Emily Holland ’22 presents Writing Center alumni research at multiple conferences this spring

Emily Holland, PWR and Strat Comm double-major and Writing Center consultant, presents research poster on the writing experiences of alumni who worked as Writing Center consultants at Elon.

Emily Holland has been busy. This spring, she will present the culmination of over three semesters of research at three conferences: TutorCon, the Undergraduate Research Poster Session at the Conference on College Composition and Communication, and Elon’s SURF Day.

A Professional Writing and Rhetoric and Strategic Communications double-major and a writing consultant in Elon’s Writing Center, in the Center for Writing Excellence, Emily focused her research of a section of data from a larger research project. This larger project, based on survey responses from approximately 130 Elon students and alumni, explored how campus-originated writing experiences prepare students for writing tasks, especially in the workplace. These campus writing experiences include writing courses, writing tasks for campus organizations, work-integrated learning (such as internships), and on-campus employment (such as Writing Center consulting). Findings from this larger study, which Emily conducted in collaboration with Julia Bleakney, Li Li, Jessie Moore, and Paula Rosinski, will be published this fall in Composition Forum.

For her own research, working with research mentor Julia Bleakney, Emily focused on the survey responses from participants who worked as undergraduate Writing Center consultants while at Elon. She analyzed responses to questions such as their most frequently composed types of writing, their writing process, and their most valued types of writing. In alumni’s references to the Writing Center in open-ended survey questions, Emily noted how alumni used particular Writing Center consulting techniques (such as reading aloud or explaining the writing process to others) in their workplace writing. Emily found that in their workplace writing, Writing Center alumni used techniques they learned directly in the Writing Center, such as collaboration and awareness of the revision process, and other techniques they learned through the intersection of their Writing Center work with other university writing experiences.

Writing Center consultants know that their Writing Center experience helps them develop their writing process, shapes how they perceive and value writing, and prepares them for the workplace interactions around writing; the Peer Writing Tutor Alumni Research Project is an important replicated study that confirms this value. Emily’s research helps show how writing center work combines with other university writing experiences to benefit consultants in the long-term.