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WVU Writing Center 2010 NewsPrezi

The WVU Writing Center Spring 2010 NewsPrezi
by

BRYAN COYLE

on 26 March 2010

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Transcript of WVU Writing Center 2010 NewsPrezi

Questions About The Writing Center? Everyone needs help with writing from time to time, and it's always good to get a second opinion on your work. No matter what your major is, at some point you are going to have to construct a paper—whether you're reflecting about financial patterns, writing a personal narrative, giving youropinion on a film, or analyzing Shakespeare’s finest, we all have to write.

For some of us, that writing process is more difficult than for
others. If you are having trouble brainstorming ideas, getting a
paper started, creating the perfect thesis, or establishing enough
content, the tutors at the WVU Writing Center can help you out!

Never been to the Center? Don’t worry; it’s not a scary place at all!
If you’re not sure where we're located, check out the ground floor of
Colson Hall, Room G2. Colson Hall is located directly across from the Downtown Library Afraid no one will understand your paper? The Center’s tutors have a
wide range of majors and skill levels, so don’t feel like everyone
there is only in a writing-based major. We have future engineers,
psychologists, teachers, nurses, lawyers, and doctors too!

Do you think your paper is so "bad" that it's beyond help? Don’t be
silly! We are sponsors of literacy, no matter what the level. All of
the tutors have had a semester-long course about how to work with
students of all skill levels and all developmental stages of a paper.
Even if you only have ideas in your head, come on in and we can start
working toward developing a strong paper. Are you self-conscious about your paper or writing skills? Hey,
writing isn’t everybody’s strong point, and we know that; that’s why
we’re here! The tutors are all very professional and have seen a wide
variety of papers and students. The Center will offer positive
attitudes with honest and productive feedback.

If English isn’t your first language and writing a paper is a real
challenge for you, we can help with that as well. All the tutors have
learned how to connect with non-native English-speaking students in
their semester-long training course. We have the patience and skills
to help you work through your English vocabulary and grammar skills
until you feel comfortable. The outside of the Writing Center Still have questions? Visit our blog at
http://wvuwritingcenter.blogspot.com/ , our website at
http://english.wvu.edu/centers_and_projects/wcenter/writing_center_home ,
or stop by the Center sometime to see what it’s all about! And remember that the Writing Center has so many resources available
to aid students with their writing, even if you don't have the time to
make it too Colson Hall
http://english.wvu.edu/writing_at_wvu/wcenter/resources In the past, we’ve used a traditional newsletter to keep you updated on the events and personalities that make the Writing Center a vital part of the WVU community. However, as we’ve increased the scope of our projects, we found that we were having trouble sharing all of this information in the newsletter format; for one thing, we simply found ourselves running out of room for it all! More importantly though, the hard work of many of our staff members has strengthened our presence on the Web through Podcasts, our Blog, our Twitter, and our website! With the Prezi format, you can click directly through to any of these resources; so, when you read about a Podcast and want to check it out, it’s only one click away. Inside, you’ll find a variety of information: an article on our successful Personal Statement Workshop; a look at some of our new tutors, and fond farewells to our departing tutors; a brief FAQ that will let you in on some things you may not know about the Writing Center; a look at how tutoring skills help us outside of the Writing Center; and tips from some of our tutors as we approach Finals Week.

So, we hope you enjoy our NewsPrezi! Welcome to the Spring 2010 Writing Center NewsPrezi! When it comes time to apply for graduate school, a student might have done everything right—gotten good grades, conducted research, volunteered, interned, the list goes on—but still not be the “perfect” candidate. While all of these things are clearly important, it remains true that an applicant's personal statement can sometimes provide that extra boost it takes to impress graduate admissions committees.

