I guess we’re doing something right because just a few weeks after launching as an independent organization, we heard from recent PWA member, Carlos Gieseken, a web writer and editor for the Texas Department of Transportation.
Carlos said he wanted to get his creative juices flowing again after four years of churning out inter-office reports on traffic and highway conditions. He expressed interest in participating in any kind of volunteer position PWA needed filled.
Well, with just about 20 unique members — not counting those of you who had been with us when we were just your run of the mill Meetup.com group — we knew we needed someone with character and enthusiam to find Austin writers we were not reaching through the social website popularized by married couples looking for salsa lessons and singles looking for pick-up Scrabble games.
Carlos has been with us for a few weeks and already our ranks have swelled to 50 members.
Here’s a short introduction to PWA’s membership coordinator:
Where are you from?
Binghamton, NY (about 180 miles northwest of Manhattan), also known as “the other New York.”
Where did you go to school and what did you study?
I went to Syracuse University for undergrad and Boston University for graduate school. I studied English and textual studies and journalism.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Sophomore year of college when I took a writing class that I loved. The next year I switched my major from architecture.
Why did you decide to go to graduate school?
I wanted to learn to be a good journalist. And I was really shy and figured that would be a good way to get over my fear of talking to strangers.
What did you do prior to working for the DOT?
I was a reporter at the Stevens Point Journal in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
Have you ever hit a huge roadblock in your career and what did you do to overcome it?
During the recession of the early 2000′s I was stuck working for an insurance company for two years after grad school. I just kept sending out resumés to newspapers hoping I would get lucky. Eventually I did.
What brought you to Austin?
The weather. And I’d heard it was a really cool city.
Do you plan to stay?
I sure do. Four years now and counting.
What are your plans as the Membership Coordinator for PWA?
I hope to get the word out about this great organization. Once writers hear about it and see how much PWA can benefit them, I don’t think they’ll hesitate to join.
Did we tell you to say that?
Nope. (And you didn’t tell me to say that, either.)
Riki Markowitz founded PWA in January 2011 and launched it as an independent organization in September 2011. While a city girl at heart, Riki lives in rural Austin with PWA’s official mascot, Marcel Proust– a black toy poodle. Riki is also proud to have designed her own online portfolio without help.
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