North Central College - Naperville, IL

Naperville student represents North Central at Chicago poetry festival

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Contact: Ted Slowik, Director of PR and Media Relations, 630-637-5307,

March 15, 2010—A student taking full advantage of North Central College’s interdisciplinary approach to liberal arts education will read his poetry at a festival along with students from Chicago’s top academic institutions.

Weien Wang of Naperville will represent North Central College at the 11th annual Citywide Undergraduate Poetry Festival April 1 at Columbia College Chicago.

The event is the Midwest’s only intercollegiate poetry festival. One student from each of the participating colleges and universities is invited to read his or her work at the festival. Participating schools are Columbia College Chicago, Chicago State University, DePaul University, Loyola University, Northeastern Illinois University, Northwestern University, North Central College, Roosevelt University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, University of Chicago and University of Illinois-Chicago.

The 11 students who read are chosen by their teachers based on the excellence of their work.

“Weien is a remarkably gifted student and a stellar individual,” said Zachary Jack, associate professor of English, who nominated Wang to represent North Central. Wang is a student in Jack's creative writing course.

Wang is a junior majoring in biology. He says he plans to read about five minutes worth of new, original work at the festival and incorporate mirrors as a theme.

“Well, looking at yourself is a little scary, don't you think?” he says. “Our physics class also did a segment on reflection/refraction, and science tends to sneak into my writing.”

Wang began writing poetry when he was at a music camp and about 12 years old. He cites Robert Frost and Dylan Thomas as influences. While at North Central, Wang received a Richter Grant to study abroad and conduct undergraduate research, presented at the College’s 2009 Rall Symposium for Undergraduate Research and is among 32 North Central students who will present at the 24th National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) April 15-17 at the University of Montana in Missoula, Mont. He is a College Scholar, North Central's honors program for top students.

“I've been fortunate enough to be in some music ensembles, (help lead) a couple student organizations, study abroad and present a little research,” Wang says. “Last summer, I went to China to conduct a project funded by the Richter Grant program, and then worked with first-year students in the fall. It's been robust.”

The poetry festival is free and open to the public. The festival begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 1 on the first floor of Columbia College Chicago’s Ferguson Hall, 600 S. Michigan Ave. Call 312-369-8819 for more information.