Why Work Here
Writing Center staff alumni explain the value of working at the Writing Center for their future careers and work as well as their favorite memories of working at the Writing Center:
"My training at Duquesne's Writing Center prepared me to begin a career in teaching by providing an opportunity to assist a diverse range of students, and to work alongside consultants who were dedicated to learning how to teach. I quickly discovered that the Writing Center was a rare place where writing can be appreciated for its own sake, outside of the paradigm of evaluation. I am very happy to continue the work I started at Duquesne in my role as co-director of the Brandeis University Writing Center, where I work to preserve the Writing Center's unique energy."
--- Brenden O'Donnell, Co-Director of the Brandeis University Writing Center (Gumberg Library Satellite Location Coordinator and Undergraduate Consultant, 2009-2010)
"Not only is the consultant position excellent for developing problem solving, manuscript evaluation, and critical thinking skills (all of which are very necessary in Publishing/Editing Careers), but it also provides invaluable training in interpersonal communication and leadership. As a consultant, I learned how to work with writers to identity and remedy the issues within a text, rather than simply edit it. I also learned how to listen to writers and understand what kind of assistance they needed, adapting my tutoring strategies to suit their needs. This collaborative, empathetic approach to consulting sessions is a hallmark of the Writing Center, and it has been very helpful during group projects and meetings in my professional life. Most important, the Writing Center has taught me how to give constructive feedback and to develop the abilities that I see in others. This is an important skill in Publishing and Editing, but it is absolutely transferrable to any career that requires employees to work in teams or to interact with clients. Telling my interviewers about the Writing Center and the skills that I developed there sparked many interested questions, and it allowed me to showcase my potential as an employee, team member, and leader.
I also learned how to listen to writers and understand what kind of assistance they needed, adapting my tutoring strategies to suit their needs. This collaborative, empathetic approach to consulting sessions is a hallmark of the Writing Center, and it has been very helpful during group projects and meetings in my professional life."
--- Allison Keene, Editorial Assistant at Nature Communications (Undergraduate and Graduate Writing Consultant, 2012-2016).
"Working for three semesters at the Duquesne University Writing Center helped to greatly prepare me for professional and academic success. Serving as a Writing Center consultant prepared me to excel at a global public relations firm in New York City. By taking students throughout the writing process step-by-step, I learned to simplify complicated ideas. This skill translated to the practical ability of distilling a company's overarching message down to its essence, and presenting different iterations that resonated with diverse audiences.
Additionally, the foundation I developed at the Writing Center provided the direction necessary when I considered changing professions. I encountered first-hand the positive effects of services offered by student affairs, allowing me to ultimately make the decision to pursue a graduate degree in Higher Education Management. The fulfillment I experienced at Duquesne's Writing Center indicated that managing services that enhance student skills should be the focus of my next full-time career."
--- Katie Bennett, Ogilvy Public Relations (Writing Consultant, 2012-2014).
"Most importantly, perhaps, is the respect [working at the Writing Center] gave me for the writing process, how it's different for different people and how I can learn to work with those whose way of thinking is vastly different than my own."
--- Maggie Pavlick, Senior Communications Specialist, Swanson School of Engineering - University of Pittsburgh (Undergraduate Writing Consultant/Graduate Business Writing Consultant, 2012-2013).
"[Working at the Writing Center] improved my communication and interpersonal skills and made me a more effective instructor by helping me understand feedback and rubrics from the student perspective."
--- Marcie Rovan, Asst. Professor of English and Director of First Year Writing, Central Penn College (Writing Consultant 2008-2011, Asst. Director 2014-2016).
"It was so helpful to have a background working with different writing disciplines as I continued working with students and began writing more professionally in my research role. I think I became more critical of my own writing as well, and I did not hesitate to ask for feedback while I was writing my thesis for my Master's degree."
--- Kylie McGraw, Online Course Coordinator, Georgetown University (Writing Consultant, 2012-2013).
"As a Writing Center consultant, I learned the importance of a teacher being a facilitator, not someone who necessarily gives all the answers, but instead, someone who empowers students by giving them the tools and strategies to improve their work on their own."
--- Melissa Unger, K-2 STEAM Teacher, South Fayette Township School District (Undergraduate Writing Center Consultant, 2010-2012).
"Working in the writing center also helped me internalize the notion that writing isn't (or at least, doesn't have to be) a solo venture."
--- Lee Ann Glowzenski, Independent Scholar (Writing Consultant, 2004-May 2005; Assistant Director, 2008-2010; Acting Director, 2012).
"Holding the title of Assistant Director made me more attractive to the publishers who've since hired me on as an editor."
--- Jennifer Collins, Creative Writing Teacher, book editor and writing consultant (Writing Consultant & Assistant Director).
"Learning how to explain concepts that are often abstract to someone is a skill that has been extremely important to me as a teacher (especially a middle school teacher!)."
--- Maggie Long, 8th Grade Teacher (Writing Consultant, 2014-2015).
"In many ways, working at the Writing Center helped to prepare me for a career in the field of education as much as my college courses and student teaching experience did....From leaving feedback to consulting with individual students to assessing students on pre-writing, drafting, and peer feedback (instead of only the final draft), I can truly credit the Writing Center with inspiring all aspects of my instructional practice when it comes to the teaching of writing.
Helena [a student who met with me regularly] booked an hour-long appointment with me every day; however, what was at first an intimidating task quickly turned into something that I looked forward to every day. As Helena learned about the English language, I learned about being a tutor and even a friend. Over time she shared stories about her life in China, her professional goals, and her determination to overcome the under-estimation that others sometimes had of her. When Helena was finally finished with her dissertation, she scheduled one last appointment to say a tearful goodbye (she would be returning to China after completing her degree), and she gave me a thank-you note, commenting that unlike many of her professors or classmates, the Writing Center employees never made her feel embarrassed about her English language skills and the Center had become a safe place of composition and care."
--- Jacki Weaver, English Department Chair, Bishop Canevin High School (Writing Consultant 2011-2012)
Where are they now...
Former writing center consultant Brenden O'Donnell is co-director of the Brandeis Writing Center.
Shannon Small holds a legal writing position at Fragomen Immigration law firm