Undergraduate Capstone 2021


We are thrilled to present the Capstone Projects of Four Emerging Writers. Join us in recognizing the achievements of our Spring 2021 undergraduate writers!

Madalyn Brown, M. Ottenbreit, Claire Schallhorn and Louie Watkins, have all been studying with Professor Rob Halpern during the Winter 2021 Semester. Their work in Creative Writing, represented in Virtual Celebration by readings and media pieces, can be viewed on our Instagram Channel, with the IGTV platform. You don’t need an IG account to enjoy these pieces.

Thank you for joining Creative Writing @ EMU in congratulating our graduates!

Madalyn Brown is a fourth year student at Eastern Michigan University, double majoring in creative writing and media studies and journalism. For her Capstone Project, she has written a series of personal essays titled “Non-Local Consciousness of Near-Death Experiences,” which is written in prose and list form.

Madalyn writes:

Madalyn Brown in a recent photo. Follow this link to enjoy Brown’s Reading.

“The personal essays follow my journey around mental and physical illnesses I live with every day and how having repeated colon infections and COVID-19 this year have changed how I think and feel about specific aspects about my life and life in general. The piece I’ll be reading is titled “The Form of Un-,” which is a transformative piece starting with self-harm until reaching social transformation and healing. “

M Ottenbreit shares their project “Eggs,” and this anecdote:

“When I was in fourth grade, for career day, I wore my dad’s tweed jacket with a name tag that said “author” in big letters. Almost a decade later, I am close to a degree in 2D Design and Creative Writing. I can confidently say I am an artist and a writer who is mentally ill and queer. My recent writing has been directed towards autobiographical poetry and prose on subjects of life as a queer person in America, not just the pain of it but the joy of it as well. Eggs explores themes of body dysmorphia, trans love, loss, and the modern coming out.”

They can be found on social media on twitter and Instagram with these handles.
Twitter: @mirlinbluee; Instagram: @mirlinblue. Below, M’s artwork represents their project, “Eggs.”

Enjoy M’s piece here.

Claire Schallhorn‘s project “Vukovich Verisimilitude” explores and questions the nature of heritage and the effects it has on family dynamics. Of her Capstone piece, Claire writes:

“To do this, I use a mixture of both prose and verse poetry. Poetry, for me, has become a space to safely question and explore my confusion on the notion of heritage. Prose on the other hand, has become a place for me to ground my thoughts and reflect. Many of my prose pieces look back on how my process and research this semester impacted my writings as well as myself. I also wanted to include in my presentation images of where I grew up alongside my pieces dealing with family relationships to further explore what heritage means to me.”

Claire Schallhorn in a recent photo.

Enjoy Claire’s Capstone Project Here.

Louie Watkins has always found himself to have a peculiar relationship with the objects that surround him, and has decided to explore and examine this relationship through his capstone project, simply titled Objects. Utilizing both prose and poetry, Louie pokes at the knicknacks, memorabilia, tools, and all else that occupies his space, discovering the ways in which they affect him, and how he affects them in turn. 

Outside of the Capstone project, Louie will be graduating this spring with a major in Creative Writing and a minor in Entertainment Design & Technology, will continue writing, and will continue to collect.

This still life depicts some of Louie Watkin’s Collections.

Enjoy his Capstone video here.

Presenting Joel Miller

Title of Capstone: Anxious and Autistic

Joel Miller reads two sections, which he hasn’t shared with his class yet, from his Capstone Project, Anxious and Autistic. In his own words: “I’m a creative writing major, with a film minor, and as you can guess, I’m on the spectrum. After college, I want to start writing a young adult series.”

Please join us in Congratulating Joel!

Presenting Tatiaira Herndon

Title of Capstone: The Blacker the Berry the Deeper Her Blues

Tatiaira Herndon is currently completing her final credit at Eastern Michigan, and will graduate with a major in creative writing and a minor in communications. In her own words: “For my Capstone Project, The Blacker the Berry the Deeper Her Blues, I have created a series of structureless poetry that addresses the issues surrounding and experiences of the black woman. It is a rather personal piece, however, I plan to further develop my work after graduating and incorporate the voices of other black women. I plan to eventually have this piece published in hard copy and electronically. My post-graduation plans mostly consist of getting my voice out there and pursuing a career that pertains to my major.”

Experience Tatiaira’s piece The Blacker the Berry the Deeper Her Blues Here:
Part One and Part Two

Presenting Marie Williamson

 I am performing my poem called “Tenebrism” from my Capstone Project titled “Artemisia.” My Capstone Project is ekphrastic poetry inspired by the famous Judith paintings of the Italian Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi. 

Marie is a Creative Writing major with a double minor in Art History and Literature. Ekphrasis has allowed her to combine two passions: Italian Renaissance and Baroque art with poetry.

“I like my poetry to experiment and respond to the feelings one has when seeing these artworks. I have had the privilege to travel to Italy for two study abroad trips, and I was able to see many of the artworks that inspire me to write. In the fall, I will be continuing my Creative Writing education at Eastern as a graduate student in the Creative Writing MA program. I will also be a graduate assistant in the Department of English Language and Literature.”

Listen to Marie’s Capstone here: “Tenebrism: Part One and Part Two.”

Please join us in congratulating Marie!

Presenting Ronea Bailey

Title of Capstone: Sinking In Deeply.

“My capstone project, Sinking In Deeply, is a work of a memoir with a hint of fiction exploring the journey of my writing as a black woman and my struggles with identity. I am a Creative Writing major with a minor in Psychology. My plan after I graduate is to develop a writing program for young kids to be able to express themselves. My goal for my writing is for young African American kids to have characters who they are able to identify with.”

Listen to Ronea’s Capstone Project, Sinking In Deeply.

Join us in congratulating Ronea!

Presenting Shayla Harris

The title of Shayla’s Capstone is Mirror of Freedom

“This capstone project is a collection of poems, sound poems, and performances about the journey of finding freedom by looking at myself in the mirror. “

Shayla Harris is double majoring in Creative Writing and Arts and Entertainment Management. She is an African American woman and Christian who uses poetry to reflect on identity, and she plans to continue writing and travel the world performing after graduation, as well as go full course into artist management. 

Experience Shayla’s Capstone Project, Mirror of Freedom, Part One and Part Two.

Please join us in congratulating Shayla!

Presenting Sierra Brocklehurst


Sierra’s Capstone Project is entitled: Too Many Projects and Not Enough Time: A Writer’s Story.

This is a hybrid work of narrative, prose, and poetry addressing the nature of writing from a fictional university student’s point of view. Sierra is a third-year student majoring in Creative Writing and minoring in Electronic Media and Film Studies Sierra Brocklehurst,  aims to pursue a career as a writer for Cartoon Network Studios.

Please join us in congratulating Sierra.

Undergraduate Capstone Showcase will be April 21st


This year’s Capstone Showcase will be presented virtually. Writers will be featured on the blog and on the BathHouse Events Facebook page. The event will be “going live” on April 21st, with each writer sharing a selection from his/her/their work.

We look forward to sharing the outstanding creative work our graduating writers with you.

Capstone Poster