From the Writing Center to Utah, these peer consultants share their insights

A group of peer writing consultants from the Merrimack College Writing Center recently presented their research on tutoring at the National Conference on Peer Tutoring and Writing held in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“It was great to put myself in a position to use my public speaking skills and present my research,” said Emily Thomas ’16, of Bridgewater, Mass.

Thomas, a double major in bio-chemistry and secondary education; and Myriam Philitas ’17, of Stratford, Conn., an international studies major with a minor in religious and theological studies, presented a poster session on a new online tutoring program at the Writing Center.

Molly Malinowski ’17, of Malden, Mass., a human development and elementary education double major; and Caroline Urbanek ’17, of Concord, N.H., a health sciences major with a minor in public and professional writing presented their findings from a reflective journal project focused on the tutoring process during a 70-minute Power Point presentation. Ashley Widing ’17, of Charlton, Mass., majoring in mechanical engineering, also worked on the presentation but was unable to attend the conference.

“They killed it,” Thomas said.

Consultants at the Writing Center teach and encourage their peers, said the writing center’s Director Kathleen Shine Cain.

“Our purpose is to help students develop their own skills as writers instead of fixing class papers for them,” she said. “We engage them so they can make choices.”

Cain and Associated Director Erin Duffy Pastore chose the five after reviewing proposals submitted by the Writing Center’s peer consultants and then worked with the two teams to develop their presentations for the three-day conference.

“I think it was really interesting to see people from other schools, especially schools I’d never heard of, and hear what they had to say and compare notes about our writing centers,” Urbanek said.

The conference helped teach the students how to hold themselves to high standards, present data, and learn from research done by other schools to incorporate at Merrimack’s Writing Center, said Malinowski said.

“We have written up some great ideas we came back from the conference with and will be working with the director to incorporate those changes,” she said.

This was the second writing center conference Thomas has attended. 



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