Internship Interview: Rebecca Arrowsmith

Rebecca Arrowsmith,

Headshot of Rebecca Arrowsmith smiling into the camera

The Madeline Oliveri Writing Program at Palm Harbor Library

The Madeline Oliveri Writing Program is an initiative by the Palm Harbor Library to commemorate the late-Madeline Oliveri’s love of writing and self-enrichment. Madeline was one of the first women working in the New York Stock Exchange, as well as a television commentator and newspaper editor in New York for many years. After retirement, she filled various volunteer roles at the library, becoming a community staple there. I would recommend the Madeline Oliveri Internship to MFA students interested in shaping and leading 1-2 creative writing workshops for the Palm Harbor community during a fall or spring semester. As an intern of the writing program, I brought ideas to the library around future expansion of the program and planned actionable items to put those ideas in motion. I also led a workshop-style creative nonfiction class. For the class, I set expectations with workshop participants, structured the workshop, read and provided thorough written feedback balancing praise with critique, and guided participants to constructively read and critique the works-in-progress of others. At the conclusion of the workshop(s), I assisted the library staff in organizing and hosting a “Reading in the Garden” event. The internship helped me practice and adapt my skills in writing pedagogy for an informal learning environment. By leading organic conversations around craft, I learned how important it is to communicate to developing writers that no idea is ever “wrong,” and that creativity carries a wide spectrum of thought and possibility.