The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Work with Juniper

In partnership with the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at UMass Amherst, and as part of the Juniper Institute’s educational mission, we hire current undergraduate and graduate students for our summer staff, offer Director's Assistant positions to graduate students in the MFA program, and bring MFA alumni back to campus as Working Fellows, among other opportunities.

These positions provide UMass students, especially those studying the literary arts, opportunities to gain valuable leadership, professional, creative, and academic experience in the context of our intensive summer creative writing programs.

Summer staff positions include a semester-long training in creative writing pedagogy, developing an interactive classroom, mentoring in a residence-life environment, and strategies for supporting students. Three credit hours and a stipend are awarded.

Past Calls for Applications are posted below for informational purposes. Open calls will be posted here and on relevant UMass sites and email lists. To indicate your interest in a future position, you may email us to be notified of the next application period.

For UMass undergraduate students:

1. Program Assistants

JIYW seeks undergraduate students to serve as Program Assistants for its acclaimed summer writing program for high school writers July 18-26, 2020. This position offers the opportunity to gain valuable leadership, as well as professional, residential, creative, and academic experience in the context of an intensive seven-day summer creative writing program for a multicultural group of highly motivated high school writers.

During the Spring semester PAs partake in required trainings with Juniper staff and instructors in topics such as: building relational culture through storytelling and resonance, supporting empowering youth/adult relationships, ally skills, and facilitating transformational conversations across difference in the context of Juniper's creative writing community. The trainings occur weekly on Friday afternoons from 2:30-4:30 pm; an optional 3 independent study credits may be earned. 

During the week of July 18-26, with the guidance of Juniper staff, PAs work to provide support, supervision, and mentoring to help facilitate an engaging and inclusive environment for young people with a variety of social identities who are pursuing the writing life. Typical duties include: guiding small groups to daily activities and meals, supervising around the dorm, and helping facilitate program activities -- in and outside of the classroom -- designed to introduce students to various aspects of college and writing life.

Apply online by Monday, October 28. Notification regarding your application will come via email. 

2. Administrative Assistant (Work-Study)

Open to undergraduate students, Administrative Assistants gain experience in arts administration in work/study positions. Students have the opportunity to partake in marketing, program coordination, and event planning. The Assistants help the institute in administrative capacities with events and operations.

Currently there are no open job calls for this position. 

For graduates of the UMass MFA Program for Poets and Writers & current students:

1. Director's Assistant Positions

MFA candidates gain literary arts management experience as institute Director's Assistants. DAs work closely with Managing Director, Betsy Wheeler, and acquire significant insight and experience in producing successful literary programming. They assist in event planning, staffing, operations, and development for the JIYW. 

The Juniper Institute is currently seeking a Director's Assistant (one position in fiction). This is an hourly paid work opportunity open to graduate students enrolled in the MFA program for Poets & Writers. Working as part of the Juniper office team, DA's gain significant insight and experience in producing successful literary programming.

Term: September 3, 2019- July 31, 2020. A one year commitment with encouragement to renew the following fall.

Hours: 10 hours per week September-April; 15 hours per week May-July, with full-time presence during the Juniper Summer Writing Institute (JSWI; June 14-20) & Juniper Institute for Young Writers (JIYW: July 19-26).

Compensation: $6,000 stipend; 3 Applied Literary Arts credits per semester.


  • In the fall semester, the DA will assist with marketing and outreach;
  • In the spring semester they will assist with training and mentoring undergraduate program assistants for the young writer program in weekly meetings;
  • Work in the summer focuses on event preparation and management.

Currently there are no open job calls for this position. 

2. Creative Writing Workshop Instructors

CWIs teach/work 10:00am-5:00pm Monday-Friday during the Institute. Instructors develop and teach a 5-day writing workshop (we're calling it a lab) focused on student work, and one craft session. Instructors will also participate in a reading/ Q&A session, and attend two 1-hour open mics featuring the program's participants.