But often, students applying to graduate or professional school are uncertain of exactly what admissions committees want to see: should they re-emphasize work from their CV or resume? Should they tell their “I Fell in Love with _____ When I Was a Child” story? Should they focus on work they’ve already done, or research they want to undertake in the future?
With this uncertainty in mind, the Writing Center once again held its Personal Statement Workshop last semester on the evening of November 4th. Students from a variety of disciplines—law, pharmacy, and psychology, to name a few—came to Colson Hall with drafts in hand. Dr. Brian Ballentine, Coordinator of the Professional Writing and Editing (PWE) program, gave a presentation that focused on the importance of self-presentation as a knowledgeable member of a discipline, the characteristics and expectations of acceptance committees, and helpful tips on what to include and what to avoid. Dr. Ballentine’s experience in evaluating applications in both the corporate and academic worlds was essential in bringing expertise to the event. After his presentation, Dr. Ballentine joined Writing Center tutors to work with students’ on their individual drafts—because of the large number of tutors, each student was able to get personal attention. Just as in a normal Writing Center session, tutors were able to address questions that students had, discuss possible revisions, and serve as supportive listeners as students faced the stressful prospect of sending off their applications.
While students came in stressed and perhaps perplexed, they left with confidence and smiles, and several made Writing Center appointments to spend even more time on their personal statements. Bryan Coyle, a graduate coordinator at the Center, said he felt the session was very helpful for the students: “They seemed very appreciative, and I know I could have used help like this when I was applying to grad schools.” While we at the Writing Center are happy to help students every day of the school week, it’s always a pleasure to host special events outside of our normal hours. From the expertise of speakers like Dr. Ballentine to the experience of helping more than a dozen students at once, events like these serve as powerful reminders of our goals as tutors—to help writers improve and succeed.
After the Workshop, Dr. Ballentine sat down gave some additional information on crafting the Personal Statement. His thoughts can be found in a Podcast here: http://english.wvu.edu/resources/7/1267035062.mp3 To listen to the rest of our Podcasts on everything from, search “WVU Writing Center” in the iTunes store, or click here: http://english.wvu.edu/writing_at_wvu/wcenter/podcasts Writing Center Reaches Out to Future Grad Students Candace Nelson
Journalism and English double major

I'm most excited about helping others during my time at the Writing Center. I want to help form their paper into a better version of itself while also helping the student gain valuable knowledge. I hope that I can help students learn skills they can carry with them and use for future papers and assignments. While helping them, I think they will also help me to become a better reader and writer. I think it is going to be a great experience for everyone involved! Stephani Smith
Child Development and Family Studies major

I am looking forward to working with international students at the Writing Center. I think these tutorials will be challenging, yet rewarding experiences. International students seem to be very willing to learn, wanting guidance in perfecting their writing skills with genuine intentions. In the future, I hope to teach English as a second language and I feel that working in the Writing Center will provide some practice and training in aiding these students. Albert Sementa
Accounting major

What I am looking forward to the most in regards to tutoring is being to help a writer reach his or her full potential. I also really enjoy watching the corrections within a paper become reflected back into the writer. Not only is it an inherently rewarding process, but I believe that working with a range of diverse papers and documents will also improve my abilities as a writer.

My first session was with an international student writing the Feature Article. I was very worried that I would run out of things to say or draw a blank when asked a specific question. Fortunately, I was able to put my nerves aside and have a rather smooth session. Looking back, there was a lot that I could have improved on, but at least I have identified my mistakes so I can eliminate them for future sessions. Not changing the voice of the writer within his or her writing is one of the most important lessons I have learned from tutor training. Keeping that in mind during my first session was important because it prevented me from changing anything the student was saying in her own words.
Peggy Tomko
Pre-Speech Pathology and Audiology Major

What I'm most looking forward to about tutoring is helping people. I'm definitely an "others first" person, and I'm planning on making a career out of helping people by being a speech-language pathologist. What interests me about tutoring is, of course, helping people, but also meeting new people (clients and other tutors) and learning new things. From all the material I'll read at the Writing Center, I think I'll learn a lot or at least learn to see familiar things from new perspectives.
New Faces... Several of our tutors-in-training share what they are most looking to about tutoring and, if they've already met with a student, reflect on their first session. ... and Departing Friends While we welcome our new tutors, unfortunately, we have to say goodbye to six veteran tutors.

As they prepare for the world outside the Writing Center, we asked them to answer a few questions:

1) What are your plans after you leave the WC?

2) What was the best thing about working in the WC?

