Writing Fellows: an English and Journalism Student’s Shot at Education

Who are the Writing Fellows? Why should you consider it as a means to get involved with the Honors Program or learn more about your own writing and self? If you have any questions about this opportunity, you’ve come to the right place. Alex LeMoine, an Honors Outreach Ambassador and Writing Fellow, majoring in both English and Journalism & Mass Communications, has shared her struggle to find an outlet for her passion for teaching. With her involvement in the Writing Fellows, Alex is able to pursue her love of teaching others without committing to an Education major.

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When I came to the University of Iowa in the fall of 2014, I was very unsure of where my career path would take me. In fact, I had yet to find a path worth pursuing. I had come into college with a passion for writing and literature that had been cultivated throughout my childhood and high school years and, intent on making the most out of Iowa’s program, I declared an English major.

A year of reading, writing and literary analysis had gone by when I decided to explore journalism. I picked up a second major in Journalism & Mass Communications and began to see the world of writing from a new, far more succinct perspective. It has given me the best of both worlds—I’m able to push my limits in creative writing classes, explore the work of writers across centuries, and simultaneously pare down these skills to write in the journalistic style. In the back of my mind, however, was a nagging feeling that I was ignoring a significant passion of mine.

From a young age I have been influenced by education. I grew up in a family of teachers and naturally, was raised to see school as a priority. One of the curses of being an educator’s child is that it often becomes second nature. By the time I was in high school, I was teaching in some capacity in almost every aspect of my life; I tutored my peers after school, volunteered at elementary schools as an extra-curricular, taught horseback riding lessons at the stable where I had been riding for years—in short, it was a large part of my life. But this familiarity with education made me want to venture out in college, to rebel against the refrain that I would follow in my parents’ footsteps and make and excellent teacher. The problem was that once I abandoned this part of my life, I realized how much I missed it. It was then that the opportunity to become a Writing Fellow appeared.

As an honors student, I was grateful to the program for providing the opportunity; as a writer, I was more excited at the prospect of editing and improving papers than most; as someone passionate about education, I was thrilled. Being a Writing Fellow, a role that is ingeniously referred to as a “required luxury,” I have the chance to interact and conference with my peers about a skill that is near to my heart.  Going over their papers, poring over structure, thesis statements and organization is an important part of my job, but it is not the most rewarding. Seeing students become motivated about their work, gain confidence in their writing, and develop an open mind is what really makes me feel like I’m making an impact.

Writing Fellows has allowed me to indulge my affinity for education in a unique way. Based on my experiences, students and their tutors benefit proportionately from the program and most importantly, it works to shift college students’ mindset about writing. Through this form of collaboration, it becomes less a form of drudgery and more an opportunity to share their thinking. For me, I get to continue exploring my interests as a writer and a journalist without compromising my passions. This program truly embodies the idea behind experiential learning and solidifies the impact that Iowa’s academic community can make.

If you are interested in the Writing Fellows program, it does count for honors credit if you’re still looking for a way to get your Experiential Learning on a roll! Applications for next years Fellows open in February of 2017, so you have plenty of time. Learn more here: https://writingcenter.uiowa.edu/writing-fellows

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Written by: Alex LeMoine, Junior, English; Journalism & Mass Communications

Edited by: Katie Kiesewetter, Blog Manager

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