Tag Archives: Knight Writers

New Club Fair Format Seems Succcesful

Feedback will help shape future fairs

Story and photos

By Michael Lear-Olimpi

Knightly News Co-Adviser and Editor

What was old was new – but not again, because this was a first – when the quarterly club fair was held in the evening, for two hours, on the first floor of ATEC, on July 12.


Athletic Director Dave Baker talks to students at the women’s soccer team table.

From 4 to 6 p.m., about 100 students, and faculty, staff and administrators dropped by the lobby in the first floor of ATEC (the Advanced Technology Education Center), between the Knight & Day Cafe and the Conference Center at Central Penn College, and in the conference center hallway, to get information on student clubs.

“We’ll see how it goes,” Activities Director Adrienne Thoman said of the late-afternoon/early-evening fair. “We’re trying this to offer more students the chance to attend, now that Common Hour isn’t Common Hour anymore.”

The club fair has usually been held from noon or so until about 1 p.m., but that is the same time Common Hour, an open presentation by a guest or Central Penn speaker, occurs. Many students, faculty and staff attend Common Hour. Faculty often offer their classes extra credit for attending Common Hour, making an assignment of writing a report or paper about the presentation.

“This way, I hope more continuing-ed(ucation) students can come, and students who can’t make it to the fairs held earlier in the day,” Thoman explained.

Strong showing


Craig Daube, accounting, tells homeland security major Jessie Porter about the Equal Club.

Sixteen clubs, and two organizations – the Pennsylvania State Employee Credit Union (PSECU) and the women’s soccer team – set tables up. Club representatives and advisers told fair-goers about what the clubs do, and solicited memberships. Sign-up sheets were on the tables, along with displays of what the clubs do.

PSECU, a longtime partner of Central Penn that supports student and other college functions, and maintains a year-round presence in ATEC to offer students and employees information on banking services, did that at the club fair.

Thoman also changed this term’s club-fair menu. Usually, pizza – though sometimes long sandwiches cut into portion-sized sections – chips or other snack food, and soda or water, have been available for free to students who fill a “passport,” a small sheet of paper, with signatures of club members or advisers when they visit a club booth.

When the passport was filled, students got food and drink, though no one at a fair ever was denied refreshment, even if a passport wasn’t filled with signatures or other proof a student had visited all club tables.

This year, Knight & Day Cafe workers exchanged a heaping helping of chicken wings, with as many french fries as students desired, or fish fillets (and wings), and a drink, for a ticket fairgoers got from Thoman after they surrendered their club-fair passports to her.

“They’re great,” a student said as she munched a huge spicy red sauce-slathered wing on her way out to the sunbaked patio.

High expectations


Daylin Davis, left, corporate communcation, gets information about the Central Penn Players from club President Morgan Littleford, corporate communication. Club Vice President Ashanti Conover, criminal justice administration, center, was waiting to fill Davis in with more club doings.

Members of the Central Penn Players drama club were perky about the fair.

“We’ve had a lot of people stop by,” club president and corporate communications major Morgan Littleford said. “Not many have signed up, but it’s only 5 o’clock.”

More students stopped by during the fair and some did sign up.


Knight Writers President Danielle Payton, legal studies and Vice President Mercedes Reddick at the Knight Writers table.

At the Knight Writers creative-writing club table, President Danielle Payton, legal studies, and Vice President Mercedes Reddick, business administration, were busy telling stoppers-by about the club.

“Fourteen people signed up, and seven came to the (club) meeting,”  adviser Prof. Maria Thiaw said.



The revived Hispanic American Student Association (HASA) table was decked out in the flag of Cuba and the flag of Puerto Rico (this link is the U.S. government portal to Puerto Rico’s page; to connect to the Puerto Rican government’s site, in Spanish – which Google will translate to English – click here).

“We’re just starting again,” HASA President Eliz Milanes, a criminal justice administration major, said. “People have shown interest. We are a club for all Latino students, but anyone can join.”

Milanes and club Vice President Amor Duran, communication, was also at the table.


HASA President Eliz Milanes at the club’s table.

A college-family affair

Faculty, besides club advisers, also came to the fair, as did academic administrators.

Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Dr. Linda Fedrizzi-Williams made the rounds.

“I’m stopping at all the tables,” Fedrizzi-Williams said at the Knightly News Media Club table. “I’m an honorary member (of the media club).”

Fedrizzi-Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in communication and a master’s degree in organizational communication, and has taught communication.

Athletics Director Dave Baker was on hand, as was Dr. Melissa Wehler, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, and others.

Thoman distributed an email survey to club attendees and advisers for input on the new club time and location. Results are pending.

Information about Central Penn clubs and activities is available here.

Prof. Lear-Olimpi is co-adviser of the Knightly News Media Club.

To comment on this story or to suggest a story, contact TheKnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.edu.

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Knightly Newscast for September

by Norman Geary

News Correspondant

In our final newscast of the summer semester, Paul Miller, co-adviser of the Central Penn Knightly News, will have feature writer Norm Geary discussing “Getting beyond the average to find your excellence.”

In addition to this topic Miller and Geary will discuss the following.

