The First Year Writing program hosted the 37th Semiannual Celebration of Student Writing in the Student Center Ballroom on Thursday, Dec. 5.
Associate Directors of the First Year Writing Program Laura Kovick and Meghan Phelps organized the event. The event went from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., offering LBC credit to the students who participated as well as for the students that attended the event.
Logan Bearden is the new Director of the First Year Writing Program. As a former instructor of WRTG 121, Bearden understands the importance of the event for first-year writing students.
“When you effect change into the world, you’re not going to use an 8- to 10-page double spaced MLA formatted research paper,” Bearden said. “What you’re going to do is something like this where you get somebody to interact with you, to have a conversation and hopefully change their minds. So, this kind of bridges the gap of what students do in first year writing and the writing they’ll do out in the real world.”
Sophomore Elija Braybrooke’s project explored how a second American Civil War could happen by analyzing civil wars from world history.
With the United States seeming increasingly divided, Braybrooke’s presentation brought a glimmer of hope.
“I feel good about the state of the world at the moment,” Braybrooke said. “Well, not good, but better than I did [when I started the project] ... All the aspects of what causes a civil war aren’t especially prevalent in the United States at the moment.”
Freshman Amy Skidmore recently retired from the military after serving for 20 years. Skidmore then decided she wanted to go to school to study art education as it is a field she is very passionate about.
Skidmore’s project focused on the decline of art education.
She explained: “Only 2% of secondary schools offer art education on a daily basis. It’s a huge decline in the United States. Without creativity at the middle school age, it causes a lot of issues later on with creativity, imagination, innovation, and everything need for future success.”
Projects like Braybrooke’s and Skidmore’s are examples of some of the many great research projects showcased at the event.
First Year Writing Professor Sara Gomez-Perez is proud of her students for overcoming their initial anxieties.
“Everyone in my class this year for the first time was nervous for the elevator pitch,” Gomez-Perez said. “Usually, I have one or two students that are okay, but everyone was nervous. We practiced at least three times every class period since October. So, it’s really cool to see them lose all their nerves and just perform naturally.”
With each passing semester, Bearden’s takeaway remains the same.
“You give students the opportunity to do something like this, and they will always impress you,” he said.
To see what the next batch of first-year writing students create, go to the 38th Semiannual Celebration of Student Writing on April 9, 2020 in the Student Center Ballroom.