She has a dream...


Inkspire started with a dream of Dr. Jacqueline Hamilton, an English professor at Eastern Kentucky University.  Known to students as Mizz JJ, she loves the fun and beauty of writing and wants students to share that mindset.  After completing a summer project with the National Writing Project in summer 2011, she developed a summer camp the next year that would reflect this emphasis. Through special experiences, students can think of writing as fun--and writer's block as a building tool not a frustration mode. She also wants students to inspire others through their writing.  The name Inkspire fits these goals, as well as her love of wordplay. 


Mizz JJ has recruited other teachers and support staff, as well as sponsors, to create an energy-filled camp experience that continues each year.  Inkspire includes creativity projects, great books, music, art, games, guest speakers, plenty of traditions, and of course, writing. 


Mizz JJ also portrays two Chautauqua characters for the Kentucky Humanities Council—mountain educator Alice Lloyd and best-selling detective novelist Sue Grafton.  Part of being a character is researching and writing a 40-minute monologue. During the summers she often teaches focus areas such as dramatic expression and creative writing and literary studies for the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program.  

With the 10th anniversary of Inkspire in 2022, Mizz JJ has added listening skill instruction to camp activities.  Her doctorate work included writing a 110-page resource titled Effective Listening Practices for College Students. She has modified some of the ideas in the resource for younger students.

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The teachers share the dream...

Since the beginning of Inkspire in 2012, two teachers have steadfastly shared the dream --encourage the mindset of writing is fun.  Jennifer Taylor (left) and Jenny Strickland (right) teach writing lessons to various age groups.  In 2022, Inkspire hopes to bring on college education students to teach specialty lessons, such as art.

Even our tech and design expert shares the dream...

Thanks to the generosity of Bradley Chem, Inkspire’s website was born last year.  The ability of parents to register through Google Docs and other conveniences makes his work so useful and timely. Many of the photos were taken by him, including the gorgeous homepage photo with the sky lanterns featuring our annual Poetry in Flight night. His newest creation is our official logo seen in the upper left corner of each web page.  INK rests above the word spire.  Bradley begins a wonderful journey as a doctoral student in chemistry education at the University of Northern Colorado in fall 2022.  And how did Mizz JJ meet him?  He was a writing student in her C.S. Lewis literature course at EKU.

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