Published: Dec. 16, 2014

Noah McDermott, CU Denver English BA program alumniNoah McDermott chose CU Denver because he grew up in the heart of the city and always loved city life. He never saw a campus sharing three institutions as a drawback; instead he embraced it as an opportunity. He describes the beautiful campus and the chance to meet so many different and unique people (students as well as professors) as the major draw for him. Besides location, Noah also chose CU Denver because it had a Theatre, Film, and Television program (in the College of Arts and Media) that he wanted to pursue initially.

But as is the case with so many students, Noah's interests evolved and changed over the course of his studies and he switched to a Creative Writing Major. He graduated with a BA in English in the spring of 2014, and is now dedicating himself to pursuing his passion for writing, as well as volunteering and introducing the passion to others. Noah loved his time at the university, embraced the breadth and depth of what he was able to learn in his time, and says he made a good decision choosing CU Denver.

In his own words, Noah describes his experiences here:

CU Denver: What was your major and why was it of interest to you?

McDermott: I studied Creative Writing with an emphasis in Fiction. I initially went to CU Denver to study Film, Theatre, and Television, and it was during those years I realized I loved storytelling the most. I was not as enamored with the other aspects of film, but I really liked writing stories, for both film and theatre. I eventually changed my major in order to focus on writing solely, but still took film, theatre, and television courses in order to get a minor with the College of Arts and Media, while graduating with a Creative Writing Degree from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I am mainly interested in storytelling because I like works that deal with the human condition and that is what I want to write about and do write about in my own stories: the human condition.

CU Denver: What are your goals for the future?

McDermott: My ultimate goal is to be an author. I want to write stories and novels that deal with the human condition, whether they are dramas, romances, science fiction, fantasy, or surreal; I want all of my works to deal with the human condition and help readers relate in one way or another to my pieces. I want to be a published author. I can say that I successfully completed a novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this past November, 2014, which was very hard and challenging (to write 50,000 words in one month), but I did it, which was very rewarding, and I now have a piece I can continue to work on and shape and mold. I also volunteer and help students in elementary, middle school, and high school with their creative writing right now, which motivates me to continue writing.

CU Denver: What scholarship did you receive, and how did those funds help you to achieve your goals?

McDermott: I received The Michael S. Gorniak Memorial Scholarship, a scholarship specifically given to Creative Writing Majors. It really helped me financially, but besides that, it was an extra reminder to me that I am a writer and an artist. I sometimes doubt my work and wonder whether I am any good at writing stories or not, and The Michael S. Gorniak Scholarship is given to students who show their compassion and commitment to writing. I know that I am a good writer and I have to thank my parents and educators, all the way from my elementary teachers to my college professors, for their dedication to help me better my writing. I know I have a lot more to learn and have much more to do in order to better my craft, but I would not be where I am today if it were not for my parent's support all my life, my educators, and The Michael S. Gorniak Scholarship, which helped me financially but also made me strive for greater things.

CU Denver: What does philanthropy or giving back mean to you?

McDermott: Giving back means a lot to me. I had a luncheon with Michael Gorniak's (whom the scholarship is named after) grandparents halfway through the spring 2014 semester. The fact that they give this money to the school, so that a committee in the creative writing department can choose students who need help financially (and I will personally add, help motivationally), is an amazing gift to me. They were such lovely people and told me how every year they love meeting the winners of their grandson's scholarship to learn of their passions and dreams. I have received a lot in my life and am very grateful and fortunate for it. And it has also been the things I have received like kind words, emotional support, mental support, and love from so many people that have pushed me forward in life and made me want to be a writer, a writer who relates to the human condition, and hopefully someday, a writer who relates to a lot of people who read my works.

As I mentioned above I have recently started volunteering and helping young creative writers with their own work. I truly believe that giving back or giving your time, attention, and help to others is a powerful thing. I like to think I am helping these young writers grow and I know in return I feel good helping people and showing them that I care and that they are important.