Carnegie Mellon University
February 10, 2011

Katie Dickson Wins Gladys Schmitt Memorial Scholarship

Katie Dickson is the recipient of the Gladys Schmitt Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship is given annually to a talented creative writing student who contributes to the program in and out of the classroom. The department created the scholarship in memory of Gladys Schmitt, founder of Carnegie Mellon's creative writing program, who made a great impact on the lives of her students and the Pittsburgh writing community.

Students are nominated for the scholarship by faculty, and Professor Terrance Hayes is among the English faculty who thinks highly of Katie. "Katie was one of the strongest students in my Poetry Readings course last fall. She demonstrated the important role critical writing and thinking plays in one's development as a creative writer. Her essays and response papers were consistently personal, astute, and eloquent," Hayes says.

Katie, a junior creative writing major with a minor in chemistry, is particularly interested in writing fiction and explains, "I've wanted to be a writer for about as long as I can remember; I was brought up to enjoy reading, which then naturally progressed into making up my own stories."

Upon arriving at CMU, Katie was pleasantly surprised to encounter a strong sense of community within the creative writing program.

She comments, "The faculty are extremely accessible, and are always willing to tailor the work in a course to exactly what the individual students need, and the community of students is very close-knit. I think a lot of that has to do with the small classes and the Glad (the Creative Writing Center), but whatever it is, it has made me feel very comfortable in the department since I came here."

"Winning this scholarship means a lot to me. It came as a complete surprise, but it's a huge honor to be recognized by the people I write with every day," Katie says.

The award was presented by Erin Tocknell, an alumnus of CMU's creative writing program and a creative non-fiction writer, who read some of her own work at the event on February 9.