From 2007 through 2011 I studied as an English major–concentration in professional writing– and political science minor. Listed below are selected assignments I feel best represent my work as a professional writer while studying at the university.
Political Science (POSC) 409 focuses on ethnic conflict and symbolism across the world. The following two papers represent theories in relations to the ethnic conflicts in Canada and Northern Ireland. The first upper level political science course I enrolled in at UD, POSC 409 enhanced my writing skills because during the semester I learned to write confidently and successfully in a non-literature-based course. I learned that successful writing is based not so much on one’s own analysis of material but on applicable comprehension of the material matched with the writer’s audience.
A cross-listed course between the English and Women’s Studies department, English 381 is a literature course that emphasizes women’s roles in drama. In 2011, one option for the last assignment English 381 (ENGL/WOMS 381) was to rewrite the a play from the semester’s reading list, of which I chose J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan.” This particular assignment stretched my writing abilities because I moved in a completely different direction from my usual style: analytical to literary. Until the completion of this assignment I never considered myself a creative writer; however, a good grade and numerous compliments on my choice of plot stir my desire to continue creative writing pursuits.
One of the major assignments for English 412–Business and Technical Writing–is for students to interview a University of Delaware alumni who is a successful professional writer. The completed interviews are published in Write Now!, UD’s alumni magazine. Morgan Prettyman, the future valedictorian of the English department’s class of 2011, and I interviewed Mr. Tony Varrato. An author of young adult novels, Mr. Varrato talked with us about the challenges of writing for teenagers, the techniques needed to complete well-written and attention-grabbing stories, and the feelings of accomplishments for winning prestigious awards among the genre’s best writers. Please see pages 3-4 for the Deshaies-Prettyman article, “Hooked on Books.”