Central College News

New Synaptic Features Central College Student Creativity

Featured: New Synaptic Features Central College Student Creativity

May 8, 2023

Central College released the new “Synaptic,” a collection of creative student work from across the liberal arts curriculum from the 2022-23 academic year. Synaptic is a modern reboot of “The Writing Anthology” that seeks to build on the best parts of this earlier publication while considering the ways in which print, visual and audio media have changed across the first two decades of the 21st century.

“We seek to showcase outstanding student writing as well as multimedia and multimodal student work that doesn’t fit easily under the heading of ‘writing,’ such as audio, video and visual projects,” says Valerie Billing, assistant professor of English and co-faculty editor of the collection. “Synaptic will both showcase the creative work of our students and more accurately reflect all that Central’s liberal arts experience has to offer students.”

Synaptic was edited by Emma Carlson, Class of 2023, Mattie Francis, Class of 2023, and Sydney Lowe, Class of 2024. The editors were tasked with the review and selection of items in the publication. According to the editors’ introduction, Synaptic serves as testimony to the incredible and plentiful talents of Central students. As both editors and fellow students, they are proud to amplify Central students’ exceptional efforts.

Academic advisors were Billing, Mat Kelly, professor of art, and guest editor, Kate Nesbit, assistant professor of English.

“We are in a moment in which Central is changing and refining its identity as a liberal arts institution,” Kelly says. “The new core curriculum will allow us to articulate our liberal arts mission in new ways, and we see Synaptic as playing a role in this new identity. With its new focus on sound and image as well as the written word, Synaptic will be a publication for cutting-edge student work that truly cuts across the arts, humanities, social sciences and STEM disciplines.”

Each year, the John Allen Award recognizes a student-written piece that the selection panel deems to have superior rhetorical competence, high levels of readability, originality and insight. Fynn Wadsworth, Class of 2025, received this honor for his work “Robert Henri and the Ideal Woman: An Analysis of Ballet Girl in White.”

The “The Writing Anthology” now known as “Synaptic,” was founded in 1981 by Walter Cannon, professor emeritus of English. “Synaptic” is the 43rd annual assemblage of remarkable student work that covers a wide array of academic disciplines.

Central College of Pella, Iowa, is a private, four-year liberal arts college. Central is known for its academic rigor and leadership formation and for cultivating diversity of thought and culture through the arts and sciences, professional fields of study and experiential learning.