Coe students studying in a gathering space

Internships & Research

Internships and Civic Engagement Projects

At Coe, you will have the opportunity to put what you have learned into practice by completing an internship or civic engagement project. Because Coe is located in a growing city with a wide range of businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies, there are plenty of local opportunities for you to explore. 

In recent years, English and creative writing majors have held internships at the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library, University of Iowa Press and Iowa Summer Writing Festival. If you participate in Coe's New York Term, you will have the opportunity to complete internships as part of the off-campus study experience. Recent students have interned at various literary agencies and at the New York Public Library. 

You also can extend what you have learned beyond the classroom by volunteering as a tutor in Cedar Rapids schools or at the Catherine McAuley Center, a nonprofit organization that provides educational services to recent immigrants and refugees.

Undergraduate Research

Do you have a burning question you'd like to pursue? If so, you may want to tackle a research project such as a directed-study course or an honors thesis. Every year, Coe English majors develop original research projects and present their work at Coe's Student Research Symposium or at regional and national conferences. 

In recent years, students have presented their original research at conferences across Iowa as well as in Salt Lake City, New York City and Philadelphia. You also have the opportunity to work as a research assistant, which can give you on-the-ground experience working closely with a faculty member and learning what it means to do advanced research in literary studies. Talk to an English Department faculty member to find out more about all of these opportunities.

Readings and Talks

At Coe, you will have the opportunity to meet a wide variety of novelists, scholars, poets and playwrights. The English Department sponsors a variety of readings and talks each year by visiting writers and scholars. 

In the past three years, we have welcomed writers such as Idra Novey, Sawako Nakayasu, Claudia Rankine, Linh Dinh and Karen Thompson Walker to campus. In addition, each year a distinguished poet comes to Coe as part of the Paul Engle Poetry Reading Series. In recent years, those poets have included Eileen Myles, Nathaniel Mackey, Pimone Triplett, Ann Struthers, Bob Hicok and Major Jackson. Our Facebook page has up-to-date information about this year's reading series.

Student Publications and Extra-curricular Opportunities

At Coe, you can contribute to the literary life of the college by working on the Coe Review, the English Department's student-run literary magazine, or by contributing to another student publication such as the Cosmos, Colere or The Pearl

You also can work as a consultant for the Writing Center or Speaking Center, join the Alpha Nu Literary Society or take part in the Winter Read, which brings together students, faculty and staff to read and discuss a work of literature. (Our first two Winter Read events focused on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's award-winning novel Americanah and on Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir Fun Home.)

Off-Campus Study

The flexibility of the English and creative writing majors makes it easy for you to study off campus, either for a semester or a May Term. For example, you can go on Coe’s New York Term and study the arts while completing an internship in the city, or you can spend a semester at the Newberry Library in Chicago and do archival research that results in an independent research project. 

If you'd like to study abroad, you can take advantage of one of Coe’s exchanges at universities across the globe in places such as Britain, Northern Ireland, Spain or Japan. If studying off campus for an entire semester isn't the right fit, you also can take part in a May Term course offered through the English Department. In recent years, English faculty have offered travel courses during May Term on the arts in Cornwall, England; Slavery, Civil War, and Civil Rights in the American South; and Jane Austen.