3) What is your fondest WC memory? Mark Alvaro
Secondary Education and Mathematics Major, with a Spanish minor

1) I am going to start my full-time student teaching in the fall, complete graduate classes next spring. After that, I plan to get a job as a high school math teacher somewhere in West Virginia.

2) I loved all the people I work with. I've been really lucky to meet a lot of smart and funny people who have become my friends. On top of that, I was able to help students become better writers every day I tutored!

3) My favorite Writing Center moment was during my tutor training semester when I got to work with two other tutor alumni (Ashley and Jenny) and had weekly discussions on life and Carmen Sandiego. Hayley Burdett
English Major, with a concentration in Creative Writing and minors in Foreign Literature in Translation and French

1) Let's just leave it at something exciting. :-)

2) The best thing about working in the Writing Center for me has been helping others. Our clientele is pretty varied, but I feel that I've been able to reach a lot of different students through tutoring. Anything that makes a student's WVU experience more academically rewarding instantly makes my day. I'd say Nathalie's baked goods are a close second, too.

3) I can't limit my fondest Writing Center memory to just one. I've enjoyed working with ESL students most of all. I'm not only interested in the complexities of different languages when they collide with English composition, but also I feel that these students have much to teach us tutors about our own language skills.
Emma Byrne
Secondary English Education major

1) Apply to Teach for America or move somewhere trendy and eat a lot of couscous.

2) Being in a community of smart, funny people. And baked goods.

3) Listening to anything Mark has ever said. Also, chats with tutor alumnus Jim Greene about America.
Godwin Erekaife
Chemical Engineering major

1) Who knows! My 1st choice, obviously, is to get a job. Right now I'm still waiting to hear back from a few companies... but if that doesn't go through, I guess I could always replace Oprah... I hear she's quiting after next year.

2) Baked goods. (I think you'll find that to be a very popular answer among the WC faithful.)

3) Working the Tuesday-evening shift with former tutors Ilene and Keegan Spring of last year (shout out!). Marie Pellegrino
English major, with a concentration in Creative Writing and minors in Italian Studies and History

1) I plan on seeking entry-level work with publishing firms--hopefully as an editorial assistant so that I may move up to editor one day.

2) The best thing about working in the WC is that I discovered more about myself, gained experience discussing other peoples' work, and met many new people.

3) My fondest WC memory was when I helped a student with her paper about the benefits the WNBA has on our community today; she was really struggling, and together we found what she wanted to write and how to write it. She hugged me and told me I was awesome. John Thrasher
Professional Writing and Editing major

1) My plans after graduation are still pending, though I am hoping to find a job as a Technical Writer somewhere in the New York City area.

2) The best part about working at the Writing Center was being able to work on various projects that helped benefit the Writing Center. Whether it was a Podcast, newsletter, or working with the Center for Writing Excellence, I enjoyed working and writing in various media while still enjoying being a peer tutor.

3) My favorite Writing Center moments are the ones between sessions when the WC employees get to talking about current events, and somehow always end up laughing hysterically. To see profiles of all of our tutors, both new and old, click here: http://english.wvu.edu/writing_at_wvu/wcenter/people Taking Tutoring Skills Outside the Writing Center For all tutors, writing continues after work at the Writing Center as they complete papers for classes or have a job that demands the skill. However, some of them take it a step further by working in other collaborative writing positions where they employ the same strategies taught in Writing Center training. For example, my (Amy Purpura's) role as press leader for the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) allows me to work collaboratively with the club’s writers. In all cases, the Writing Center principle of mutual effort between students is key. Though my position as press leader does not involve tutoring, I still bring the tutoring strategy of collaboration when writing material for the club’s blog myself or with other writers. Normally, once an idea is first introduced, the club’s president along with the writers and I discuss what exactly will be written and who will be the target audience for the entry, similar to a brainstorming tutoring session. As the material is finished, the writers and I continue to work together in revising, sometimes by sending suggestions back and forth through emails if busy schedules prohibit a face-to-face meeting. Whether tutoring or not, I always strive to maintain a positive atmosphere among the students, ensuring that the final product is a great piece of their own writing. With the range of students coming to the Writing Center, from engineering to English majors, the strategies used in each session are easily adaptable to fit the needs of other work. Different learning strategies can help the tutors themselves or other students when studying, and simple approaches, such as reading a paper aloud, can be a major help in revision. In all instances, whether in the Writing Center or in another tutoring scenario, collaboration is vital to preserve the words and thoughts of the student while still benefiting from the help and skill of the tutor. Of course, there are many more examples of tutors who take their skills out into the writing world. For example, Emma Byrne, a senior in the English Education program, and Ben Myers and Bryan Coyle, Graduate Teaching Assistants in the English Department, keep the strategies and goals of Writing Center practice in mind when they interact with their students. Particularly in one-on-one settings like conferencing, the principles and guidelines they've learned in the Writing Center are imbedded deep in their thinking about teaching. Tips from Tutors: 8 Ways to Battle the End of the Semester With the middle of the semester waning to completion, students are naturally excited for a few days' respite and for less work to do. However—usually before we like—more and more work gets piled on us, and it doesn't help that the second half of the semester seems to pass by quicker than the first. And, so, we must find ways to fit work, homework, studying, having a life, and sleeping into our schedules. For English 101, 102, and 103 students, time is dwindling until they must complete their revised portfolios and hope that they have achieved as close to perfection as possible. And, of course, the other students that visit the Writing Center are also facing a mountain of work.

