Selections from Writing Studies Scholars Students
By Lupita Porras, current Salt Lake Community College student
As a worker for a cleaning company, I have walked through every hallway, closet, staircase, elevator, and restroom at the tower, basement, locker room, and bowl at the University of Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium. While picking up trash after every game, I remember hoping to be lucky enough to find a $100 bill. However, my mind would answer, “You know what, Lupita? If you get to take classes at that school, then that’s even better than a $100 bill.”
In 2014, I started taking classes at Salt Lake Community College. My experience can be described as a journey where I had to learn to seek and hunt for opportunities. The idea of that $100 bill (which I never found) kept me connected to my dream of higher education and ultimately being able to take classes at the U. In summer 2018, I learned of an opportunity to take a U class at SLCC through the Department of Writing & Rhetoric Studies’ Writing Studies Scholars Program.
This class went above and beyond a course on rhetoric. The teamwork of the instructor from the U, SLCC faculty, and transfer students provided an environment of inclusivity where I felt welcomed and encouraged to keep going in my educational journey. Although I am still in the process of transferring to the U, that opportunity introduced me to a network of familiar faces and names that will help me to make a smooth transition. By being part of this program, my dream of getting an education worth more than that $100 bill is slowly turning into reality.
I am planning on transferring to the U as soon as my circumstances allow, hopefully in spring or summer 2020. As a non-traditional, first-generation student, and paying out-of-state tuition, I have to navigate an educational system that has been built for a different student population. Nonetheless, I am extremely grateful for this learning experience because it is changing my life in a positive way along with the quality of life for my family.
A lot of work has been done and a lot more remains, but I am positive that the lessons I am learning from my circumstances are going to help me to assist other students in their academic journeys.
I Have Always Been a Writer
By Victoria Hunter, member of the first cohort of Writing Studies Scholars in 2017
In high school if you asked me what I would be majoring in when I went to college, I never would have said writing and rhetoric studies, but now if I had the opportunity to go back and do it all over again I wouldn’t change a thing. I attended Salt Lake Community College before transferring to the University of Utah, in large part because I was still unsure of what I wanted my major to be and of course for the price difference. During the summer before I transferred, I got the opportunity to take a transition class taught by SLCC and the U writing and rhetoric faculty. I had talked to my advisor and I knew I really enjoyed writing, but wasn’t sure what I really wanted to major in. My advisor recommended this new summer course and said that if I liked it I should consider writing and rhetoric studies as a major. That conversation was how I entered the Writing Studies Scholars Program.
I have always considered myself a writer. My whole life I have written essays in school, written on my own (just for fun). Now, I write a lot for my job, and I even tutor students in writing. I work as a director at a tutoring center, and in this position, I write letters to parents and teachers as well as reports and instructions. Many of the writing classes I have been taking at the U have helped me in these tasks. For example, I took the class Writing for Usability where I learned a lot about how to write instructions and conduct usability tests to produce the best products, which I have put into use at work. This is the type of background I have noticed most writing majors also have. In different capacities, we are all writers. This means that we do not go to class to learn how to write, but we go to class to learn how to improve our writing by learning about the whole idea of writing and rhetoric and where it comes from. We learn much of this through the experiences of our peers.
One thing that I love about the classes in the writing and rhetoric studies department is how diverse each one is. I meet people from different backgrounds, of all ages and different experiences. This leads to great discussions in class since everyone can contribute new ideas and ways of thinking about a topic. I find that this has had a great impact on my writing because I am able to incorporate different viewpoints that I never used to think about. I am so grateful for the writing and rhetoric department. It has given me a new way of looking at writing, and I have been able to expand and improve on my skills thanks to this major.