With the intention of building a community of teaching writers who collaborate with and support one another during the JIYW week, all instructors participate in a series of trainings during the 2020 spring semester (usually on Fridays from 2:30-4:30) that focus on curriculum development and skill-building in order to support a highly motivated and diverse group of young people. These sessions will provide instructors with guidance and a space for discussion of their original craft sessions and writing labs. The position also offers opportunities for professional development and teaching experience outside of mainstream academia. Successful applicants will have demonstrated ability to work successfully within a diverse environment.

Hiring is for one session, with an option to re-apply for subsequent years.

Compensation is an honorarium of $1,500 paid in two installments: $500 upon completion of spring training; $1000 paid within two weeks of the last day of the Institute. Usual restrictions for payment to UMass students apply (reach out to Cheena Marie Lo, the MFA Program Assistant with any questions). Option to earn 3 literary arts credits for spring 2020.


  • Enrolled at UMass Amherst as a graduate candidate in the MFA program through August of 2020
  • Must be a candidate in good standing within the MFA
  • Availability for around ten meetings during the spring semester (usually Fridays 2:30-4:30)
  • Availability on Saturday 7/18/20 for pre-JIYW orientation (usually 1pm-5pm)
  • Availability from 10am-5pm 7/20-7/24

Application Materials:

  • A 1 page cover letter indicating your interest in teaching creative writing to high school students, relevant teaching experience, any relevant work with youth and multicultural classrooms, and a brief anecdote about a challenging experience you’ve experienced in a classroom, with an explanation of how you handled it. Returning applicants should discuss their prior JIYW teaching experience and why they would like to return to the teaching team.
  • A brief (approx. 300 words) proposal for a multi-genre writing lab. The labs meet each afternoon for 2 hours (with the same group of 13-15 participants) in order to share and discuss peer writing, delve into deeper questions of craft, and explore an approach to the writing process determined by the instructor’s interests and adapted for a young audience. Samples of descriptions (previously called “workshops”) can be found here.  Please include:
    • a title for the lab
    • lab goals or outcomes
    • examples of a few in-class activities
  • A one-paragraph (approx. 100 words) proposal for a craft class you’d like to teach (this 75 minute session will be taught 3 times throughout the week to a different group of participants each time). Note to returning applicants: this session will NOT be associated with a field trip.
  • Optional: Teaching evaluations from 1 or more relevant courses such as basic writing, college writing, composition, rhetoric, creative writing or literature, after school, or other class settings.

Submit materials online via Submittable by Monday November 4, 2019 (by midnight). Hard copy teaching evaluations can be turned in to Betsy Wheeler in South College E351 (or mailbox on 4th floor of South College). 

The co-founders, director, and managing director of the Juniper Institute for Young Writers make hiring decisions with these things in mind:

  • Cover Letter
  • Course proposals
  • Previous teaching experience/performance
  • Previous experience working with this age group
  • Configuration of instructors across genres
  • In the case of a returning applicant, we look at program evaluations, experience, and level of professionalism demonstrated in previous year's teacher training and week-long program
  • For new applicants who are finalists, we conduct in-person interviews (usually mid-November)

3. Working Fellowships

Working Fellows assist Juniper's Director, Managing Director and Director's Assistants with daily administrative and event management during the week of the JIYW. In exchange, Fellows are offered: time to write, full room & board, free entry to readings and Q&As with visiting writers. Fellows will also introduce one evening's guest readers and have the option to offer manuscript consultations, which earn a $125 fee per consult.

Applications are usually open in February or March. 

4. Residence Directors (trained UMass residence directors only)

The RD is a live-in professional responsible for the health and safety of approximately 100 participants for the JIYW housed in the Commonwealth Honors College Residential Area during the institute. The young writers are 15-18 years old. The RD also supervises undergraduate Program Assistants in the res hall to create a safe environment through the implementation and administration of departmental and university regulations. 

Currently there are no open job calls for this position. 

Current Juniper Staff and Teachers »