WXII story features Elon Professional Writing and Rhetoric research project

Students in Michael Strickland's PWR 297 course worked with Smitty's Ice Cream to create a new chicken and waffles flavor for a research project.

A recent story by Winston-Salem, N.C., broadcast news station WXII featured a tasty research project by students in Elon’s Professional Writing and Rhetoric program.

In Lecturer in Environmental Studies and English Michael Strickland’s PWR 297: Writing as Inquiry course, students worked with Burlington-based Smitty’s Ice Cream to create a new chicken and waffles flavor. It debuted during an event Tuesday afternoon at both the Smitty’s downtown Elon location and the Moseley Center.

The inspiration for the new flavor stemmed from Erica Payne ’20 and her love of chicken and waffles.

“We had felt like, as a class, it would convert well into an ice cream because of the sweet and salty, and I think it worked out pretty well,” Payne told WXII.

The new flavor was part of a class research project meant to explore the increasingly popular trend of savory ice cream. Students surveyed customers before and after they tried the new flavor to study each person’s reaction to it, as well as how their perceived pickiness might impact their willingness to try savory ice cream.

Once students came up with the idea for the new flavor, Strickland took it to Smitty’s co-owner Amy Nakhle, who brought the idea to life. The flavor includes real chicken skin from the kitchen at Burlington Beer Works as well as waffles, caramel, maple syrup and browned butter. The new flavor is now in the test phaseand could one day become a regular at the area’s three Smitty’s locations.

To watch the WXII story, click here.

PWR 297 students are part of an ongoing assignment called the “Highway 64 Project” in which students travel across the state of North Carolina via Highway 64, which stretches from the mountains to the coast, experiencing new cultures and local foods. Students then write about their experiences for the Highway 64 blog.

Strickland’s Writing as Inquiry course is part of Elon’s Professional Writing and Rhetoric major, which aims to prepare students to be successful communicators in their daily lives and future professions. Learn more about the Professional Writing and Rhetoric program here.