a tremendous amount of gratitude and respect for this program! :)

Kateryna Karpoff

Major: Biomolecular Science

Stories Behind Syringes

I’m incredibly grateful for how the Minor in Writing has broadened my comfort with experimental writing. I no longer feel confined to a certain style, and I love hearing feedback about how others read my work. I’ve been lucky to meet so many brilliant writers who motivated me to push myself and put more of my heart into my pieces. I can't wait to keep writing as I begin my career in medicine. Thank you for all of the lessons and the friends along the way, MiW!

Hannah Kuriakose

Majors: International Studies; Environment

The Coach & The Amateur

Maddie Madden

Major: Communication and Media

The Sautéed Onion

The Minor in Writing has challenged my ideas of what it means to be a writer and opened me up to a level of creativity I didn't know existed - both for my classmates and for me. I have loved the community and the fun escape from traditional schoolwork Sweetland has offered.

Isabelle Mark

Major: Communication and Media

Gluten-free Iz

The Sweetland writing minor at Michigan was an incredible, accomplishing opportunity for me. I worked on developing the platform- Gluten-free Iz from a young age, then through my gate-way course, and completely updated this platform in this year's capstone class. This journey was very special. I explored a new identity, as an online book author and a poetry writer for kids. I learned how to navigate building a website, as well as potentially branding a company. I will most definitely use the tools I learned through this minor program for my future career path in public relations. This minor has enhanced my academic experience here at Michigan, and I am very grateful.

Leah Marks

Major: Materials Science and Engineering

Popped Culture

The Minor in Writing has added dimension to my college experience. Thank you to Jimmy, Ray, Simone, and my classmates for demonstrating what great writing looks like, and for helping me navigate (and somehow finish) some really exciting projects!

William Scott Mattox

Major: Economics
Minor: Sociology - Law, Justice, and Social Change

Cautiously Optimistic: The Prodigal Fan Returns

Caroline Miller

Major: Psychology

Charcuterie Cutie

Joining the Sweetland writing minor was one of the best decisions I made at my time at the University of Michigan. The program pushed me creatively, while improving my skills as a writer. I know it will be an incredibly unique asset in my future career and I am grateful to have had this opportunity. Thank you Sweetland!

Alex Pan

Majors: Business; Org Studies; Psychology
Minors: Music; Women/Gender Studies

On Screenwriting

Devon Presutti

Major: Economics

Dying a Copy

I am so grateful for my time in the Minor in Writing. Through both Gateway and Capstone, I have expanded my skillset, explored new genres, and stepped out of my comfort zone into exciting new territories. I will take the lessons I have learned, those both big and small, with me wherever I go. I have loved getting to share this journey with all of my peers and professors along the way - I am so thankful to each and every one of them for making this such an incredibly special experience.

Jenna Reid

Major: Communication & Media

Reigniting Personal Intuition

I absolutely loved my time in the Sweetland writing minor. I always looked forward to the classes and the collaborative structure of them allowed me to develop very special personal and profesional relationships with my classmates.

Morgan Rubino

Major: Communication & Media


Sweetland is a really special, pretty rare type of community that has made the huge, daunting University of Michigan feel a little more like home. From the minor to working in the writing center, Sweetland (and all of its faculty and staff!) have made such an impact on my life -- without it, I truly don't think I'd be the researcher, analytical thinker, and curious, confident writer that I am today. Sweetland and its courses have also been monumental in helping me choose a career path (to law school we go...eventually), as I really don't believe that I'd be prepared to take that next step without all of the skills that I've acquired here. And, it doesn't hurt that I've made some great friends along the way! Sweetland, thanks for it all, I'll miss you!

Amanda Rudolf

Major: Psychology

Senior Year in a Pandemic

My Minor in Writing was one of the most enriching parts of my education while at Michigan. Sweetland is a tight-knit community that I will always remember as an integral part of my experience here. I am so thankful that I decided to pursue this minor-- it offered me more than I ever would have expected.

