Photo of Spenser Willden

Spenser Willden

Honors Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts (HILA) + English

There are so many things to love about the Honors College—the creative course material, the supportive faculty, the diverse community, so much more.

-Spenser Willden

About Spenser:



Honors College Student Spenser Willden: A Rising Star in Interdisciplinary Creative Pursuits

Spenser Willden, a talented Honors College student at the University of New Mexico, is a shining example of the power of interdisciplinary learning. Originally from Roswell, New Mexico, Spenser is pursuing a double major in Honors Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts and English creative writing. His ambitions stretch across various creative fields, including publishing, comedy, filmmaking, and education.

When asked about his experience in the Honors College, Spenser praises the creative course material, supportive faculty, and diverse community. Spenser says, “There are so many things to love about the Honors College—the creative course material, the supportive faculty, the diverse community, so much more. The discussion-based learning model allows students to expand their horizons while also giving them the opportunity to focus on the topics that interest them, providing students the tools necessary to continue their education long after their undergraduate career has ended.” As a sophomore, Spenser served as a staff member on Scribendi, a literature and arts magazine showcasing the work of Honors College students across the country. This experience taught him valuable lessons about writing and publishing, which he has since applied to his academic pursuits. Unsure about his future at the time, Spenser received guidance from Amaris Ketcham, a faculty member who encouraged him to consider majoring in honors and focusing on his goals. This advice, coupled with the support of other faculty members like Dr. Szasz, Dr. Donovan, and Megan Jacobs, enabled Spenser to develop a comprehensive plan for his education, taking classes from multiple departments that aligned with his aspirations.

Scribendi played a crucial role in Spenser's interdisciplinary education, as it encouraged him to engage with student works from creative, critical, and social perspectives. This experience helped him better understand his own work and that of others. Furthermore, his senior teaching experience with Dr. Szasz taught him that art does not exist in a vacuum; it reflects and influences the surrounding culture.

In his senior year, Spenser chose the HILA capstone project to teach a class alongside a professor. He became the student teacher for "The Art of Stand-up Comedy" with Dr. Szasz. The class explores stand-up comedy's development from the latter half of the 20th century to the present, examining its function as a literary form, its sociological and historical implications, and its role in shaping modern mythology. By considering comedy through an interdisciplinary lens, Spenser gained insights that will undoubtedly influence his future work and research.

As Spenser Willden's undergraduate journey nears its end, he aspires to pursue an MFA in creative nonfiction, a testament to the impact of his interdisciplinary education. With his dedication, talent, and diverse interests, there is no doubt that Spenser will make significant contributions to the worlds of publishing, comedy, filmmaking, and education.