Jenna Mertz


Dept:Previous Employee


Spring 2018 Office Hours: TR 10-11


B.A. University of Wisconsin-Madison
English, Spanish, Environmental Studies

Courses I am Teaching:

English 150

Jenna Mertz is a fiction writer and a second-year MFA candidate in the Creative Writing and Environment Program. She teaches English 150/250 and provides tailored writing feedback as a Graduate Communication Consultant in the Writing and Media Center.

Prior to Iowa State, Jenna served as the 2014-2015 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in the small town of Ås, Norway. As an ETA, Jenna led writing workshops at the local upper secondary school and served as a writing consultant in the university writing center. She had the opportunity to work with a diverse group of students—both Bachelors and Masters, from Norway, Kenya, Pakistan, England, and Germany—writing on a diverse array subjects from the fatty acid content of organic milk to the improved efficiency of wind turbines.


Norway landscape

During her time in Norway, Jenna also spearheaded and launched a peer-tutoring program that offers individualized writing instruction to students in both English and Norwegian language courses. When not teaching composition, she became rather adept at navigating the bewildering variety of canned, tubed, and jarred fish products at the local grocery store.

The Creative Writing and Environment Program’s commitment to place-based storytelling aligns with Jenna’s commitment to write about the landscapes she loves. A Wisconsin native, much of Jenna’s fiction celebrates on the lakes, pines, and nasal vowels of her homeland. Her work explores the complexities of family relationships and rural life in the upper Midwest, a culture shaped in no small part by immigrants from Norway and greater Scandinavia.

In her first year at Iowa State, Jenna received a Creative Writing and Environment fellowship and the Pearl Hogrefe Grant in Creative Writing. During the summer of 2016, she served as the Writer-In-Residence at the Iowa Lakeside Lab located on beautiful West Okoboji.

Although she misses the glacial lakes, kettles, and moraines of Wisconsin, Jenna is thrilled and thankful to be a part of the interdisciplinary, encouraging, and supportive writing community here at Iowa State.