‘The power of writing poetry and expressing emotions is so immeasurable’

Senior fell in love with English department, creative writing during her college career



Noelle Niemeier currently works for the Brelsford WSU Visitor Center and LandEscapes.

Grey Kamasz, Evergreen reporter

From studying abroad in Ireland to becoming editor-in-chief of a literary journal, Noelle Niemeier is determined to prove creative writing is just as important as careers in STEM.

“For many writers, our writing is our self-therapy,” Niemeier said. “… When I was in high school, I was dealing with grief due to one of my best friends passing away. The power of writing poetry and expressing emotions is so immeasurable.”

Niemeier, senior English major on the creative writing track, first fell in love with writing and creativity in preschool and wanted to work in writing since she was a little kid. She began journaling song lyrics and channeling her emotions through poetry during high school. Today, she continues to hone her craft.

Niemeier will graduate from WSU this fall with the President’s Award for Leadership.

“I fell in love with the English department here at WSU. [The faculty and staff] are all amazing and I think of them all as like my fairy godmothers. Every single one of them is so passionate, and I am happy I went down that path,” she said.

Niemeier said she chose WSU because she wanted the small-town experience. She also heard about the creative writing program and felt she could express her creativity there. 

“I chose English and creative writing to hone those skills and, in a way, prove to any disbelievers that … anything artistic or creative is important and part of a well-rounded education,” she said.

Niemeier is a part of the Honors College, where her courses were challenging but fun. She said her favorite class was any creative writing course with scholarly assistant professor Cameron McGill.

“[His classes] changed my perspective on everything, especially as a freshman coming into WSU,” she said. “I took Honors 280 [Poetry & Lyrics] with him and Intro to Creative Writing. All the materials used, like the textbooks, the peer interaction — everything in that class was so valuable and I still think about it almost every day.”

Colin Criss, assistant professor of English, first met Niemeier when he substituted for a poetry class she was taking, he said. 

“Noelle is one of the strongest students in English that I have ever had,” Criss said. “Primarily because of her commitment to humanity and language as both a part of humanity and a tool for the creation of the development of humanity.”

Alisa Volz, a senior multimedia journalism major, met her through a musical comedy play that Niemeier directed last year. They became friends after production and have been close since.

“She is so kind, compassionate and helpful,” Volz said. “Without hesitation, she has gone above and beyond to help me, and I appreciate her so much. At her core, she [is] such a kind, genuine person.”

Niemeier, along with other students and faculty in the Poetry and the Universal Landscape course, studied summer 2022 abroad in Ireland. The group started in Dublin before touring other cities in Ireland, she said. 

She said she met different Irish poets and read some of their poems. Getting to experience those moments with the Irish poets was very special to her.

“My favorite moments were the quiet moments of enjoying nature,” Niemeier said. “There is this one area called The Burren that is this flat area of limestone rock, and it looks like the edge of the world. It was so beautiful, I wrote a poem about it.”

Niemeier has been working at LandEscapes, WSU’s literary arts journal her entire time at WSU, and it has been the most valuable experience for her, she said. She joined her freshman year as a poetry editor, then became the managing editor for two years and ended up as the editor-in-chief.

She said her favorite memory is the LandEscapes release party at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art last year. Presenting the journal and publication surrounded by art was a highlight for her.

Niemeier also works at the Brelsford WSU Visitor Center, a front door to the campus and Pullman. Niemeier applied to the Visitor’s Center because she was interested in a job that would help her learn about WSU and it seemed like an excellent job for a freshman, she said.

At the Visitor’s Center, Niemeier loves seeing the new students decide what school they will attend. She said it is reminiscent of her experience learning what it is like to be a Coug, and the job also allows Niemeier to express her creativity.

“It has been helpful to learn there are jobs that allow for personal creativity,” she said. “That is something missing from a lot of employment options — the idea of allowing people to be creative and authentic.”

Another one of her favorite memories at WSU was presenting her honors thesis, she said.

“It was a struggle working and writing it, and then I finally got to my presentation a couple of weeks ago and passed with excellence,” she said. “I am proud of it, and I get to read my poem at the Honors College graduation ceremony. It all turned out to be poignant and every experience was special.”

Leaving WSU, Niemeier said she encourages students to pursue creativity, even if society discourages them.

“As young people, we have many influences in our ears constantly telling us what we need to do and focus on,” Niemeier said. “Following your happiness and finding love in the sense of friends and family, [while] staying connected to your passions is going to be more important than anything anyone tells you.”