Seven St. John’s Students Accepted to
Present at Major Convention on College Composition
Reflecting St. John’s focus on undergraduate and graduate research,
majors have been selected to present their experiences as
University Writing Center tutors during a panel discussion they
will lead at the Conference on
College Composition and Communication (CCCC) this spring.
The students will present at the CCCC’s 64th annual convention in
Las Vegas on March 13–16, 2013. Entitled “Building Textual Bridges:
An Analysis of Artifacts Connecting the Writing Center to the
University Public,” their panel will draw from their experiences as
tutors and mentors in the Writing Center,
part of St. John’s Institute for Writing
“Acceptance of student submissions for the program is a noteworthy
achievement,” said Howard Tinberg, Ph.D., CCCC’s Associate Chair
and Professor of English at Bristol Community College. “Accepted
proposals were subjected to a two-stage, rigorous and ‘blind’
peer-review process. With nearly 1,800 proposals submitted,
competition this year was intense.” Founded in 1949, CCCC is the
largest professional organization devoted to teaching and scholarly
research related to composition.
The students are Alyssa Rae Hug ’13C, ’14G; Cassandra
Richardson-Coughlin ’12C, ’13G; and Sandra Nelson ’13C. Hug and
Richardson-Coughlin are in the B.A./M.A. dual degree program in
English. All three are tutors in the Writing Center and also have
served as Writing Fellows, paired with Faculty
Fellows to strengthen undergraduate composition in the
They are the first St. John’s undergraduates selected to present on
a CCCC panel, said
Anne Ellen Geller, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English and
Director of Writing across the
Curriculum, a program within the Institute for Writing
“It’s quite an achievement,” said Dr. Geller, who supervises the
writing and faculty fellows. “The organization has a highly
selective acceptance rate. That makes this panel’s selection all
the more notable.”
For the second year, the convention also will include a “poster
session” with St. John’s undergraduates. The presentation,
“Building Bridges to Professionalization,” will feature Pedro
Alfonso ’16C, Noshee Mahmood ’14C, Josephine Marescot ’14C and
Jonaki Singh ’14C. At last year’s convention, Hug was invited to
present in CCCC’s first undergraduate poster session.
In addition to demonstrating their own talents, the students’
participation reflects St. John’s emphasis on research at all
levels, said Harry Denny, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English and
Director of the University Writing Center.
“These terrific students represent the beauty of what happens when
undergraduates discover the excitement of research,” said Denny.
"Their success reflects the institutional culture of St. John's,
which promotes discovery and inquiry by supporting student-faculty
collaboration and engagement."
Hug brought her fellow panelists together. “After presenting last
year,” she said, “I wanted to take the next step.” She reached out
to other student mentors, asking whether they would like to join in
the discussion. “Sandra and Cassandra were as excited by the
opportunity as I was,” said Hug, who serves on the undergraduate
poster session’s coordinating committee. An undergraduate from the
University of Oklahoma also will present on the panel.
With Dr. Geller’s input, Hug, Richardson-Coughlin and Nelson
developed a proposal examining the ways that writing centers engage
campus communities — especially professors and students. They
combined original research with their own experiences as mentors
who assist clients individually, in groups and electronically.
“I’ve gained better insight into what the world of academia,
research and scholarship really involves,” said Hug.
For Richardson-Coughlin, this will be the first time she has
presented at a scholarly conference. “There’s so much I’m already
learning,” she said. “It’s an additional way to apply learned
academic skills in a professional setting.” Nelson sees it as yet
another way the Writing Center has enhanced her St. John’s
experience. “It’s made a huge impact on me,” she said. “It’s helped
me to develop as a writer, to strengthen my research — and to help
others with writing.”