Category Archives: Student Perspective

PWR Social Media Internship Reflection: Spring 2020

The Journey

Emily HollandMy journey as the PWR Social Media Intern has been educational and helped me to grow both personally and professionally, but honestly, it’s been a bit strange. To start, I actually applied for the internship a whole year before I got the position. I heard about the internship in my PWR 215 class during my first semester in college (Fall 2018), and I thought that I might as well apply for the spring. The PWR faculty chose a more experienced student for the internship that semester, which I expected, and told me that I would probably be a good candidate in about a year. And almost exactly a year later, I was asked to take over the position for Spring 2020.

Going into the internship, I expected that my faculty advisors (Dr. Moore and Dr. Li) would give me tasks with lots of specifications so that I would only create content that reflected well on the PWR program. So, I was surprised by how much creative control I was allowed over my work. I read over an internship handbook that is still in progress, but for the most part, I was allowed to develop my own plan for posting content. I researched what had already been posted on the PWR accounts and contacted the previous intern for some tips, and then I put all my ideas into a big planning document.

The previous intern said that Instagram was the best platform for getting information out about the PWR program, so I focused mostly on updating that profile to reflect a positive image for the program. Most of my regular Instagram posts were posted to Facebook and Twitter as well, but I spent more time using Instagram’s interactive story features and sharing posts from related accounts to the @elonpwr story (mostly from the English Department and the Writing Center–those accounts also shared my posts on Facebook, which created more traction on that platform). I also updated the @elonpwr Instagram bio so that it would better encapsulate what the PWR program is about at a glance.

Besides working on updating the PWR program’s image on social media, I also wanted to ensure consistency in posting, which seemed to have been lacking for a while. So, I designed graphics that fit with two series scheduled across all three platforms every week: #MondayMotivation and #WeeklyWord (posted on Wednesday to maintain the alliteration). When major PWR events happened this semester, like Fall 2020 course registration and SURF Day, I created series of posts that showcased each course and each research presentation. I also made a list of other ideas for intermittent posts, like internship ads, interviews with PWR students and faculty, and photos from class visits and research conferences.

However, my ability to execute my ideas shifted dramatically when the COVID-19 pandemic moved classes online. Besides the general challenges of adjusting to working from home, several of my “great” ideas no longer worked. Getting interviews became extremely difficult, I couldn’t visit classes that weren’t meeting in person, and internships and conferences had been cancelled. Even the two major events required a new approach to promote. So, I posted about the internships that I could still find, started doing the aforementioned interactive Instagram stories more often, added video links to the SURF Day posts, and put the rest of the ideas in my back pocket for when campus reopens next semester and I return to the internship. That’s right, I’ll be back as the PWR Social Media Intern next semester, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Advice for Future Interns

Even though I’m continuing with the PWR Social Media Internship for another semester, I’ll eventually need to be replaced, and I’d give it a 10/10 recommendation for any PWR major or PWS minor. I think the biggest pieces of advice I would give are these:

  1. Ask for advice from your faculty mentors when you need it, but you’re more prepared to make and execute your own plan than you think you are.
  2. Be flexible! You may not have to deal with a pandemic changing everything the way I did, but some of your ideas still might not work. And that’s okay. Always have a plan, a backup plan, and an open mind.
  3. Work hard, but have fun. You’ll run into problems sometimes, but you can fix them or work around them and get back to letting your creativity flow.
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PWR Student Spotlight: Hayden McConnell

This week’s student spotlight features PWR senior Hayden McConnell! Hayden is from Mobile, Alabama and is minoring in Digital Art and Multimedia Authoring in addition to her PWR major. She was eager to share her many experiences with internships and research in PWR as she looked back on everything the program has taught her over the past four years.

How/why did you decide to major in PWR?

I didn’t start off in PWR–I actually started as a psych major. When I figured out that psychology wasn’t for me, I decided to pick up PWR because I’ve always loved writing and communication and knew the major would help me strengthen those existing skills and interests.

Which PWR class that you’ve taken has been your favorite and why?

Feminism in Rhetoric [PWR 313]. This class has only been offered once (and I hope they reinstate it!), but it was one of my favorite classes because we analyzed a topic that is not typically associated with rhetoric through a rhetorical lens. It made me think a lot about how versatile rhetoric is and how important strong rhetorical skills are when you are discussing topics that are so heavily prevalent in politics. 

