Professional Writing and Rhetoric students and faculty attend Naylor Workshop for Undergraduate Research in Writing Studies

Hayden McConnell '20 and Angela Myers '21, who are majoring in Professional Writing & Rhetoric, attended the 5th Annual Naylor Workshop for Undergraduate Research in Writing Studies held Sept. 27-29, 2019, at York College of Pennsylvania.

Hayden McConnell ’20 and Angela Myers ’21, who are majoring in Professional Writing and Rhetoric, attended the 5th Annual Naylor Workshop for Undergraduate Research in Writing Studies held Sept. 27-29, 2019, and hosted by York College of Pennsylvania.

The workshop is an opportunity for students to grow as skilled researchers. Students submit an application for consideration that outlines a proposed research project. This year, 32 students were accepted and received funding to attend the event. During the past five years, the workshop has hosted mentors and students from 45 states. This year, there were also two international attendees — one from Canada and one from Beirut.

Jessie L. Moore, professor of English and director of the Center for Engaged Learning, served as a mentor at the Naylor Workshop, led a workshop session on social justice and advocacy, and collaborated on workshops on quantitative research methods. Moore gave the keynote address at the inaugural Naylor Workshop in 2014, sharing findings from the Center for Engaged Learning’s research on Excellence in Mentored Undergraduate Research. She has participated as a Naylor Workshop mentor every year.

“We invited leaders in writing studies to serve as mentors for these outstanding students,” said Dominic DelliCarpini, Naylor Endowed Professor of Writing Studies and dean of the Center for Community Engagement at York College. “The mentors invest a tremendous amount of time and expertise in advising these students.”

Professor Jessie Moore leading a discussion at the 2019 Naylor Workshop

During the weekend-long workshop, students advance their own research projects by engaging in seminars on writing research, collaborating with teams of experienced scholars and peer researchers and crafting research artifacts during independent time. After sharing their ideas, their experience and their shared desire to make a difference as researchers, Naylor scholars return to their home institutions ready to complete their projects and share their findings in consequential ways.

McConnell’s research focuses on understanding readers’ attraction to clickbait. “The Naylor Workshop helped me refine my research idea for senior seminar and gave me strategies for continuing my research even after I graduate,” McConnell said. She will continue her project as part of her spring semester senior seminar in professional writing & rhetoric.

Myers’ research focuses on rhetorically effective delivery methods for sexual violence prevention training. Her Lumen/Honors research is mentored by Moore.

Hayden McConnell presents her research plans at the 2019 Naylor Workshop

“The Naylor Workshop was an intensive experience that allowed me to refine how I describe my research methods and gave me additional ideas for sharing and applying my results,” Myers said. “I think the Naylor Workshop is a great opportunity for undergraduate researchers in the discipline, and I hope other Elon students apply to attend in the future.”

Participants in previous workshops have presented their research at national professional academic conferences and a great range of community settings. After graduation, Naylor Scholars have joined graduate programs and professions where they can apply their expertise. It is expected that the 2019 Naylor Workshop Scholars will be similarly successful.

Attending the Naylor Workshop helps students become part of a network of undergraduates from varying institutions, who are guided by mentor faculty members. One of the real benefits of the Naylor Workshop is discussing one-on-one with writing researchers in writing studies to discuss research questions, methods, ethics, and applications. Participants also engage in intensive workshops to assess the quality of research, design a research question, and learn and practice qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Angela Myers presents her research plan at the 2019 Naylor Workshop.

DelliCarpini, the inaugural Naylor Endowed Professor in Writing Studies, oversees the conference. “We are fortunate to have a stellar group of students who are interested in diverse topics, many of which speak to key issues of access, social justice, literacy, and multi-modal composing,” DelliCarpini said. “We have students interested in writing across various disciplines, tutoring in writing centers, and writing outside of the classroom. They are passionate about their topics, and over the three-day workshop, they move from research question to poster presentation. Over the past five years, the quality of this work has increased exponentially. They are truly the future of our discipline—but also, through this work, its present.”

For more information about the Naylor Workshop and to consider application for the 2020 event, see this website. This workshop is suitable for undergraduate students of any major who are interested in developing and conducting research projects to expand knowledge and improve practices in writing studies.