University of Minnesota
center for writing

Center for Writing alumni—Molly Gage

read another alum's response

11 Questions for Center for Writing Alums

  • Your name: Molly Gage
  • Your email: molly@modernwriting
  • When did you work with us? 2009-2012
  • What was your role? writing consultant
  • What education and/or occupation(s) have you pursued since working with us? After graduating with my PhD in English, I joined forces with fellow English PhD and Center for Writing alum Jessica Knight to found Modern Writing Services. Jessica and I wanted to take the consultative skills we learned at the Center for Writing and expand them to meet the needs of a broad base of writers.

Reflections on your center experience:

  • Did your work with us influence your educational or occupational choices? If so, how? My career path was absolutely influenced by my work at the Center for Writing. Before I began working at the Center as a writing consultant, I pursued a professorial track and girded my loins for a potentially unfulfilling career as an academic. Once I began working at the Center, however, I realized that I wanted to turn that work—the dynamic work of coaching, aiding, and teaching writers to effectively communicate their ideas—into my career. It is not an exaggeration to say that my current career was wholly forged out of the Center for Writing's (gentle, regenerative) fires.
  • What are the most significant abilities, values, or skills that you developed in your work with us? At the Center for Writing, I developed a now-lifelong commitment to fostering within myself the ability to listen. My commitment to this ability began at the Center when I learned that I could best serve the writers with whom I worked by listening to them talk...and not just about their frustrations, annoyances, and even anger with the writing process, but also about their abilities to persist, to adapt, and to triumph with and in their writing. Listening to these smart, motivated writers ensured a dynamic consultative relationship that often resulted—I think and hope (!)—in solid, and sometimes glorious, writing. And this was certainly not a one-way street: listening to writers at the Center and developing dynamic relationships with them enabled me to listen to myself and to understand my own writing process. My Center work constantly inspired my PhD work, and it still inspires and informs my work as a writer and editor at Modern Writing Services.
  • In your personal and professional life today, how do you find yourself using what you learned from working with us? I use what I learned at the Center for Writing every single day, both in my role as a writer and editor at Modern Writing Services and in my role as a citizen. At MWS, I work to listen to my writers, to glean their needs from their stories, and to meet those needs in empowering ways. I also strive to create the kind of work environment that the Center for Writing created for me. I would be totally remiss in my responses to these questions if I did not point out that Katie, Debra, and Kirsten foster an incredible work environment at the Center: it was and remains supportive and enthusiastically collaborative to the core. If I am able to achieve even a shadow of that environment in my own professional life, I will consider myself a raging success.
  • Anything else you want to tell us and your fellow Center alums? I just want to reiterate what should be obvious from my points above: the Center for Writing does incomparable work. While it certainly serves the University of Minnesota's diverse, exceptional writers—often giving them a safe educative home where they can flex their academic muscles—it also serves its exceptional writing consultants, too.
  • Provide a link to your personal or professional website (if you’d like to).