For the Future of Young Writers
Morgan Goad has a bachelor's degree from Hollins University and her master's from University of Colorado, Boulder, but the formative experience of her young adulthood took place on Grounds, at the Young Writers Workshop of the University of Virginia.
Poet Margot Figgins (Ed ’82, ’87) established the Young Writers Workshop in 1982 as the first residential program for young writers. Participants immerse themselves in one of six creative writing genres through workshops, labs, electives, staffs, readings, salons, and performances.
Goad attended the workshop on the recommendation of her high school journalism teacher. "It was one of the best things that ever happened to me," she said. "It was so exciting to be there with other writers who wanted to hear from me and read my poems." After high school, she returned for five summers as a counselor. "It was magical to be able to build that slice of the earth where students could come into themselves as writers," she said. "The Young Writers Workshop changed my life, and I saw it change hundreds of other kids' lives."
She carried what she learned from her experience as a counselor to graduate school. CU Boulder is one of the few creative writing programs where graduate students teach classes independently, not as teaching assistants. "Others in my cohort struggled: 'How do I do this? How do I write a syllabus? What's the lesson plan?' But I felt so prepared," Goad remembered. "I was able to bring the Education School's pedagogy to my classrooms—focusing on the student, empowering the student, and building something with them."
Goad considered a career as an academic but was discouraged by the odds of getting a tenured position. Her dad has a fruitful career working for nonprofit organizations, and Goad decided on a similar path. She is currently the Associate Director of Development at Jewish Family Services (JFS) Richmond. It was in this role that she learned about beneficiary designations as a way to provide future support to a charitable organization. Goad's benefits at JFS include a life insurance plan, and she realized she could support the program that meant so much to her through a beneficiary designation.
She communicated her wishes to Figgins, then completed the form required by her plan provider, designating a percentage of the benefit to a family member, and the rest to the Young Writers Workshop. "As a young person, I'm not super cash liquid. But a beneficiary designation is something I can do now, and something I intend to keep doing," she explained. "I would love to see the Young Writers Project live on forever, for hundreds and thousands of kids in the future."