Writing key

Erin Cotton

Health care and immigration policy inspire controversy beyond America’s borders.

Cecelia Kruger ’15 learned just how entwined and divisive those issues are in Sweden after spending a full summer abroad researching those issues for her senior honors thesis.

The story of Kruger’s research, and her surprising journey of discovery, is the subject of an article in the latest issue of The Key Reporter, the magazine of Phi Beta Kappa, the national honor society.

The author of the article? Erin Cotton ’16, who is in the midst of a semester-long “remote” internship as a writer for the magazine. The story marked not only her first piece for The Key Reporter but also her first published non-fiction article.

She already is a published fiction author. The Albion Review, the national literary journal for undergraduates, published two of her short stories last spring. 

“I am considering a career in writing,” said Cotton, who is pursuing a double major in anthropology and creative writing. “What I love the most about my double major is that it promotes many different types of writing. For that reason I think I have gained many skills from both majors that will help me be a successful writer in the future.” 

The internship with Phi Beta Kappa may help, too. Cotton will hold the position through mid-May of this spring.

For her first article for the magazine, the Conway, N.H., resident chose to write about her fellow Wheaton student Kruger because “it is important for students at Wheaton to express support for each others accomplishments and that is something the anthropology department has always encouraged.”

Cotton said the most fascinating aspect of Kruger’s research was her decision to revise the focus of her thesis in the midst of her research.

“Changing your topic after almost a month of research is a huge leap of faith for a researcher, and I find it so impressive that Cecilia trusted the knowledge and motivations of her informants enough to jump immediately into this extremely controversial topic,” she said.