We work with writers from diverse disciplines--from Architecture to English, from Engineering to Music. In getting to know writers from across the university, we started the #WritersofKU and #thisiswhatawriterlookslike hashtags on social media to spread the conversation to other communities across the nation. Our goal with this series was to highlight the diversity, ingenuity, and perspectives of writers throughout the disciplines of the University.
Meet the writer: Bushra Obeidat. KU grad student, pursuing PhD in Architecture Design and Planning. Member of KU Writing Center Graduate Writing Group.
"My target in life is to be a researcher. I need to be confident in my ideas and in my writing, to be able to transfer that knowledge to my students. To be a professor, you must be a good researcher, but also a good writer as well. That is absolutely important. My focus is on education and building. So, what I am doing there is developing and applying design methodology in educational spaces. In my country, we don’t have this field of research though. I want to take this knowledge back to my country and spread that knowledge to my students. I am not very confident in my writing though. I believe the concept is clear in my mind, but I need to figure out how to explain that—how to transfer that idea onto paper. I see the Writing Center as a go-to place for me. Sometimes I feel I can speak to them and they can give ideas or hints on how to write my ideas on paper, to make them clear when they’re written down. I make an appointment every week and I’m part of a writing group. As a PhD student, we are isolated in our offices. You can find a space there at the Writing Center though to share your ideas, speak to others, and make friends."
Meet the writer: Ray Pence. KU faculty member, Department of American Studies. Lecturer focusing on the interdisciplinary study of disability and culture. Member of KU Writing Center Faculty Writing Group.
"Outside of my duties as a professor, writing is an essential life action and a very fulfilling way of processing my worldview and the worldviews of others. It's a way of reading and interacting with the world. I don't look for universals. Instead, I speak to a particular moment. When I write, I reach beyond myself to interact with a community. Storytelling, in this, is extremely important-- smaller stories that speak to larger narratives. I prefer to be a part of those conversations and narratives that promote social change. I want to be a part of the collective momentum. In that forward movement, I want to leave something behind for the future."
Learn more about Ray at http://americanstudies.ku.edu/ray-pence
Meet the writer: Jhenay Curry. KU undergrad, majoring in Biology with a neurobiology focus. AKA Sorority Vice-President. Lead Office Assistant at the KU Writing Center.
“I love making lists and being organized and writing things out. I will make a list for everything: things I have to do throughout the day, the application process and things required for it, just random things. I have notes on my phone and I use them all the time. I make myself study guides—really nice ones. I highlight all the things that I need in my lecture notes and then I’ll make study guides for my exams. It makes me feel better. It’s less stressful in the long run because I know my information is structured and organized. For my papers too, I hand-write everything. I physically move things around on the paper. I’ll circle things in different colors and move them around on the page. Then, I type everything out. After all that, I make a Writing Center appointment. If things don’t flow the right way, I will immediately change it. In my work with my sorority, it also requires that I be really organized with all my responsibilities. Working with membership, programs, as well as social media, I need to manage each of these commitments and balance them. My advice? Plan ahead. Make sure the things that you’re doing now will impact your life in a positive way.”
Meet the writer: Kien Nguyen. KU graduate student in Civil Engineering, focusing on transportation support structures. From Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
“Because I’m not a native English speaker,” Kien says of his writing process, “I just start with whatever I think in my mind, whatever works in English. Then I try to make that correct, then I try to polish the sentence. Many times, when I meet with a native speaker to help me correct a report, I learn that what I think is not natural in English and how to write more naturally in English. For instance, the structure is different than in my language. So I want to learn as much as I can about that.” If he could give a piece of advice to 10 people, Kien says: “Find balance between working, studying, and playing.” If he could give a piece of advice to 100 people, it would be this: “Do your best. Try as hard as possible, and do whatever you dream about. You’ll never know if you’ll get there if you don’t try—so just try.” And if he could give a piece of advice to 1,000 people, he would say this: “We are living. This is very good. So love it; enjoy your life.”
Meet the writer: Katie Batza. KU faculty member, Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Assistant Professor, focusing on the intersections of sexuality, health, and politics in the 20th-century US. Member of KU Writing Center Faculty Writing Group.
“My kid really loves stories, so we make up a lot of stories together and write them down. Sometimes we even build sets and props for them. So that’s the fun writing I do—but I think it actually helps with the academic writing. It gives you a lot of freedom and creativity. You have a child asking why, and suddenly you start thinking in the realm of possibility. Writing doesn’t have to be bounded by grammar and rules and expectations, and I think that’s very freeing and very cool, as both a scholar and a parent. “I totally geek out on the process of revision. I’m obsessed with the idea of reverse outlining. I think is is the tool to make your writing go from crappy/mediocre to good/great. It’s been transformative to me, and I preach it to everyone who will listen.”
Learn more about Katie at https://wgss.ku.edu/katie-batza.
Meet the writer: Angela Lindsey-Nunn. PhD candidate in the Department of American Studies at KU, studying epigenetic alterations linked to intergenerational trauma. Instructor at Haskell University and KU Writing Center consultant.
