Class of 2025: Special education major enters GC with statewide playwriting award

Class of 2025: Special education major enters GC with statewide playwriting award

I ncoming freshman Nina Schwelm enters Georgia College as an award-winning playwright. Although she’s pursuing special education, writing holds a special place in her heart.

“I’ve always loved writing,” Nina said. “I just never considered writing for the stage. So now my eyes are completely open to this new possibility.”

Nina and playwriting are an unlikely duo, she said, but that didn’t stop her from becoming one of three student winners of the Georgia Film Academy’s (GFA) Dramatic Writing 10-Minute Play Competition.

More of a short story and poetry writer, Nina didn’t consider playwriting until her writing class midterm. In writing her play, “Across the Sea,” she was inspired by Adam Driver, famous for his portrayal of Kylo Ren in Star Wars, and his love of theater and nonprofit organization. His nonprofit is called Arts in the Armed Forces and seeks to provide active duty military and veterans with performing arts experiences.

“He started a nonprofit where he does free performing arts for active duty and former military,” Nina said. “I really, really admire that organization, so in writing my play, that was just at the back of my head the whole time.”

But when she isn’t winning state awards, Nina writes short stories, poetry, song lyrics and writes collaboratively with a friend in Sweden.

"We write through the eyes of underdeveloped characters in order to develop them further. It's a good exercise," she said.

The avid Star Wars fan is her own worst critic, but draws on both literature and personal experience when writing.

"Sometimes I just can’t write, but then I’ll wake up at 2 a.m. with an idea and not go to sleep because I just have to get it all down."
– Nina Schwelm

“Sometimes I just can’t write, but then I’ll wake up at 2 a.m. with an idea and not go to sleep because I just have to get it all down,” Nina said.

Though she intends to nurture her passion for writing, Nina decided to major in GC’s nationally recognized Special Education program. Her decision came after a hole appeared in her high school schedule; the need for special education interns made up the gap.

“I have never been in a place where I have felt so loved,” Nina said. “Everybody just loved me. I made friends down there, and it just made me very, very happy.”

As an intern, she fell in love with the children, teaching and using creativity to brighten their day.

“All the kids are so unique, and you have to take time to understand their individual needs,” Nina said. “Most of them really like art, so I think that I can make an awesome classroom for them where they can feel welcome and happy.”

Previously editor-in-chief of her high school magazine, she hopes to continue her rigorous schedule at GC, enrolling in both the Leadership Academy and Honors College.

“My dad always tells me to take the hard teachers and not to take the easy way,” Nina said. “It gets hard sometimes, but challenging yourself is important. I thought it’d be a good way to put myself out there and thought I’d give it a go.”
– Nina Schwelm

“My dad always tells me to take the hard teachers and not to take the easy way,” Nina said. “It gets hard sometimes, but challenging yourself is important. I thought it’d be a good way to put myself out there and thought I’d give it a go.”

To nurture her writing craft, Nina hopes to pursue writing for theater and GC’s literary journal, “The Peacock’s Feet.” But that’s not all she dreams of.

“It would be a miracle if I could write for a movie or a TV show,” Nina said. “Being married with a family is a huge dream of mine I’ve had forever, but also making the most of what I have and trying to be happy wherever I am.”

After pausing, she said, “And I’d also really, really like to meet Adam Driver one day.”