Youth Writing Conference

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Join us for next year's conference on May 10, 2019. Registration will open in March.


The Center for Writing in College, Career, and Community (CWCCC)  and the Ozarks Writing Project (OWP) invites students in grades 5-8 to the Missouri State University campus to the tenth annual middle school writing conference. Students will participate in four interactive writing workshops.

Students will attend four workshops plus an opening session in Plaster Student Union (PSU) with a welcome by MSU President Clif Smart. This session, 8:50–9:15 AM, is open to the public.


Friday, May 10, 2019
8:45 AM – 2:30 PM


The day will begin with check-in and an opening session in the PSU Theater. Workshop sessions will be held in Strong Hall, a beautiful four-story building located just off Holland Avenue. It will comfortably hold all our classes, giving attendees the ability to mingle in one central location.

Information for Teachers & Parents

  • All workshops and lunch will be in Strong Hall. It is Finals Day--no classes are scheduled--so few students will be on campus.

  • Follow your district’s policy regarding the required number of teacher chaperones. You will not have to accompany your students all day long--there will be plenty of supervision; teachers generally check-in with their students at lunch time.

  • You are encouraged to participate in sessions. Session materials will be available online following the conference.

  • Wi-fi will be available to teachers.

  • On or before May 7, you will receive student schedules, parking and drop-off information, and all necessary information to have a productive day.

Like the Ozarks Writing Project on FACEBOOK for updates on presenters and sessions. #OWP_YourStory

Can I come without my teacher? Although we encourage you to attend with your teacher and classmates, it is possible for you to attend alone.  Just indicate that you will be attending on your own on the registration form, and give us a parent/guardian email address so that information can be sent directly to you. You will get detailed information about parking and check-in on or before May 7.  We have lots of volunteers to assist you. It's also Study Day on campus and no classes will be in session; it's a quiet day at MSU. 

Parking, Drop-off and Pick-up

The day begins in Plaster Student Union (PSU). Check-in will take place at the entrance of the PSU theater, on the second floor of PSU, from 8:15 to 8:45. The theater is in the southwest corner of PSU. (People arriving from Bear Blvd enter the building on the second floor; people arriving from the Carrington shuttle stop enter the first floor and take the stairs to the second floor.) 

Parking  by car or van on campus: If you paid online for a parking permit, you will receive a printable permit and a campus map by email. Place the permit on your dash and park in any yellow lot. Lot 22 on the south side of Grand is recommended. You will take the underpass and walk directly north to PSU. You may also park in Bear Park South (38) and take the red shuttle. The red shuttle takes you to Carrington just south of PSU. Parking in this location is very close to Strong Hall where dismissal takes place. 

Parent drop-off and pick-up: Enter the campus on Bear Blvd (East Monroe) off of National. Take the first left on Florence and park in metered parking or wait and watch your student walk to PSU which is located at the bear statue. A volunteer will be waiting at the entrance to watch for and greet students. Pick-up your student at 2:30 from the circle drive west of Strong Hall. Please be aware that the Springfield public school opposite Strong Hall is dismissing students at the same time so traffic may be congested. 

Bus drop-off and parking: Buses do not need permits. Buses will enter campus on Bear Blvd (East Monroe) and drop-off students at the second left (MSU busway, one block past the Florence St stop sign). Volunteers will be waiting at the drop-off point. Buses proceed to Lots 39, 44, 51, or 52 for parking. Lot 39 has been enlarged to accomodate a large number of buses. Buses can move to Parking Lot 20 on Holland St after 2 p.m. (buses parking there before 2:00 will be ticketed) to pick up students at the 2:30 p.m. dismissal time. 

 An interactive parking map:!q=parking 

Photo Likeness Release

Attendance at this conference grants Missouri State University (including, without limitation, the Center for Writing in College, Career, and Community, College of Arts and Letters, and Ozarks Writing Project) permission to use photos and written work from the conference in promotional features and fundraising for the Writing Project. Contact Katie Stinnett at to opt out of appearing in photos or sharing student work.  
For parents: As parent/ legal guardian of a participant at the writing conference, I irrevocably consent to and authorize the use by Missouri State University, its officers and employees, ("University") of the his or her image, voice and/or likeness as follows: The University shall have the right to photograph, publish, re-publish, adapt, exhibit, perform, reproduce, edit, modify, make derivative works, distribute, display or otherwise use or reuse the participant's image, voice and/or likeness in connection with any product or service in all markets, media or technology now known or hereafter developed in University's products or services, as long as there is no intent to use the image, voice and/or likeness in a disparaging manner. University may exercise any of these rights itself or through any successors, transferees, licensees, distributors or other parties, commercial or nonprofit. The participant acknowledges receipt of good and valuable consideration in exchange for this Release, which may simply be the opportunity to represent the University in its promotional and advertising materials as described above.

Campus Map Thumbnail

Select thumbnail to view campus map.