“When I was a little girl,” Angela says, “I was told that a good writer always writes. I took that to heart. So I write little love notes to my friends and family, I write in my journal, I write for myself. I do technical and academic writing; I do professional writing as a social worker and as a therapist. I write as a means of communication. But actually, I write to provide a voice for those who don’t always have one. That’s why I write. That’s mainly why I write.”
Meet the writer: Colin Roust. KU faculty member, School of Music. Assistant Professor of Musicology, focusing on music and politics, film music, and the composer Georges Auric. Member of KU Writing Center Faculty Writing Group.
“Musicologists are often bridges between the performance tradition and the writing tradition. One of my jobs is to help my students become better at writing and talking about music. Whenever I talk to my students about writing, I put it in terms of performance: as a musicologist, I perform not on stage (usually), but rather in writing, in the forms of conference presentations, pre-concert lectures, articles, books, and so on. I encourage everybody to treat writing as a performance—with all of the attendant expectations in terms of preparation. And like performance, writing is a social experience.” “I started off playing cello, then learned to play euphonium, and after that trombone and piano. Voice came along the way too. Right now I’m teaching myself to play the Chinese flute. In a lot of ways, it’s like learning languages: once you learn your first foreign language, it’s easier to learn the second, and then the third. In the process of learning the first instrument, you learn the language, the notes, the theory that informs it—and all of that translates over to the other instruments. After that, you’re really just learning technique.”
Learn more about Colin at http://music.ku.edu/colin-roust
Meet the writer: Charlesia McKinney. Graduate student at KU, pursuing an MA in rhetoric and composition, focusing on rhetorics of emotion and cultural rhetorics. KU Writing Center consultant.
“If I could give a piece of advice to a large group of people, I would ask this question: ‘Are you doing something in your life today that would have an impact 3,000 years from now?’ In many ways, I think we should live that way: that we should have a focus beyond our lifetime or even the next, but on what matters for many years to come.”
Meet the writer: Danny Caine. Grad student at KU, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing with a focus on poetry. KU Writing Center consultant.
“I write poems,” Danny says. “I usually try to write funny poems, or poems about sports teams from Cleveland, or poems about growing up secular Jewish in the bland Cleveland suburbs. But mostly funny poems.” Danny’s writing process is “usually fast, at least in the initial composition stages. I often start with a single line, or sometimes a title. Once I have at least one line plus a voice, it spills out pretty quick. I then spend days, weeks, or months tweaking it. Most of my revision involves cutting.”
If he could give one piece of writing advice, it would be this: “Don’t write anything you wouldn’t want to read.”
Meet the writer: Polo Camacho. KU grad student and teaching assistant in philosophy. KU Writing Center consultant.
“I interview myself in my car when no one’s in there. I pretend Oprah or someone is interviewing me and I respond to Oprah’s questions. Sometimes they’re real interview questions; other times not. Like “Why did you reach for an orange instead of the banana?” And I’ll say, “Well, Oprah, I think it’s because…” I’ll have these thoughts about really mundane events, just wonder about the little things. Maybe I’ll wonder, “well, why did you reach for that orange, Polo? You probably had a reason.” Then that always turns into Oprah’s voice.”
“In terms of real writing projects, I've been examining the problems and prospects of Causal Role Functionalism, a view which holds that the mental states are identified by their causal roles. My hope is to write a paper that evaluates David Lewis's response to the "Mad Pain/Martian Pain" objection to Causal Role Functionalism.”
Meet the writer: Anna Sidor. KU undergrad, majoring in Business with a minor in Chinese. KU Writing Center consultant.
“I have my own blog that is all about coffee. I was also a blog representative when I studied abroad in China, where I wrote about what I was doing each month. Recently I have been thinking about how I can utilize my language, culture, and writing skills to impact my future plans in the business world. Writing to me definitely acts as a way to bridge cultures. It is a way for people to see your perspective and think about things in a new way. Writing is especially important in international relations because it serves as a way to bring people from different backgrounds together.”
Meet the writer: Lu Wang. KU Graduate Student, Decision Sciences PhD Candidate. KU School of Business.
“I see writing as a way to transform my research so people can understand it. My logic comes from the Chinese way of thinking, so going to the Writing Center helps me find a way to put my research findings in a way that is easier to understand. Writing is important in the Business School. If you think about the Business field, you must be able to communicate with people from all backgrounds and business disciplines. Clear writing is essential to help those not in my field to understand my research. The Writing Center is helpful and beneficial to my research writing.
Meet the writer: Tori Cortez. KU Undergraduate Student, Creative Writing. KU Writing Center Consultant.
“One of my biggest dreams in life is to get something I'm really proud of published. It's an amazing thing to be able to write something you are genuinely satisfied with and be able to connect with someone through that writing. Writing to me is a connection; writing has that ability to make people see a point of view they wouldn't normally see. Writing is so important to me because it has affected my life in a big way. It acts as a way for me to communicate with and reach more people."