In order to help combat the stress and the amount of work that piles up in the last few weeks of the semester, tutors hope to help by giving out their tips. I spoke with tutors Caitlyn, John, Emma, and Mollie about their own strategies:
Tip #1: Make sure every physical area in the house is clean. Clean spaces equals a clear mind, which will hopefully help you complete work more easily and directly.

Tip #2: In order to write and revise papers, keep your flash drive with you at all times; that way, when you have some spare time and are near a computer, you can work on it. Or, carry a printed copy of what you've already completed and add onto it, or make notes of where to revise and why.
Tip #3: Keep a planner listing all of the dates your assignments are due. If this is not enough to help keep you on track, then assign yourself times to work on specific assignments.

Tip #4: An obvious but important one – do not wait for the last minute. Scheduling times to work on assignments will help with this. Make sure you draft a few days before a due date so you will have plenty of time to revise.
Tip #5: When it comes time for Finals Week and you must study, do your best not to cram. Cramming does not work well at all.
These are some tips the Writing Center tutors offer about completing assignments. But as every student knows, stress is a major factor during the last few weeks. And I am sure we all have our ways of reducing stress, such as sleeping late on the weekends and going out with friends at the end of the week. But sometimes, one must find ways to relax for just a few minutes in between assignments.

Tip #6: John enjoys painting and watching reruns of half-hour sitcoms. Do not be afraid to spend a half hour occasionally doing something you love. Read a chapter in the latest book you bought or an article in a magazine, or watch videos on Youtube. After awhile, your eyes will need the break from staring at your paper.
Tip #7: Exercise and do breathing exercises for a few minutes a day. Doing a few sit-ups and push-ups after waking and before sleeping will help invigorate your day and relax you at night. Oh, and don't forget to stretch!

Tip #8: Make sure to have time with friends, but do not expect to be able to get together at any particular time. You don't want them interrupting you when you are working, and they don't want you interrupting them. Be courteous. Go out for dinner, play some games, or watch a movie together when it's convenient for everyone.
As you will probably find, we tutors are not so different from any other student, and we hope some of our tips for end of the semester will be helpful. Good luck on all of your assignments! Farewell, and Links Galore! We hope you've enjoyed our NewsPrezi! Now that you've finished, why not take a look at some of our other Web materials?

Below, you'll find a wealth of links to some of our other content: Listen to our Podcast series, "Tutor Talk": http://english.wvu.edu/writing_at_wvu/wcenter/podcasts Thanks to contributors, Bryan Coyle, Jessica Hammond
Marie Pellegrino, and Amy Purpura! Need a break from reading? Why not check out this Writing Center promotional video? It's an oldie but a goodie! Read our Blog: http://wvuwritingcenter.blogspot.com/ Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/wvwritingcenter Become a fan of the WC on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Morgantown-WV/WVU-Writing-Center/175871404757 Visit our Web Site: http://english.wvu.edu/centers_and_projects/wcenter/writing_center_home
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