Eleanor Scott

Major: Communications and Media

For the Love of the Game

Working at Sweetland and being in the Writing minor have been some of the most impactful and meaningful experiences of my college career! I wouldn't be where I am professionally and academically without them, and I also don't know what I would do without the friends I made along the way. They'll be some of the things I miss most about Michigan after graduating!

Nick Silk

Major: Public Policy

Crisis Mode

My time at Sweetland was filled with cool classes and interesting conversations. It helped improve my interdisciplinary writing and led me down a career path where I'll be able to use my writing to communicate to key policymakers, stakeholders, and other audiences. Thank you to everyone who helped me along the way!

Jessica Sommers

Major: Communications and media studies

The Rite Bite

One of the best decisions I have made at the University of Michigan was joining Sweetland and minoring in writing. I have enjoyed every class that I have taken as well as all of the professors and students that I have met along the way. Congratulations to all of the graduates and thank you Sweetland!

Omar Uddin

Major: Business Administration

The Universe Smiles Upon You

The Minor in Writing program was a great opportunity to see what other students were most passionate about and how that can be reflected in their writing endeavors.

Julia Van Goor

Major: Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology


Sweetland is one of the most vibrant, most welcoming, and most intellectually stimulating communities at the University of Michigan, and I'm so grateful that I got to be part of it. I initially chose the Minor in Writing because I thought it would help advance my future career. While it did this, it also taught me how to enjoy writing form myself rather than just as a means to an end. I learned how to be the type of storyteller that I've always admired. But, as corny as it sounds, by far the best takeaway from the Minor in Writing has been the many friends and creative minds that I met along the way.

Alexis Marie Vatterott

Major: Psychology


My passion for writing goes back as long as I can remember, but my journey with the minor in writing started with Sweetland Essay Consultations with Shelley in the basement of North Quad. Throughout my time working with Julie in gateway, 400, and capstone I was able to find my voice and practice vulnerability with every assignment. The minor changed my perception of what it means to be a researcher and a credible writer. I've always believed that words matter, but this minor showed me their true power. I hope to continue my journey as a write throughout my career in Social Work practicing vulnerability and authenticity with every word I write. Thank you to Shelley and Julie! This minor was invaluable to my college experience and I couldn't be more proud to call myself a minor in writing. <3

Sydney Wagner

Major: Communication & Media

The Meaning of Music

Sweetland has allowed me to grow as a writer in ways I never anticipated. It was through this program that I received the support I needed from the many wonderful professors on staff to gain confidence in myself as a writer, and have the opportunity to explore what I can only describe as the various passion projects I completed throughout my Sweetland journey. I am forever grateful for the work I did here and the people that helped me produce it along the way, especially T Hetzel. The conversations I've had with and the encouragement I received from T will continue to follow me wherever I go in life; they have greatly impacted and changed me as a writer. I cannot fully express my gratitude.

Kate Walsh

Major: Environment
Minor: Water and the Environment

The Book Wasn't Better

I am very grateful for the time I have gotten to spend as a writing minor with Sweetland and the faculty and fellow students I have met along the way. They have really helped me expand the way that I think about writing and opened my eyes to so many new genres and ways to expand on what I have always considered my writing to be. The people in this program are all so amazing and supportive, and the community that has been created in this space is one that I am very thankful to have gotten to be a part of. I can't wait to see what amazing things all of my fellow minors go on to do past their time here at UofM! I know I am better for having been a writing minor and getting to meet everyone in this program!

Catherine Wenzke

Major: Business Administration

Cook The World

The Minor in Writing was an amazing experience! I met so many great people, and I appreciated having the opportunity to explore passions of mine in the Gateway and Capstone. Attending the courses for my minor never felt like work; these classes gave me a break in my day to do something that I love. Thank you to the Sweetland staff and faculty, as well as everyone else who supported the minor throughout my time at Michigan!

Caitlyn Zawideh

Major: English
Minors: Computer Science; Digital Studies

Do you know who you are?

From gateway and capstone projects to Writer to Writer, Sweetland has shaped so much of my undergrad experience and academic path. I’m thankful for the creative community I found through the writing minor, the friends I’ve made, and the wonderful instructors who guided us along the way. I’m excited to take what I’ve learned with me out into the world, in my career, and as I continue to write.