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      Undergraduate Night

      Students in the Spotlight at State Street Reading Series

      Carlie Sisco, English and creative writing, '19

      Undergraduate Night

      Senior Jennifer Rohrbach, an English and creative writing double major, reads an excerpt from her novella at Undergraduate Night for the State Street Reading Series.

      Senior Jennifer Rohrbach, an English and creative writing double major, has listened many times before to readings offered as part of the State Street Reading Series.

      But, on Thursday, Jan. 18, it was her moment to shine.

      Rohrbach, along with three creative writing students from Villanova University, Cabrini University and Swarthmore College, read original works of poetry and prose in front of peers, faculty, family, and community members at the second annual Undergraduate Night at the Media Arts Council Gallery.

      “It’s such a great opportunity, especially as an undergraduate writer, to read my own work in front of an audience and see their reactions,” Rohrbach said, after reading an excerpt from her most recent novella.

      The State Street Reading Series originated in 2014 with the intent of giving writers in the Philadelphia area a forum for sharing their work. Widener University and the Media Arts Council co-sponsor the series, which combines the forces of distinguished local writers and an environment filled with artwork from local artists.

      “The music scene in Media is very strong and attention is given to the visual arts, but we didn’t see much happening as far as literary events were concerned,” said Michael Cocchiarale, associate professor of English and co-founder of the series. “This series fills a void in the art scene while also raising the profile of Widener in the area.”

      Since it began, the series has featured several Widener faculty, including Cocchiarale, Professor  Kenneth Pobo, Senior Lecturer James Esch, and Senior Lecturer Jayne Thompson. Undergraduate Night started as a new addition to the season line-up in 2017 with eight student representatives from surrounding universities. The State Street Reading Series plans to continue the tradition to allow creative writing undergraduates the opportunity to share their work to the public.

      “It’s so important for creative writing students to get feedback on our writing both in and out of the classroom in order to grow and improve as writers. The State Street Reading Series offers a supportive, yet professional environment for us to do so,” Rohrbach said.

      The final reading of the season will be held on Thursday, March 15 from 7 – 9 p.m. at the Media Arts Council Gallery and will feature author Sam Gridley, as well as poet Jasmine Combs.


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