Have you had a writing-related internship? If so, where was it, and what was your work there like?

I’ve actually had two previous internships and am currently working at my third. All of them incorporated writing in some aspect, but the one I’m doing now is one of the more exciting and challenging ones. I am working as a PR assistant at a large company (Market America) and am responsible for writing a variety of things such as press releases, product articles, interview articles and more. I’m so glad I have the experience and adaptability PWR gave me to be able to learn how to write in various styles because this internship requires a lot of that. 

Have you done writing-related research? If so, what was it about, and did you present it anywhere?

I’ve completed a semester of research with Dr. Paula Rosinski regarding the WEI Initiatives and their effectiveness, and I’m currently doing another semester of research with Paula again in which I am putting together guidelines and branding material for a PWR Online Journal. While my first semester of research was enlightening and helpful, I am excited about my current research because I feel like it’s giving me the opportunity to leave a footprint in the major and get what hopefully becomes a helpful asset started for them.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned from PWR?

Adaptability by far is the most valuable thing PWR has taught me. If you’re able to understand and execute rhetorical skills, it opens up a lot of opportunities because it provides you with the confidence that even if you don’t fully understand something…you have the skills to accomplish what you put your mind to. 

What is your favorite thing about the PWR program?

I enjoy the connection with my professors because I feel like they are all very approachable and more than willing to help you out. I think the PWR environment is great at stimulating creativity and always pushing you to work on your goals.

What do you think you want to do after you graduate from Elon?

I really don’t know where I’ll be right after Elon, but I’m not too worried about it at the same time because I know the past four years I’ve spent here shaped me into someone who is capable of challenging myself and going after what I want.


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PWR Student Spotlight: Emily Holland

Professional Writing & Rhetoric’s student spotlights are back with a new social media intern! My name is Emily Holland, and I’m a sophomore at Elon double majoring in PWR and Strategic Communications with a minor in Spanish. I have a lot of ideas in the works for social media and blog content for this semester, including these spotlights. So, I decided to answer the spotlight questions myself to start the spotlight series and allow readers to get to know me a little better.

How/why did you decide to major in PWR?

I applied to Elon knowing that I wanted to study something related to writing. I loved all things writing-related in high school, and my English teachers always gave me good feedback on my work. Despite my love for creative writing, I wanted to graduate with skills that would probably give me a better chance at a stable job. I liked the idea of being part of Elon’s amazing communications program and then studying English with a PWR concentration to supplement my training in writing, but when PWR was elevated to major status during my first year, I became even more excited about the opportunities I could have in that program of study.

Which PWR class that you’ve taken has been your favorite and why?

I took ENG 319: Writing Center Workshop as one of my PWR electives during my second semester at Elon, and I fell in love with working at the Writing Center and everything that goes along with consulting. I also enjoyed the class projects that allowed me to learn more about different genres of writing and strategies for revising.

Have you had a writing-related internship? If so, where was it, and what was your work there like?

This is my first internship–I’m running the blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts for the Professional Writing & Rhetoric major for the 2020 spring semester.

Have you done writing-related research? If so, what was it about, and did you present it anywhere?

I’m part of a team of three students and three professors who are researching how students’ writing experiences at Elon transfer to the workplace. We’re currently in the data analysis phase of the project, and I’m working on applications to present the results at conferences in the fall.

Do you have any other relevant experiences/interests that you’d like to mention?

I’ve had a personal blog for two and a half years and still post on it every week.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned from PWR?

I’ve learned that writing can come in a variety of forms, including multimedia pieces. The amount of genres of writing that exist keeps increasing with new technology, and the definition of writing isn’t just words on a page anymore.

What is your favorite thing about the PWR program?

I love that the professors all take the time to get to know students and reach out to them with opportunities that would be a good fit for that student. I also like the emphasis on research–I originally didn’t think that I would do undergraduate research because I wasn’t a science major, so the idea that I’m preparing to present at conferences and contribute to a published journal article is still kind of surreal but incredible.

What do you think you want to do after you graduate from Elon?

