AboutOur PeopleAvery Johnston
Avery Johnston headshot
Fellow, Class of 2023

Avery Johnston

Coatesville, PA

A Writing Fellow at Penn’s Marks Family Center for Excellence in Writing and a prospective novelist, Avery is deeply interested in the positive impact literature can have on the individual, communities, and society at large. The SNF Paideia Program has enabled her to explore her interest in the vast and ancient dialogue on literature. She hopes to add her voice to the conversation through research with the program.

Avery studies English with a concentration in Medieval and Renaissance literature, as well as a minor in Classical Studies. Accordingly, she deeply appreciates the Ancient Greek concept of paideia—or educating the whole person—as she believes that education, when undertaken in a civically and historically informed, noble manner, can shape virtuous citizens. The SNF Paideia values of service and civil discourse are also incredibly important to her: as a Christian, she believes that she ought to love others as she loves herself.

The Paideia Program, particularly the sophomore seminar, has helped to ignite Avery’s passion for community building through literature, as well as to build research skills. This seminar, in addition to her experience in an SNF Paideia designated course, has helped her to feel intellectually fulfilled and further prepared to discuss difficult ethical questions together with people unlike her. Further, as a part of the English Honors Program, she will be conducting research on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in the summer of 2021.

Outside of the classroom, she belongs to Christian Union, where she leads a bible study for freshman women. She also serves as a section editor and writer for the Penn Epistle, and enjoys sewing, baking, and spending time with family, friends, and her fiancé. Following graduation, she hopes to write, perhaps attend grad school, and provide robust literary discussion to communities with little access to literature.