LinkedIn: The Time is Now  workshop hosted by Professor Paul Miller on September 6, 2016 in Milano Room 13, from 4 p.m.-5 p.m.

Knight Writers Poetry Slam – Wednesday, Sept. 7 from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. in the Capital Blue Cross Theatre.  Admission is free.

In conclusion, Education: The Cost of College Books, a continuing follow-up on the topic of open source materials in the fight to keep textbook costs low for the students.

The Knightly News Media Club wants to extend its many thanks to the Central Penn College community for their support.

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Maria Thiaw’s Message to Student Writers: Get Published.

The Central Pen e-zine is a good place to start

 By Norman Geary

Media Club Reporter

 Maria Thiaw, professor of writing and humanities, is used to honing the written word.

With Thiaw’s background in poetry and in writing for literary journals, and her long tenure at Central Penn, publishing “The Central Pen” – the college’s literary e-zine – was a perfect match.

“The Central Pen” was “The Midsummer Knight’s Dream” when Thiaw started teaching at Central Penn in 2004.

In 2007, Thiaw was handed the reigns.  The magazine was widely distributed among students and faculty, staff and their families, and in the community.  But magazine projects stopped when a funding problem arose.

 New times

In 2012, Melissa Wehler, Ph.D., came on board to assist with many projects. With the addition of Wehler, the online version of “The Central Pen,” less expensive to produce on the Web, came to fruition.  That’s when the publication became an e-zine – an electronic magazine.

Wehler’s experience, which included a strong background in blogging, added to Thiaw’s background in writing for literary journals, meant new life for “The Central Pen.”  This endeavor continued for a couple of years, and included students in many projects.

Eventually, student involvement began to dwindle. During this time, Wehler acquired another position at Central Penn, so Thiaw and professor Thomas Davis, who teaches writing, continued editing the e-zine.


Thiaw and Davis developed creative ways to enhance student involvement that included covering school activities and publishing their work. Thiaw and Davis knew when students publish their work, it would look good to future employers.  It also showcased students’ writing abilities and kept the community informed on college news.

“This is also a great way for students to further their careers,” Thiaw said.

“The Central Pen” is promoted primarily by social media. This project is coming out of the School of Humanities and Sciences.  When something new is published, it is shared through emails with people on a subscribers’ list who tend to sign up through club fairs.  It also goes out through Facebook and Twitter.  The Knight Writers Creative Writing Club has a Pinterest page and a Facebook page that promote the e-zine.

Through these channels, the word gets out.  If students are shy about writing, Thiaw offers this advice, “I would encourage them (to consider) all the benefits of getting published, and … we have really good editors.  We really are not going to publish something that is not ready.”

Want to get published?

To be published, according to Thiaw, it is important to receive direction and constructive criticism, and Thiaw and Davis are adept at helping students improve their writing.  Students have to be reminded that not all submitted work will be published.

“As a writer, you are always sending things out and, more often than not, you are going to get rejected,” Thiaw said.  “But keep in mind that the best organizations will tell you that your writing is not what we are particularly looking for, but try this organization.  Or, if you make these two corrections, then your submission will be ready to be published.”

With this in mind, Thiaw said she will help someone polish his or her work.

Professor Maria Thiaw is proud to mentor the students as they learn more about creative writing. Photo by Tyler Willis

Professor Maria Thiaw is proud to mentor students as they learn more about creative writing. Photo by Tyler Willis

Plenty of help available

There are numerous resources on the Central Penn Summerdale Campus to assist students with their writing.  Some of these include the writing center, the Smarthinking online tutoring service and the library.

“No one leaving Central Penn should lack in any way when it comes to writing skills,” said Thiaw.

Besides the e-zine, Thiaw is involved with curriculum review and teaching classes.  She is also the advisor and the founder of the creative writing club on campus called The Knight Writers.  The club meets Wednesdays 3:30 p.m. in the Leadership Room of the library.  There is also a yearly poetry slam where students can win money for their performances.  In addition, there is a Central Penn poetry contest in April.

Because April is National Poetry Month, the winner of the contest can win the top prize of $100 and a year’s membership to The Academy of American Poets.  That person can also be entered to win the academy’s big prize of $1,000, and be published nationally.

Other pursuits

Thiaw is also on the Diversity Committee, and is involved in Word Wednesday and TED Talk Tuesdays, and various functions on campus that promote diversity. She is active in the arts and poetry community (in which she is known as Maria James-Thiaw), and is a member – and sometimes featured performer – of The Almost Uptown Poetry Cartel performance poetry group, which meets Thursdays at 7 p.m., at The Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg.  Thiaw is a longtime member of the Cartel, and serves on the board of Nathaniel Gadsden’s Writers Wordshop.  The Wordshop meets Fridays at 7 p.m., also at The Midtown Scholar.

Thiaw has been widely published, including in an anthology through the Writer’s Wordshop, and went last year to Paris for a week-long workshop sponsored through the Virginia Center of the Creative Arts.  She recently attended the conference of the Associated Writers & Writing Programs, in Los Angeles, where she met many Pulitzer Prize winning authors.  She is doing research on a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program that she is starting on the Central Penn College campus.

With Thiaw’s experience, all students who aspire to be good writers should take full advantage of the writing opportunities she and others at Central Penn offer.

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