Campus Weekly is a weekly email newsletter that includes items specifically of interest to faculty and staff, many of which are posted on UNCG News. Susan Kirby-Smith and Matt Bryant are the editors, succeeding Mike Harris who has passed the baton since taking on his new role as director of Advancement Editorial Services. Read the bios and interviews below to learn about your current Campus Weekly editors:
Susan Kirby-Smith’s career at UNCG began in 1978, when she served the campus as a Baby in the Child Care Education Program. She returned as a camper in the All Arts and Sciences Camp, and again as a graduate student in English, completing an MA in Renaissance literature before her interests went south. No, literally. And literarily. She earned an MFA in creative writing from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where she taught writing and literature for several years and assisted in acquisitions/editorial for The Southern Review and LSU Press. She has been a writer for University Communications for four years, writing for UNCG’s news site as well as for UNCG Research and UNCG Magazine.
Recipe for Matt Bryant: Mix one part North Carolina, two parts California, one part Minnesota, and one part Texas with a dash of Louisiana and Florida, set to side. In a separate bowl, thoroughly blend writing, fine art, engineering, non-profits, aviation, woodworking, and administration. Now sauté all ingredients with a love for nature, an appetite for creative nonfiction, a greening thumb, an increasing array of home remodeling skills, a soft spot for animal rescue, and a knack for restoring old motorcycles. Let cool and top with music, dusty sunsets and starry skies, an obsession with weather, and a boundless curiosity. Serve with a side of healthy self-deprecation, humbleness, and an increasing utterance of the phrase, “Now where did I put my glasses…”
What do you value about working at UNCG in this role?
Susan: One of the great things is interacting with researchers in a huge variety of disciplines. From the labs in Sullivan or Eberhart to Taylor Theatre and the galleries of the Weatherspoon, it’s gratifying to learn about projects and produce articles that show how they support positive impacts across the state, nation, and worldwide.
Matt: It’s a unique role in that you get to interact with so many different people on campus, learning about each of them – what their roles are and how they all interconnect. This job gives you a big picture view of campus life, but also reveals wonderful glimpses into the magic that individuals bring to campus and in all that they do.
What’s something you’ve learned since becoming a writer at UNCG?
Susan: Photography is very important, and can influence readership tremendously. Our brilliant photographers have shown me what is possible. (And sometimes impossible. )
Matt: In addition to becoming a better writer, I’ve become a better reader and listener. I’ve also learned how to produce podcasts. Editing sound is a nice complement and contrast to editing words.
What are your favorite types of stories?
Susan: It’s a transformative experience to work on stories where I can take a look inside what’s going on – backstage, in the lab, in the field – and then share that with interested readers. Writing about Pollinator research and research at the UNCG Wetlands has been enlightening and fun. I also like to tell stories of young artists thriving and students embarking on research careers.
Matt: The kind of story where, as you interview someone, you witness their spark – the passion that emerges when they start gesturing or leaning into their screen to explain something or showing you things and places they are most excited about as they reveal their deep commitment to their life’s work. That’s when the story gets real and moves me.
Something other Spartans may not know about you?
Susan: My favorite exercise is an adventure in form and in forms of water: walking or rollerblading by a river or stream, kayaking, synchronized swimming, and ice skating.
Matt: I have a background in art, and I’ve always loved images and sound as much as words. I’ve got my own podcast on sustainability at https://www.ponderingskies.org/. I also tend to be handy, for example building my own porch swing and doing a complete remodel of our kitchen.
Here’s how to get your item in Campus Weekly: The deadline for submissions that could appear in the following week’s Campus Weekly is Thursday at 5 p.m., six days before the official release date. Submissions will be edited for consistency in style, tone, and length. When submitting or providing a story idea, please provide links to pages where the information is already posted or where the reader can find additional details, such as on department or unit websites. To directly reach the Campus Weekly staff, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications