Writing Center News

Evans Library Open House 1-3 on August 26th

Evans Library will be hosting a Gig 'Em Week Open House on Wednesday, August 26th from 1 to 3 p.m. Come by the library for games, free food, and a "Happy" T shirt, as you learn about library services. We'll be hosting a Graffiti Wall, where you can post your message to share with your fellow Aggies. Come by and write with us!

Faculty Workshop looks at visual communication

Visual communication will be the focus for this summer's UWC faculty workshop, set for Friday, July 10th.

The new TAMU core curriculum and the TAMU Undergraduate Learning Outcomes both call for greater attention to oral, written, and visual communication. The Eyes Have It: Teaching Visual Communication, a faculty workshop sponsored by the University Writing Center, will focus on teaching students to use visuals effectively in their own work.

We will meet in Evans Library, Room 211, from 8:30 am to noon on Friday, July 10. From the Department of English and the University Writing Center, Dr. Valerie Balester will cover the rhetoric of visuals and using visuals to support an argument; Dr. Sue Geller of Mathematics will cover helping students understand how to create accurate and ethical visuals and different ways to present the same data visually; and Dr. Shari Yvon-Lewis of Oceanography will cover how visual communication changes with different manners of presentation (such as papers, posters, and presentations) and for different genres or styles. The workshop is open to all faculty or graduate instructors; space is limited, however, so register now to reserve a space.  A light breakfast will be served.

Registration is now open.

UWC debuts new rap video: "Plagiarize"

Our latest music video explores the dangers of plagiarism. The UWC's own MC Grammar Punch teams up with his buddy Big Punz to help an Aggie writer avoid the plagiarist's world of sloppy citations, lazy notetaking, and inappropriate cutting and pasting--all in a musical homage to Notorious B.I.G.'s "Hypnotize": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWzhNyUAJvo

Aggie Voices 2015 Contest Winners Announced!

The University Writing Center is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Aggie Voices Writing & Video Contest for undergraduates.
Writing Division
“A Midday Train through Russia” by Ingabirano Nintunze, senior English major
Honorable Mentions:
“Does the End Justify the Means? Analyzing Dark Romanticism Using Wordsworth’s Critical Theory” by Krystal Watson, senior English major
“Signals and Compressive Sensing” by Nathan LaFerney, senior applied mathematical sciences major

Video Division
“Texas A&M University” by Patrick Hargrove, freshman general engineering major
(Watch Patrick’s video here.)

Honorable Mention: 
“Texas A&M Mountain Biking Promo” by Hunter Coleman, sophomore business administration major  (Watch Hunter’s video here.)

The winners were selected by the members of the W and C Course Advisory Committee. The winners of each division receive a $100 gift card to Amazon.com.

Entries to the contest could be on any subject, scholarly or creative, and from any discipline. Many entries were originally created for a class, although some were created specifically for the contest.

The winning entry in the writing division is a short story depicting a young boy’s magical train ride with a mysterious woman.

The winning video entry uses 49 time-dilated video images to create an evocative portrait of life on the Texas A&M campus. In the description he submitted with his entry, freshman Patrick Hargrove said his video was inspired by the 1982 film “Koyaanisqatsi,” known for its creative use of time-lapsed images. 

Regarding the winning writing entry, committee member Barbara Gastel, professor of Integrative Biosciences/Medical Humanities, said, “I found this story highly engaging. Features contributing to its success included skillful pacing, deft integration of real and surreal, and strong command of the mechanics of writing."

The Aggie Voices Contest, sponsored by the UWC, is an opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding communication skills of undergraduates at Texas A&M.

Gastel, who has also been a judge for the contest in previous years, described this as an "exceptionally fine group of entries, from an impressively wide array of disciplines. What a treat to read well thought out, well structured, effectively phrased writing in fields ranging from literary analysis to social science to mathematics!"

Our congratulations to the winners and our thanks to all those students who shared their work with us in this year’s contest.

Black Box Writers Residency debuts


The Black Box Writers Residency (BBWR), created by the University Writing Center, is accepting applications for its pilot program to be conducted in March.

The BBWR offers undergraduate creative writers at Texas A&M a unique opportunity to develop as writers and performers. Students accepted into the program will have the chance to hone a work of poetry or short fiction with the help of experienced creative writers. Then they'll practice their performing skills before giving a public reading of their work on the A&M campus.

The BBWR program, combining instruction in both writing and performing, is the first of its kind for undergraduates in the U.S.

