Student writer embraces scholarly life
by MaryAlice Bitts
April 6, 2010
Brett Shollenberger ’11 transferred to Dickinson his sophomore year. He says his fellow Dickinsonians validate his core beliefs and help him keep his long-term aspirations in view.
Brett Shollenberger ’11 began his academic career at a private college in Boston, but his plans changed when he visited a friend at Dickinson.
“I checked out an introductory ethics course,” he said. “What I saw at Dickinson blew me away. The students and professor were motivated. Everyone was doing the reading. The quality difference was immense. I just knew I would transfer here.”
So he came to Dickinson in the fall of his sophomore year. It was a good fit.
Shollenberger had attracted national attention before he’d left high school, when he and two friends co-won the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ National Student Television Award—also known as the Student Emmy—for writing and producing comedic spots for their school’s television station. He also worked with noted director and author Keith Johnstone performing comedy acts in Philadelphia venues and teaching acting techniques to fellow high-school students.
At Dickinson, he performs as part of the Run with It! comedy improv troupe. Shollenberger continues his writing as an English major, occasional Dickinsonian reporter and proud editor of The Square. He also enjoys penning short stories and screenplays and is completing a series of sitcoms he plans to film with friends.
He’s also pursuing nature and science writing, interests he developed after attending the United Nations climate-change conference in Copenhagen last semester. He is among a group of students who will present at a professional climate-change conference in April and says he’s working hard on that presentation.
“I’m working toward writing something that actually contributes to the scholarly community,” he says. “If you find something you love and you work on it—well, that’s why we’re here. Everyone has talents and can contribute to society. It’s disrespectful to fail to develop them.”
As he looks to his life beyond the limestone, Shollenberger sees a panoply of possibilities. “Chekkov was in medicine, and I think he was a better writer for it,” notes Shollenberger. “He said, ‘Why can’t I?’ and so do I.”
Read Shollenberger’s account of his Copenhagen experience in Dickinson Magazine.
View the video feature Shollenberger co-produced with Doni Hoffman ’ 10 about the climate-change conference in Copenhagen.