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From Childhood Hobby to Lifelong Career, Olivia Cameron ‘24 (Creative Writing, Professional Writing) Turns Reading, Writing into Profession

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Leading up to Spring Commencement, we’re asking some of our graduates to tell us about their experience as Greyhounds and what they have planned for the next step in their journey. Meet Olivia Cameron, who will receive her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Professional Writing this May!

Why did you pursue creative and professional writing?

I’ve always loved reading and writing. When I was a child, I would make up my own stories and turn them into little books. Creative writing seemed like the best choice for me. I chose to double major with professional writing because I believed it would provide more career opportunities, and I’m thankful that I did because I found a passion in that field as well with grant writing.

Why did you choose to study at UIndy?

I initially came to UIndy to major in communication with a concentration in journalism. The biggest driving factor for me was the opportunity to work on publications like The Reflector and Etchings Literary Magazine. Even though I ended up changing my major, I was still able to remain at The Reflector and hold multiple positions over the last four years.

Are you a part of any extracurriculars (RSOs, societies, student leadership, teams, volunteerism, etc.) on or off campus? If so, what are they and what is your role?

Yes, I am the Online Editor for The Reflector! 

Have you received any honors or awards (from UIndy or from outside organizations)? If so, please tell us about them!

I have received the runner-up for the Dorlis Gott Armentrout Prize (Etchings Press), First Place Ferlini Nonfiction Essay Prize (English dept. awards), First Place Literary Essay Prize (UIndy English Dept. awards), and the SPJ Best in Journalism Award for Student Editorial Writing.

Are there any faculty or staff members who have significantly impacted your time at UIndy? If so, who are they and how did they influence you?

Rebecca McKanna has been a source of advice and inspiration for me. She has pushed me to become a better writer and editor. I admire her as an educator, writer, and person. 

Jeanne Criswell is an important part of The Reflector team who is retiring after this year. Without her, the paper wouldn’t be what it is today. She believes in her students and trusts them. I’m very thankful to have had many years with her before her retirement.

Liz Whiteacre is an extremely kind and encouraging person. She has sent many opportunities my way and is always a willing reference. Her enthusiasm for poetry and knowledge of the craft has greatly influenced my work.

How have UIndy’s resources helped you to succeed and pursue new opportunities?

The English Department faculty has been my best resource. My professors have always been supportive of my writing both inside and outside the classroom, sending opportunities my way and being enthusiastic references.

During your time at UIndy, did you have the opportunity to complete an internship or earn part-/full-time employment with an organization in your field? If so, what was it and how did it help you professionally?

I interned as a grant writer at The Children’s Museum in the summer of 2023. I got to write parts of grant proposals to large foundations for funding museum exhibits. Working with the team there gave me a passion for grant writing and making a difference in my community. It was an extremely fun and positive environment where I learned what I value in a job: enthusiasm, direction, and creativity. 

What are your plans after graduation?

I’m hoping to find a job here in Indianapolis and continue working on my creative writing. In a few years, I’d like to attend an MFA program.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at UIndy? 

I’m really going to miss production Fridays on the newspaper, even though I’ve definitely complained about them. While the work can be tiring, I really enjoy spending that time with the other staff members. 

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Be open to trying new things and taking classes you usually wouldn’t. Use your spring term to learn about something outside of your major. You’re paying for an education, take advantage of the opportunities that come with it.