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Graduate Writing Center Workshops

Graduate Writing Center Workshops

In honor of twenty years of interdisciplinary collaboration, the Graduate Writing Center is pleased to offer three workshops co-led by instructors from the sciences and the humanities. Our collaborators this semester come from Applied Linguistics, Earth & Mineral Sciences, and Engineering, melding their expertise with that of Graduate Writing Center staff.

Join us to learn how to apply genre conventions (January 23), storytelling (February 6), and style (February 21) in your writing. We also invite you to meet one-on-one with a consultant at the Center and, at the end of the semester, at the International Write-In (April 21). All graduate students, regardless of disciplinary affiliation or English fluency, are welcome to enroll.  If you have any questions about these workshops, please contact Layli Miron at layli@psu.edu.

Workshop 1:  Mapping Genres to Meet Reader Expectations

Wednesday, January 23, 1:00-2:30 p.m., 102 Kern Graduate Building

Overview: Abstracts, cover letters, CVs, dissertations, literature reviews, research papers, teaching philosophy statements: most grad students need to write in these genres. Each comes with its own set of “secret” expectations, some particular to US academia, some unique to your discipline. How can you figure out these expectations to succeed in high-stakes writing situations? This workshop asks you to step into the shoes of a linguist by learning how to analyze the conventions of any genre you might encounter.

Learning Objectives: You will refresh your knowledge of common academic genres, then identify discipline-specific genre conventions, and finally discuss how to apply your findings to your own writing, with the guidance of the instructors.

Requirement: This is a hands-on workshop, so to participate, you must find a model of a kind of writing you need to do this semester—for example, if you’re drafting a scholarly article, find a similar article published by a prestigious journal in your field.

Audience: All grad students unfamiliar with genre theory could benefit from this workshop. It could be particularly useful to those new to the US academy, such as international and first-generation students.

Instructors: Jade Sandbulte (EPPIC, Applied Linguistics) and Layli Miron (GWC)

Register for Workshop 1

Registration ends Monday, January 21, at 12:00 p.m.


Workshop 2:  Telling Your Research Story to Engage an Audience

Wednesday, February 6, 3:15-4:45 p.m., 102 Kern Graduate Building

Overview: Cognitive research indicates stories activate our brains and help us retain information. Developing a concise, compelling narrative about your research may help you explain what you do and why it matters. Using the science of storytelling—not to distort the truth, but to help connect people to your research—is useful when giving presentations, writing proposals, preparing for interviews, and generally communicating the “so what?” of your research endeavors. In this workshop, using a step-by-step approach, you will practice a powerful way to distill your research story to engage and delight future audiences.

Learning Objectives: You will learn to use a message box to compose your research story, write it, and tell it based on feedback from peers, with the guidance of the instructors.

Requirement: This is a hands-on workshop, so to participate, you must be prepared to talk and write about one of your research projects. Bring a one-paragraph summary of your project’s research question, method, findings, and significance; this overview will serve as material for the storytelling activity. 

Audience: Any graduate student engaged in research and seeking ways to develop research and career opportunities for him/herself could benefit from this workshop.

Instructors: Del Bright (Earth & Mineral Sciences) and Layli Miron (GWC)

Register for Workshop 2

Registration ends Tuesday, February 5, at 12:00 p.m.


Workshop 3: Crafting Sentences to Convey Your Research

Thursday, February 21, 2:30-4:30 p.m., 102 Kern Graduate Building

Overview: Do you find writing about research challenging? On the one hand, you have to be simple enough to be understood. On the other hand, you have to be sophisticated enough to be taken seriously. Based on Michael Alley’s award-winning book, The Craft of Scientific Writing, this workshop aims to help graduate students write about their work in a style that is simple, yet sophisticated. To help you achieve that style, Alley will work through scores of examples from a variety of disciplines. 

Learning Objectives: You will learn to make your sentences not only precise and clear but also energetic and connected.

Requirement: Because this workshop is hands on, you are encouraged to bring in one or two paragraphs of your own writing to work with. Also recommended is that you review the essential writing terms that the Craft of Scientific Writing website succinctly covers. 

Audience: This workshop could benefit graduate students who want to improve their writing at the sentence level. Although the materials draw upon Michael Alley’s work with hundreds of STEM writers, the workshop pertains to writing across disciplines. After all, the sentence is the basic unit of expression in research.

Instructors: Michael Alley (Engineering) and Layli Miron (GWC)

Register for Workshop 3

Registration ends Tuesday, February 19, at 12:00 p.m.


Workshop 4: International Write-In with the University Libraries

Sunday, April 21, 3:30-11:59 p.m., Paterno Library 103

Overview: As the semester draws to a close, join us at the library for the biannual International Write-In! Show up for as long as you like and leave whenever you’re ready. GWC consultants, EPPIC tutors, undergraduate tutors, and librarians will be present to answer any writing questions you might have, and there will be a separate room for those who want to work in complete silence.

Learning Objectives: You will benefit from writing in a communal spacegaining motivation from peers, and sustenance in the form of coffee, pizza, and snacks. 

Requirement: Bring a writing project!

Audience: The International Write-In is open to graduate students, undergraduate students, faculty, and staff.

GWC Consultants: Layli Miron and Michael Young

Register for the Write-In

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