Welcome to our e-newsletter
 Minds in Motion
We have a whole new group of students. (And Minds in Motion has a whole new look and feel!) Read on to meet the Class of 2019, as well as our new writing instructor, Dr. Amy Nathan Wright. We'll also give details on this semester's 2nd Saturday events and share a special treat from current student Oona Gollihugh in the Final Word. Read on!
A Classroom Full of Spirit
As we head into the 7th week of class, 25 new Free Minds students have settled into the fall semester. They've mastered Shakespeare, having read Hamlet , acted portions of the play, and seen it performed on the UT campus. (Wish them luck as they write their first formal paper of the year , profiling a character from the play.) The group has several creative writing classes under their belts, in which they discovered each other as humans and tapped into their voices with complicated and rich stories.
For half of the students, this will be their first time ever in a college classroom. Several are coming into the program having just earned their GEDs, and a few others are still learning English as they tackle their homework. In the room, we have folks who hail from Syracuse, New York, Port Arthur, Mexico, Connecticut, Panama, Colombia, and even some born and bred Austinities.
All students, though, have at least one thing in common--a goal to break past old limits. Student Jadinson Sastre put it this way: "I want to try to outdo me."
Next up, they'll dig into art history, exploring how the Pre-Raphaelite painters found inspiration in Shakespeare's plays, and from there, they'll read Sandra Cisneros' The House on Mango Street . By Thanksgiving, they'll have jumped feet-first into Plato's Republic. This group's impassioned engagement so far shows they're more than up to the task.
New Writing Instructor Shares Writing Hang-Ups
This August Free Minds staff welcomed Dr. Amy Nathan Wright to the faculty as our analytic writing instructor. Amy has taught courses on Composition, the Black Freedom Struggle, and political comedy, among others at St. Edward's University and UT Austin for over a decade.
As a graduate student in American Studies at UT, Amy was watching the Eyes on the Prize series, a 14-part documentary about the Civil Rights Movement, when she stumbled on the 1968 Poor People's Campaign and wondered, "Why have I never heard of this?" Realizing how little scholarly attention this campaign had received, she made it the focus of her research. Her book, The Dream Deferred: Poverty, Race, and the 1968 Poor People's Campaign , is slated to come out this spring.
Despite these accomplishments, Amy speaks openly about her own writing anxiety. "I love reading and researching," she said, "but when it comes to drafting, it's like pulling teeth." She gets through the struggle by focusing on the communal aspects of writing and credits her mentor at UT, Dr. Janet M. Davis, for showing her how much conversation can happen on the page. Through probing questions, comments, and edits, Davis showed her that the writing process should be a back and forth. "You're not alone," Amy reflected, "Writing gets so much better when you get that push back. You recognize writing as an alive process instead of something that's dormant and one-directional."
When she's not teaching or writing, Amy hangs out with her husband and daughters, ages four and eight. Like many Free Minds students, she juggles family and work with reading and studying. "It's hectic," Amy said "I try to slip in things that I enjoy, and this class is a way to do that for me, to read things that I wouldn't necessarily ordinarily read." And she added, "I can't wait that my daughter is going to read Hamlet to me tonight when I get home."
Join us for 2nd Saturdays this Fall
2nd Saturdays are an excellent chance to connect with Free Minds for discussion and breakfast. Events are held in our M Station community space above the leasing office (2906 East MLK Jr. Blvd.), with bagels, coffee, and child care provided. All are welcome!   
Check out our detailed calendar here .
OCT. 13
10 am - noon

From Page to Stage
with Clayton Stromberger
NOV. 10
10 am - noon

Learning to Read as a Writer
with Michael Noll
DEC. 8
10 am - noon

Live Your Virtue: Aristotle on Pursuing Excellence
with Dr. Matthew Daude Laurents
The Final Word
Oona Gollihugh, Class of 2019, Envisions Her Ideal Future
I have to write this while playing "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman, the song that brings me back to childhood nights dancing barefoot on our hardwood living room floor... my dad lifting me up and tipping me over while my mom made tomato soup in the kitchen and laughed with us. I'm not even sure if that memory is real, or just a nostalgic longing for something that could have been, but it's there. Tomato soup and Tracy Chapman.
It was Aoife's favorite song as a baby, and even now I see her tapping her foot to it under the kitchen table. The song fills every corner of the room, along with a comfortable silence between us. Aoife has her art project of the week in front of her, something with messy watercolors. I have a well worn book open, dangerously near my hot mug of peppermint tea. Tucked in the novel's pages is a flyer for a deaf children's event I worked at several weeks ago. The seascape bookmark I usually use is lost somewhere in the return stack at the library we visit weekly. Oh well. Before we moved, I used to keep ocean landscapes all over my house: seashells in jars in the bathroom, a starfish mobile catching what little wind blew through outside... Now, I breathe in ocean air on my own back patio.
Aoife discards her project for the moment and moves to the living room, where she'll sit with her Star Wars blankets piled around her in a cocoon. Lost in her own world. One of the cats will usually join her and demand attention and praise for just existing. Sometimes I just sit and watch her, neglecting my journal or my books. I used to fantasize about having a library so immense I would need a sliding ladder to reach everything. Now, the entire house has become a library of its own. A little cluttered, but warm. Home.  [Read more]  

Oona lives with her husband and daughter Aoife in North Austin. She enjoys reading and studying American Sign Language.  In her application for Free Minds she wrote, "I plan to learn all my life."
A program of Foundation Communities, in partnership with The University of Texas at Austin and Austin Community College, Free Minds offers a two-semester college course in the humanities for Central Texas adults who want to fulfill their intellectual potential and begin a new chapter in their lives.

Free Minds Project
Foundation Communities
5900 Airport Blvd.
Austin TX, 78752

Academic Director: Amelia Pace-Borah
Program Specialist: Zoë Fay-Stindt
Classroom Assistant: Irene Salas

Ph: 512-610-7961  F: 512-447-0288