If you are planning on staying in Springfield overnight, there are a few nearby hotel options listed below. 

Hotel Vandivort

University Plaza Hotel 

Holiday Inn Express & Suites 


For more information about the event, contact Colleen Appel at
For questions about payment, contact Katie Stinnett at or 417-836-4174.


Student registration is $45. Teachers who bring four or more students attend for free. Lunch is included in the registration fee. Students will also receive a notebook, pen, and souvenir bag.

Review the descriptions in the sessions tab before opening the registration form. The list in the form is abbreviated to include titles only. A paper form is provided for your convenience; it can be used to prepare for registering online.

Student Registration    Teacher Registration   Paper Form

After you register, please visit the payment tab to pay online. All students who pay online use the INDIVIDUAL payment option.


For more information about the event, contact Colleen Appel at
For questions about payment, contact Katie Stinnett at or 417-836-4174.


There are two ways to handle payment:

One, students register online and give teachers their payments. Teachers collect all payments and then pay by credit card, eCheck, or purchase order, using the payment button below. Submit the number of students plus the teacher's name. It will not be necessary to list the names of all the students. Teachers paying by PO will receive an invoice from Katie Stinnett ( within three business days. This is our preferred method of payment.

Two, students may complete the registration and payment process entirely by themselves, using the buttons below. Students will be asked for the name of a supervising teacher. This will be the teacher who receives student schedules and event information; it is generally the teacher chaperone. Students who attend independently--without a school chaperone--will be asked to provide an email address where information may be sent. Students can pay with a credit card or eCheck

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR STUDENTS: All students who are paying online must use the individual payment option. The classroom option is only for teachers.

Parking passes for teachers and parents who are attending all day are available below for $3. A pass will be emailed the week of the event. A pass is not needed for parents who just drop off students. Buses park for free.

Registration and Parking Pass Payment   


For more information about the event, contact Colleen Appel at
For questions about payment, contact Katie Stinnett at or 417-836-4174.


Our presenters need your help! Sign on to assist in providing 600 enthusiastic and motivated middle schoolers an amazing writing experience.

Volunteers are needed to do the following: 

  • Greet students with a smile.
  • Help students with activities.
  • Connect with students who do not have partners.
  • Give students encouraging feedback.
  • Escort students to restrooms.
  • Support presenters.
  • Assist with set up and clean up. 

Sign-Up to Volunteer via GivePulse

Sessions for our 2019 conference are being developed. To get a taste of what you might see, check out the sessions from last year!


Students will attend one session in each category.


  • Fantasy / Fairy Tales. Fairy tales aren't just for kids anymore, and not every story has a perfectly happy ending. (Jeddie Bristow and Tori Loslo) 

  • Flash fiction. A "flash" of a story in 100 words or less. Learn how to tell a story in as few words as possible; every word and detail matters. (Amanda Hadlock, Kiah Mott, and Shane Page) 

  • Choose Your Own Adventure. Captured? No, Wait! Killed? No, Wait! Finds love? What path will your character take? Reshape plotline events and character decisions to create a story. (Casey Daugherty) 

  • Casting Call. Create story-worthy characters you can relate to. Why does Harry Potter wear glasses? Why is Indiana Jones afraid of snakes? (Julie Thomas) 


  • Sports Stories. Write about momentous events in professional sports or your own sporting career. (Sofie Kondro) 

  • Science and Story. Write with a scientist who loves to write. Observe the natural world and write your impressions in paragraph, poem, or song. (David Cornelison) 

  • Travel and Adventure. There are so many ways to get away on your dream trip! Using examples from real life, Kristy and Amy will guide you through writing ways to adventure away! (Kristy Berger and Amy Sampson) 

  • Memoir. Fashion your memories into an engaging story. (Kellsey Bradley) 


  • Who Done It?  You decide and make the case. Who committed the crime? A lesson in argument writing (Laurie Buffington) 

  • Writing marathon. Set yourself free to write in several campus locations under the supervision of an experienced marathon leader. (Betsy McQueen) 

  • Rise Up! Be the change you want to be in the world. (Char Berquist and Keri Franklin)  

  • Write about Reading. Are you a big fan of reading? Learn how to write memorable book reviews to post on a blog or book review website. (Cherri Jones) 


  • Poem Sketching. For poetry-shy writers. Anyone can write a good poem with the write bait. (Annette Tankersley) 

  • Poetry Out Loud. Write poems meant to be read. A performance poet is your instructor. (Alexis Creamer) 

  • Blackout Poetry. For writers who like to blend art with their poems. (April Smith) 

  • Borrowed Poems. Have you ever found a poem you loved so much you wished you were the author? Borrow a well-known poet's structure and create your own masterpiece. (Kelly Neal and Angelic Case) 

HAVE LUNCH WITH AN AUTHOR: Students have the option of having lunch with Cecily Cornelius-White, author of the young adult Angel Academy series. She will help students think about publishing.