Flo Davies, a UWC administrator and the program's creator, says this new intiative recognizes the relationship between writing and performing, a relationship that's increasingly significant given the growing popularity of poetry slams and open mic nights.

"It's important for writers to know how to present their work to an audience, to make it come to life in real time," Davies explains. "Plus, learning to perform a work—and perform it well—can give a young writer who otherwise likely works in isolation a huge boost of confidence."

Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, February 20th. Students interested in applying can learn more about the program and the registration process here.

Explorations accepting submissions

Undergraduate Aggies are encouraged to submit work to Explorations: the Texas A&M Undergraduate Journal. This is an excellent publication opportunity for undergrads engaged in scholarly work.

Articles should be of interest to a general audience and based on the student's own academic work. Proposals of no more than 250 words are due by Thursday, January 29th at noon and may be from any discipline. Group projects are permitted.

Work will be considered via a multi-stage review process. Those accepted for publication will appear in the Fall 2015 issue of Explorations. Creative pieces will be accepted until Wednesday, March 5th.

Full submission guidelines are available at tx.ag/SubmitToExplorations

UWC announces Aggie Voices Undergraduate Writing & Video Contest

The University Writing Center is sponsoring the Aggie Voices Writing & Video Contest, which recognizes outstanding work done by undergraduate at Texas A&M. Submissions can be on any subject (creative or scholarly) and can be created specifically for the contest or be work done for a class. The winners of each division (writing & video) will each receive a $100 Amazon.com gift card. Entries will be judged by the faculty members of the W and C Course Advisory Committee.

Students are allowed (and encouraged) to get help on their entries from the University Writing Center.

"We've been sponsoring this contest for several years now," said UWC Executive Director Valerie Balester. "We think it's a great way to recognize the excellent work being done by undergraduates at Texas A&M. We know we have talented and hard-working writers on campus, creating outstanding creative and scholarly work. And in the age of YouTube, students are also increasingly comfortable creating videos, whether for a class or just out of their own creative drive. So we have one division for writing and one for videos."

The deadline for submitting work is 5 p.m., on Tuesday, February 3. Winners will be announced in April. See full contest submission guidelines here.

"Can't Write This" video on USA Today's college edition

The UWC's latest rap video, "Can't Write This," made quite a splash yesterday, getting picked up by USA Today's college-focused website, college.usatoday.com. It was featured on the site's home page, as well as under their "Dare You Not To Smile" banner. The video was also released on all of the UWC's social media outlets, receiving more than 60 shares on Facebook.

A UWC consultant--a graduate student dubbed "M.C. Grammar Punch"--wrote the lyrics, to the tune of M.C. Hammer's "Can't Touch This," and also performed the rap. The video was shot on campus and highlights some prominent Texas A&M landmarks. Two other consultants are also featured in the video, which shows how a student, overwhelmed by a lengthy writing assignment, successfully completes his paper, thanks to help from a writing center consultant. The video was directed, filmed, and edited by UWC staffers. A slightly longer version of the video was also played for incoming Aggies at Fish Camp this past summer, as an introduction to writing center services.

You can watch the video here: http://youtu.be/5TrHskQZrjw?list=UUx4ZRP8E8UGV4poLm3HSeYQ

Welcome to the UWC's new website!

As you've probably noticed, our website now has a brand new look! The site still has all the same great content, but we've given everything a clean, fresh style and made it easier than ever to find what you're looking for.

Note: The address for the home page hasn't changed, but you may need to update your bookmarks for other pages.

Thanks to designer Alison Vellas for our new look, Adrian Salazar and his colleagues at PITO for their many hours of work getting things up and running, and UWC administrator Lauren McAuliffe for the painting that graces our home page.

Maroon & Write Drawing celebrates Undergraduate Studies Week

From September 15th until midnight September 18th, Aggie undergrads can enter to win one of 10 great prizes in our 2nd Annual Maroon & Write Drawing.

Grand Prize: Kindle Fire HD Tablet
First Prize: Kindle Paperwhite E-reader

In addition, 4 lucky undergrads will win a Mr. Coffee Programmable Coffeemaker and 4 others will win a Calendar White Board.

Aggie undergrads can stop by the UWC to enter or enter online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/maroonandwrite2014.  Students can also stop by our table at the MSC's 12th Man Hall from 1 to 4 p.m., September 17th and 18th to sign up. 

Winners will be announced Friday, September 19th. You must be an Aggie undergrad with a valid UIN to win. Entries must be received by midnight, September 18th.
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