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Butler Bridge Program

Butler Bridge Program

We are pleased to offer the Butler Bridge Program to students in grades 3–12. The program draws on Butler's remarkable resources to build a bridge between Butler and its community, as well as between students who aspire to higher education and college mentors who are eager to share what they know.

Our Vision: Butler Bridge programs combine learning, laughter, and compassion to inspire young writers and readers. The programs connect bright, young people with talented mentors and like-minded peers to nurture intellectual and artistic discovery. 

This learning-rich community rejects a narrow version of education, in which, too often, assessment structures learning. We reach for a goal that is harder to define: enhancing creativity, developing the imagination, finding our own voices. We help our students and campers be so engaged with the joys of the literary arts that they don’t even notice how much they are learning.

If you have any additional questions about the Butler Bridge Program or its programs, please email the Bridge Program Director, Elisabeth Speckman, at

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For accessibility information or to request disability-related accommodations, please visit

NEW Opportunity: Spring/Summer 2020

We are accepting submissions for a new publication opportunity on our blog. 

We'd like to invite all Indiana students in grades 3-12 to submit original writing (written about or during) the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Please include name, grade, and city on each submission and put "Pandemic Project" as the email subject. Send submissions to

Visit to view The Pandemic Project postings. 


Writing Club

Meeting on once a month on Saturdays, our writing club is housed at the Efroymson Center for Creative Writing. Each Saturday session includes Poetry, Fiction, and/or Creative Nonfiction lessons. Students meet with peers and a graduate student mentor who leads the workshop, engaging the students in thoughtful discussion about writing. Note: This is not class! Workshops will offer a fun, energetic environment for growing creative writers. Writing Club sessions will be split into three age divisions: elementary, middle, and high school.

All sessions run from 1:00-3:00 PM and meet at the Efroymson Center for Creative Writing (530 W Hampton Dr):

Cost: $15 per session. Open grades 3–12. 


Fall 2020 dates (as well as updates on workshop proceedings, safety, etc.) will be announced in early August. Please check back for more information!

Writer's Workshops

The Bridge program offers single-session workshops that engage students on a specific writing skill, genre, or topic. 

Please check back in early August for our workshop offerings, as well as information on how workshops will be held for the 2020 academic year. 

In-School Workshops

Interested in having Bridge come to your school? Contact us today about bringing our program to you! Email 

Booth Tarkington Prize for Young Writers

2020 Prize Submission Information

Submission Deadline is August 31st. 

Open to grades 3-12

Prizes offered in Poetry and Prose for each division. 

Students may submit in the following categories:

Poetry (up to 3 poems)

Fiction (up to 5 pages, double-spaced)

Students should submit via email to

Please use the email subject line "Tarkington Prize" and be sure to include your name, grade level, and contact information on your submission. Submissions should be attached in .doc, .docx, or .pdf form. 

Winners will be announced in September. 


Past winners and runners-up may be found on our blog site, with links to the published winning works:


Meet the Staff:

Writing Club Mentors

All mentors are outstanding graduate students in Butler's Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program.

Malachi Carter, Lead High School mentor. 
Dominique Weldon, Lead Middle School mentor.  
Kaleigh Respecki, Lead Elementary mentor. 
Andy Lesh, Floating mentor. 

Bridge Director

Elisabeth Speckman received her MFA in Fiction from Butler University, where she also serves as an adjunct instructor, teaching courses in first-year studies, academic writing, screenwriting, and media literacy. As an actor and director, she has been involved in theatrical productions throughout the Indianapolis area. Her work appears in Midwestern Gothic, CHEAP POP, Pidgeonholes, Flash Fiction Magazine, and Stage It! 2: 30 Ten Minute Plays. Her plays have been produced in Tampa, Vancouver, New York City, and Los Angeles, as well as in the IndyFringe Festival and the IWC Short Play Festival. She recently adapted and sold her short play Brothers on a Hotel Bed to an independent LA filmmaker. 

Writer's Workshop Teachers

Workshop teachers are all professional writers: either Butler writing professors, Graduate Students in Butler's MFA program in creative writing, or publishing authors from the Indianapolis community.

Reminder: All Bridge events are held at the Efroymson Center for Creative Writing, located at 530 W. Hampton Drive, unless otherwise noted.