I’m not entirely sure yet (I’m only a sophomore!), but I think that I either want to work in public relations, technical writing, or editing/publishing. Maybe I’ll do creative writing on the side and someday publish a bestseller and quit my day job. If not, I’ll probably go back to school and eventually teach at a college so that I can train a new generation of writers.


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Writing Science

by Carey Spence

Writing Science students in CUPID, collaborating on a project.

You might be thinking, what does science have to do with writing? The answer: a lot! From writing lab reports and research findings, to popular science news articles, communication is a key component of scientific disciplines. To give students an intro to writing in a scientific context, one course available is Professor Michael Strickland’s writing science class. Students in this class work on a variety of projects in order to hone their skills in writing for science publications.

To give you a closer look into the class, I interviewed Professor Strickland’s current students, both professional writing majors and minors and students outside of the discipline. The current project they are working on is understanding how science writers are using rhetorical strategies in a popular science novel of their choice. The second part of the project is to pick a topic in popular science and write an article for publication.

According to junior Abby Fuller, what she loved about this project was the ability to pick a novel of her choice and learn key rhetorical strategies for science writing. The author of the novel she picked, David Wallace-Wells, was not a scientist, so he had to spend more time building ethos to be a credible source on climate change in his book The Uninhabitable Earth.

Professor Michael Strickland consulting with a student while another works on revisions.

Senior Olivia Jung also had an interesting perspective on the class itself. As a science major and professional writing minor, Olivia wanted to bring both disciplines together in a way that was different than just writing lab reports and formal presentations of information and findings. She was particularly interested in science writing in a creative way. This class allowed her to learn what goes into writing for popular science news sources and publications. In a similar thread, senior professional writing major, Ashley Andrews, followed this up with specific skills students learn in the science writing class. Because Ashley wants to work in the technical writing field, she needed to learn ways to present technical, complicated information to a general audience. Ashley called this the ability to “translate” scientific information to an audience with little to no scientific background.

Science writing is a class that truly exemplifies the claim that professional writing is a highly diversified liberal arts program. Students from a variety of academic backgrounds have taken this class in order to bridge the gap between technical fields and writing. If you are looking to add an interesting class to your schedule, consider taking science writing when it’s next available!


Carey Spence is the 2018-2019 social media intern for Professional Writing & Rhetoric. Carey is double majoring in English Literature and Strategic Communications, with a minor in Professional Writing.

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My Experience as the PWR Social Media Intern

by Carey Spence

How I Started

I first started working as the Professional Writing & Rhetoric major’s social media intern in September. In order to become acclimated to the role, my initial work included familiarizing myself with the website, CUPID blog, and the social media. Because Professional Writing and Rhetoric just recently became its own major separate from the English major, I needed to understand all that this switch entailed. After acclimating myself with the tone and overall brand the major embodies, I then needed to make a plan for the content I wanted to create and share. After meetings with Dr. Li and Dr. Pope-Ruark, as well as communicating with the previous intern, I had a plan in place to effectively communicate as the Professional Writing intern.

What I Did

My overarching plan for the Professional Writing and Rhetoric department’s social media was to focus on engagement. While there was already content on both the Twitter and Instagram accounts, engagement was not very high. However, after meeting with Dr. Pope-Ruark, we decided that the main focus should be on the Twitter account. With this in mind, my research for content was strategically informed. I wanted to share information that was useful to my audience, with the goal of getting more engagement on tweets — retweets, comments, and likes — and moreover, expanding the account’s reach.

One of the ways I focused on engagement with the Twitter account was by tweeting at different departments. The purpose of this was to establish relationships with these other departments so that they would retweet the content I was pushing. I emphasized the Professional Writing and Rhetoric program as a major that supplements other majors such as business majors and liberal arts majors.

In this regard, I also placed a lot of emphasis on the benefits of the program. Many Elon students have never even heard of Professional Writing and Rhetoric, and therefore don’t know much about the program. I tweeted articles about the importance of writing and communication skills and snippets from the website that promote this program as applicable to all career paths. Everyone needs to learn how to effectively communicate, so why not become an expert?

For the overarching theme of engagement, one of the ideas for content I had was to reach out to alumni in order to get testimonials for both Instagram and Twitter, as well as for the CUPID blog. While it’s nice for me to say that the Professional Writing and Rhetoric program is beneficial to any career, it means a lot more to hear it from people who are actually in the workforce, putting these skills to use. Including testimonials from alumni builds the program’s overall ethos.

