Mill Valley grad Elizabeth Joseph earns Howard Nemerov writing scholarship at Washington University

Elizabeth Joseph. Photo submitted

Lenexa native Elizabeth Joseph, a 2019 graduate of Mill Valley High, has recently received a Howard Nemerov Writing Scholarship from Washington University in St. Louis.

Joseph is one of seven Nemerov Scholars selected this year and a freshman at Washington.

The Nemerov Scholarship is awarded to incoming freshmen in the College of Arts & Sciences who “demonstrate exceptional writing talent,” according to the university. The scholarship award is for $3,000 and is renewable for four years.’

The scholarship is named after the late Howard Nemerov, a prize-winning poet who taught at the university from 1969 until his death in 1991. Nemerov was a professor of English and distinguished poet in residence at Washington and is known for his poetry, short stories and other literary works.

Plus, Nemerov received numerous literary awards and prizes, including the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for “The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov” and the National Medal for the Arts in Poetry.

During her time at Washington University, Joseph is participating in a series of educational experiences tailored to writers like herself.

“I’ve done a lot more creative writing than I would have otherwise just by virtue of being in the seminar and doing those writing exercises,” Joseph said. “It’s a nice community because all of the upperclassmen are really friendly and approachable and very much wanting to get to know us. It’s nice having that kind of support built in.”

As part of the program, she’s enrolled in a weekly writing seminar, during which she has the opportunity to meet visiting writers, attend off-campus readings and workshops and earn a minor in writing or a concentration in creative writing.

“It’s a very chill program, which is really nice because writing is a very vulnerable task, in my opinion. And so it very much creates a safe space for you to share your work.”

Joseph is considering pairing a minor in writing with a three-part degree in psychology, neuroscience and philosophy. Being early in her college career, she’s not quite settled on career aspirations, but she’s considering incorporating writing into her work, possibly in public policy. She’s also interested in writing books someday.