Each summer, cadet writing fellows travel to Washington, DC, to engage in a residential study of the vital roles that writing and its teaching play in universities, varied professional workplaces, public policy, and the lives of veterans.
During their two-week experience, cadets research cutting-edge ideas about writing and teaching in seminars with faculty from elite peer institutions, such as Johns Hopkins, the Naval Academy, and Georgetown. They also meet to discuss writing in a range of contexts with national journalists; with Smithsonian Museum and Folger Shakespeare Library curators; with congressional representatives and aides; with former CIA analysts and with speechwriters in the White House and Pentagon, among others.
The Writing Fellows Program connects cadets and faculty with distinguished writers from a variety of fields and life experiences. For example, Ta-Nehisi Coates recently met with cadets and leaders in the Writing Fellows Program to discuss key writing challenges as well as his own work on race, masculinity, art, family, and education.
Prior to this discussion, participating cadets and faculty grappled over a series of seminars with the implications of Coates's writing for future Army officers. In the process of reflecting on "the Dream," just as Coates does in Between the World and Me, they developed a booklet of their own thinking to present to Mr. Coates. A recording of the discussion is available on the WPWP's YouTube channel.
Cadet Writing Fellows grow as writers and communicators through sustained mentorships with West Point faculty, Writing Program leadership, and writing professionals connected to the Academy. These mentorships take many forms, but all attest to the vitality of West Point's writing communities and their investment in developing promising communicators.