University Administrative Fellowship Profile: Cate Mahoney at Princeton Writes
By Cate Mahoney
When I started at Princeton Writes back in September 2018, I was unaware where Dillon Court East even was, or what PW really did. I quickly found out: in back of Dillon Gym; a resource for the staff (as well as students, postdocs, and faculty). Princeton Writes helps Princeton folks present more articulate versions of themselves, and John Weeren and Stephanie Whetstone asked me to help them widen PW’s influence.
First of all, you get really lucky when you get to work with caring people. John and Stephanie know their stuff—their stuff being the written and spoken word—but they also are so kind.
My main task starting out was to help John and Stephanie design and create a symposium that would touch on all of the areas that Princeton Writes aims to tackle, specifically the generation of creative work and its eloquent execution. We spent many months brainstorming what form the symposium would take, who from Princeton’s amazing staff and faculty we could ask to present, and who from outside of Princeton’s walls we could invite. We poked around all areas of campus to see what space could hold our event, asking John’s many contacts what they recommended. And, in May of 2018, we had quite a successful inaugural symposium called Connect: Harnessing the Power of Words! (Read about it here!)
When not planning the symposium, I help John and Stephanie trying out new pilot programs—our most recent was the International Coffee Break, which brought together staff members who speak English as a second (and sometimes third and fourth!) language. I’m going to teach my own workshop in March 2020, on how poetry helps us be more concise writers in all areas.
I write for PW’s blog, contributing to book of the month posts and tools and insights entries. I’ve written about love letters, poetry, apostrophe, and even dissertation writing. It has been really fun to try my hand at blog writing, and to mediate on topics I love (note: this does not pertain so much to dissertation writing).
Working with John and Stephanie has taught me many lessons, but it has also opened up Princeton in a way I haven’t known as intimately before. The amazing staff here, from administrators to cooks, are constantly striving to create. “Writing Space,” the PW creative writing group, has been a boon to me as I try to finish my dissertation (goal: April 2020!). It’s a pleasure to get writing prompts, write madly and happily for five minutes, and share with a group of supportive people who just want to get their minds on paper.
I’m extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to be Princeton Write’s Fellow since 2018, and I know I will be friends with John and Stephanie until long after I graduate.