Writing Center consultants learn as they help others - Dec 17, 2012 - University News - UW-Superior News and Events

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Writing Center consultants learn as they help others

Posted on Dec 17, 2012
Students who work at the Writing Center guide fellow students while becoming better writers themselves.
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Writing consultants Caio Santos and Caity Daudt compare notes on a project. Caio, from Vitoria, Brazil, just graduated. Caity, from Backus, Minn., is majoring in biology and broad field science.

Writing consultants Caio Santos and Caity Daudt compare notes on a project. Caio, from Vitoria, Brazil, just graduated. Caity, from Backus, Minn., is majoring in biology and broad field science.

By Elizabeth Reichert
University Relations student writer

They know more than where to put a comma and when to use italics. They can help with a paper gone wrong or a hodgepodge of ideas lacking a sense of direction.

They're consultants at UW-Superior's Writing Center, but they're also students who are learning more about writing every day.  

"As a writer, I constantly just learn new ways people think about writing and new ways I can incorporate into my own writing," said Emily Hammersborg, a senior majoring in history.  

They're guides

Jessica Schlauderaff, a junior majoring in computer science and business administration, agreed.  

"A lot of people think we know everything there is to know about writing, but the truth is, we don't," she said. "We're almost a guide position. We don't tell people what to do. I look things up."  

Reba Buczynski, a sophomore majoring in biology, chemistry, and broad field science, said her role as a consultant depends on what level of guidance a client is seeking. Typically, a client knows that something is wrong, wants another set of eyes to look over the paper, or is completely lost.  

"If they're completely lost, I have them talk through what they're writing about and see if it matches up on paper," Buczynski said. "If they want to work on one specific thing, you zone in on that particular thing, and then you have to zone out everything else unless it's something else that's a major issue."  

Fostering a culture of writing

The Writing Center's goal is to engage UW-Superior students in conversations about their writing  to help them become more thoughtful and engaged writers. It's part of the Writing Across the Curriculum program, which aims to foster a culture of writing on campus.

While Writing Center consultants spend the majority of their time in consultations with students, their job involves more than that. They also are responsible for creating a safe and comfortable environment by greeting clients and helping them get past pressures they're feeling before they work on their writing.  

Writing Center consultants give the low-down on punctuation marks.

Consultants also take part in training sessions in areas such as proper formatting and different learning styles in addition to working on special projects to create awareness of the writing center on campus and to decorate the center itself.   

Learning on the job         

Although their role helps other students with their writing, consultants say they learn a lot from the job.            

"As a writer, a very valuable lesson I learned is that writing isn't static; there are always new ideas and styles that writers need to be aware of in order to stay current," said Caio Santos, a senior majoring in international business. "This experience has greatly enhanced my passion for writing and for languages, generally speaking."            

Buczynski has found working at the Writing Center to be helpful with her own writing but enjoys the job for other reasons as well.            

"When I'm really able to help somebody, it makes it all worth it," she said. "When they're so confused, and you walk through with them and they say, 'I know what I'm going to write now,' it's so inspiring."            

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