Recent graduate Rye Hazlett’s time in the Murphy Scholars Program was spent diving into a range of writing-centered projects. As an English with an emphasis in Creative Writing major and Business minor, Hazlett used her Murphy Scholar projects as an opportunity to explore book publishing, radio, and television.
Hazlett’s first Murphy Scholar project was an internship with Et Alia Press in Little Rock, Arkansas. The small press publishes nonfiction and children’s books with a focus on local histories, health and wellness, and emerging artists.
“My main goal with this internship was to learn more about being an editor and what it takes to enter the publishing field,” Hazlett said. “My first assignment at Et Alia Press was to read From Cotton to Silk: The Magic of Black Hair by Crystal C. Mercer. Spending time with this manuscript deepened my interest in editorial work and gave me confidence in my ability to keep moving forward.”
Having her creative efforts and input valued at Et Alia Press, encouraged Hazlett to dive deeper into her own writing projects. In a project led by previous Murphy Fellow in Theatre Andy Vaught, Hazlett and a group of students wrote two episodes for Theatre of Air, a radio series that explored the progressive history of Arkansas through interviews, music, and historical reenactments.
One episode explored the rich history of Monte Ne, a health resort and ambitious planned community in the Ozark Mountains that failed before being submerged during Beaver Lake’s creation in 1964. “It was fun coming together as a group and discussing our research” Hazlett said. “We also wrote about the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, often pronounced SNIK,) which was such a rewarding project to be part of.”
After her radio script writing experience, Hazlett turned to television for her third Murphy Scholar project. Fellow Hendrix student Ryan Torres ’24 and his brother Sean Torres—a film student at NYU—asked Hazlett if she’d collaborate with them on their hopeful television series Keep Portland Weird, an anthology of strange events and urban legends about Portland, Oregon.
“This project taught me that writing thoughtfully requires giving yourself time,” Hazlett said. “When the ideas weren’t immediately coming to me, I’d take some time away from my screen and would return once I had fresh eyes. It’s sometimes difficult to give yourself a break, but it’s necessary to develop the quality of work that you desire.”
“My Murphy Scholar projects were a great introduction to writing and editing career paths, and they were all something I truly enjoyed,” Hazlett said. “I’m grateful that the Murphy Foundation gave me the opportunity to pursue this sort of work. I aspire to continue it professionally.”
Be on the lookout for more Murphy Scholar profiles this summer. Visit our website to learn more about the Murphy Scholars Program.
Photo provided by Rye Hazlett