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  • NYS Writers Institute

Discovering Your Voice: A Creative Writing Workshop for High School Students

Summer writing workshops for young people who love to write and

who enjoy collaborating with other writers

Looking for a summer writing workshop for your teenager? Here you go...

The NYS Writers Institute is proud to cosponsor the "Discovering Your Voice" creative writing workshop for 10-12th graders, to take place 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. July 10-14, 2023 at the University at Albany campus.

This workshop is intended for highly motivated and creative high school students who are eager to develop their craft and to find their voice in a supportive writing community.

Note: The Capital District Writing Project also offers three half-day (9 a.m. to noon) themed workshops for students in grades 1-4, 5-7, and 7-9. More information.)

Capital District Writing Project Young Writers Workshop: Discovering Your Voice

For rising 10th-12th graders

July 10-14, 2023

9 a.m. through 4 p.m.

University at Albany Uptown Campus, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany NY 12222

Cost: $550

Please note that payment is not due at the time you submit your application. If you are accepted into the workshop, the payment fee would be due prior to the start of the workshop.

Scholarships may be available. To apply, visit:

If you have any questions, please email Nancy Czachor at If you have questions about the payment process, please contact Olivia Pounds at

"Discovering Your Voice" workshop description

On each day of the workshop, professional authors affiliated with the NYS Writers Institute will visit with students, give readings, and engage in craft discussions. Facilitators from the Capital District Writing Project will lead carefully designed writing exercises and provide prompts to help young writers find their voice and go on a journey of creative discovery. After a week of writing and individualized feedback, young writers will share their writing in a culminating celebratory showcase.

This workshop is for highly motivated and creative high school students who are eager to develop their craft and to find their voice in a supportive writing community.

Young Writers Workshops highlights

• July 10-14, 2023, 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. • For rising 10th-12th graders • Creative writing across multiple genres • Visits and readings from acclaimed guest authors • Small class size • One-on-one writing conferences • Expert guidance from exemplary writing teachers • Lunch provided • Culminating celebratory showcase • Publication opportunities

Discovering Your Voice: Facilitators

For the last fifteen years, Chelsea Dyer has taught English and writing at Columbia High School in East Greenbush. Currently, she teaches tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade, as well as a Creative Writing elective. As an English major at the University at Albany, she began exploring the many ways she could inspire her students to understand and appreciate the connections between literature, writing, and individual life experiences. While exploring the power of memoir style writing in her own writing practice, she discovered the importance and value of encouraging students to tell their own meaningful stories with beautifully crafted language.

Emily Hass currently teaches 9th, 10th, and 11th grade English at Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School. She holds a degree in English and theatre from Bucknell University and has a deeply rooted passion for theatre and film and is always looking for creative ways to weave elements of both into the classroom to promote student engagement. She believes in the power of the written word to transform, ignite, and empower and loves using visuals in the classroom to inspire students to discover their voices and share their stories through writing. Emily enjoys exploring different genres in and out of the classroom, but particularly loves poetry and nonfiction.

Shannon Spollen currently teaches English 10 Honors, College Composition, Literature & Writing, Creative Writing, & Public Speaking at Clayton A. Bouton High School in Voorheesville. Being dual-certified in ENL (English as a New Language), she has spent time in various classrooms spanning grade levels and deeply understands that the written word often serves as its own language. Her personal experiences with narrative writing, as well as the integration of writing as a social-emotional outlet into her curriculum, affords her the opportunity to assist students in their own exploration of poetry, prose, and varying other genres. She believes that every student, from every background and at every level, has a story to tell.

Discovering Your Voice: Featured writers/guest authors:

Janine De Tillio Cammarata is the award-winning author of seven books ranging from middle grade to young adult and non-fiction. She is currently writing a memoir. Janine teaches journal and memoir writing as well as creative writing to teens and adults.

Kate Sheeran Swed has trekked along the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu, hiked on the Mýrdalsjökull glacier in Iceland, and climbed the ruins of Masada to watch the sunrise over the Dead Sea. She is the author of several science fiction and fantasy books, including the League of Independent Operatives superhero series; the Toccata System trilogy; and Bypass the Stars, a stand-alone YA science fiction novel. Her short stories have appeared in publications such as the Young Explorer's Adventure Guide, Fireside Fiction, and Electric Spec.

Kate currently lives in the Capital Region with her husband and two kids. She holds an MFA in Fiction from Pacific University.

D. Colin is a poet, performer, visual artist, and educator living in Troy, NY. She is the author of two poetry collections, Dreaming in Kreyol and Said the Swing to the Hoop. Beyond poetry, D. Colin has navigated the stage as an actor performing in productions with Black Theater Troupe of Upstate NY and Creative Action Unlimited. Her one woman show “Simone” appeared at Capital Rep Theater and she has spent years performing reenactments most often as Sojourner Truth.

As an emerging artist, she has shown art at the Underground Railroad Education Center, Albany Center Gallery, and the Arts Center of the Capital Region. She is also a Cave Canem, VONA, and New York State Writers Institute fellow.

Kathryn Walat is a playwright and associate professor in the University at Albany’s Theatre Program, where she teaches courses that include Playwriting, Script Analysis, and Great Drama on Film and Video. Her play Creation, developed at The O’Neill, premiered at the Theatre @ Boston Court and was nominated for a LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award for Playwriting. Her Victoria Martin: Math Team Queen premiered Off-Broadway at WP and was published in New Playwrights: The Best Plays of 2007. Other plays include Bleeding Kansas, See Bat Fly, Ancient Gods of the Backwoods, Johnny Hong Kong , and On the Road.

She holds an MFA in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama, and a BA in English and American Literature, with honors in Creative Writing, from Brown University.

Sponsored by the Capital District Writing Project, UAlbany School of Education, and the NYS Writers Institute.


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