Graduate WAC Fellow Reflections

Arup Bhattacharya smiles and faces the camera in front of a glass wall. Arup Bhattacharya (2020-2021)

Arup Bhattacharya, a Ph.D. student in the Planning, Design and the Built Environment program, found the WAC fellowship to be an interesting opportunity to learn different ways to include writing in traditionally non-writing intensive courses. As an instructor for a construction estimating class, Bhattacharya encountered students who prepared accurate estimates but could not communicate them efficiently. “Integrating different short writing assessments, I tried to convey to my students what are the things a reader looks for when they go through your report,” he explained. In addition to improving his own writing skills through this fellowship, he learned important insights into evaluating writing and how writers should always consider the audience. “Apart from improving my own scholarly writing expertise, I have found ways through WAC fellowship to pass on that skill to my students so that they also achieve confidence to deliver quality writing,” Bhattacharya said.

Olivia McAnirlin smiles at the camera as she poses inside a car. Olivia McAnirlin (2020-2021)

Olivia McAnirlin, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Parks,
Recreation and Tourism Management, joined the Pearce Center’s WAC Fellow program to help strengthen her teaching skills in the classroom. McAnirlin wanted to create homework assignments and in-class activities that would teach necessary, transferable skills for the job market, such as writing that conveys a clear message to its audience. McAnirlin shared, “I want students to walk away from a course thinking about how to clearly articulate course content and make it applicable to the real-world. Students may not be writing traditionally, but through press releases, social media posts and emails in the park, recreation and tourism fields.” The Grad WAC Fellow program helped McAnirlin think critically about bringing an increased focus to writing in her classroom and facilitating conversations about the importance of writing in everyday life.

Amir Malek faces the camera and poses in front of a brick building. Amir Malek (2019-2020)

Amir Malek, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, became involved with the Pearce Center’s WAC Fellow program when he realized there was a serious need for engineering students to improve their writing skills. He loved teaching but found it difficult to grade his students’ work. “I constantly came across assignments that were great content-wise, but they struggle to convey the message due to the lack of writing skills,” said Amir. He assumed this was “the curse of engineering majors” until he became familiar with the Graduate Writing TA Program. “This program made it possible for me to provide my students with engineering-friendly writing tips,” he explained.

Rachel Ham smiles at the camera in front of a natural background.Rachel Ham (2019-2020)

As a WAC Fellow, Rachel is constantly working on incorporating written communication into her STEM background. When asked how she got involved in the WAC program, she explained, “As a teaching assistant in biological sciences, I was seeking ways to improve my skills and help my students achieve higher quality writing. When my advisor recommended this position, I knew it was the right fit. I believe it is critical to communicate scientific research effectively, both with other scientists and with the public.” Her top tip for effective writing is to know your audience and then write clearly and briefly for that audience. Rachel also completed her bachelor’s degree at Clemson.