My Advice

My main advice for future interns, both in this position specifically and for interns in general, is to come into any task with a specific plan. Coming up with content for the social media could have been a daunting task, but when I planned out how I wanted to approach the week, or even just that specific day, it was easier for me to think back on my goal (increasing engagement) and make decisions strategically.

Another piece of advice when it comes to social media specifically is to remember the social aspect. If I wanted other people and accounts to interact and engage with the content I was producing, I had to be willing to do that myself. Just liking photos on Instagram from other accounts went a long way in increasing engagement. I also found that retweeting other departments’ tweets made them more likely to retweet mine. In fact, just liking other accounts’ tweets led to an alumni sending me content that she thought my audience would want to see, making my job easier. Thinking strategically and building relationships are my two key pieces of advice when communicating.


Carey Spence is the 2018-2019 social media intern for Professional Writing & Rhetoric. Carey is double majoring in English Literature and Strategic Communications, with a minor in Professional Writing.

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How To Market Yourself: Resumes

Guest Blogger Rebecca Porter ’16

As previously discussed in the last CUPID blog post (link here) how you market yourself is important, especially when trying to tap into the professional world. Yet, there is more than one way to do this. After surveying PWR alumni, I have described the top answers I’ve received: well-written resumes, and portfolios such as personal blogs or websites. Other answers that were common were social media outlets, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, and spreadsheets.

Let’s begin with resumes. Resumes show future employers your skill sets and qualifications. Many reviewers do not spend a lot of time looking over resumes so it’s important to stand out but also customize your resume to the job you are applying for. Miranda Allan ’15 states, “I also start by highlighting my skills/projects in a separate column, which I plan to revise according to whatever job I’m applying for. I’m trying to abide by the ‘30 seconds or less’ rule of thumb.” Quickly glance over your resume; does your document match what the employer is looking for? The job application will specifically reference skills that they would like a future employee to have and it’s important that you add those into your resume. Ellen Fraser ’14 calls these “buzz words” and says, “I have a different resume for every single job I’ve ever applied to.” Hillary Dooley ’14 further adds onto this idea by stating, “The easier it is for the reader to make the connection between the experience on your resume and the job description, the better. An effective resume is well organized, tailored to the job, and includes a few visually appealing elements.” If you need help thinking of “buzz words” these are the common terms used to do so:

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 12.04.26 PM

For instance, here are two resumes from successful PWR alumni, Ellen Fraser ‘14 and Michael McFarland ‘12. At first it might be easy to notice the difference in colors and font, but also notice the difference in content.

Michael McFarland ResumeMichael explains his resume saying, “It is concise and highlights qualities that District Attorneys and criminal defense lawyers look for. My interest section is also very helpful in marketing myself. I used to be against having an interests section, is a good way of showing a more complete picture of myself. I have now had multiple interviews where people brought up my interests section and it seems like a good way to get a conversation started in an interview. The interests I selected help show my strengths as a lawyer as well.”

Ellen states, “it helps on your resume when you are listing your responsibilities to say what the purpose of your responsibility was…(i.e. held events in order to get attendees excited about your organization’s mission…)” to make sure you are setting yourself apart in the field that you are applying to.

Ellen Fraser Resume_Page_1

Ellen Fraser Resume_Page_2Therefore with resumes, context is everything.

Another important aspect to keep in mind is visual rhetoric. Generally alumni agreed to try to keep your resume at the length of one page but of course there are exceptions to the rule. But personal branding is important. The choices you make in font and color matter. Rhetorically ask yourself of the decisions you are making and the reasons why you are picking certain colors and laying out your information in a specific order. Remember peer feedback? Alumni continuously say that they still find value in peer editing because it is helpful to have another pair of eyes looking at a document.

Want to know how to create an effective website or blog? Read my next post to find out.

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An Intro to PWR Student Explores SURF

Guest Blogger Meara Waxman ’19

Color scheme, organization of text, and images: all of these aspects are important to consider when creating a rhetorically effective poster and presentation. As I milled around the different posters lining the Great Hall and Elon’s SURF Day (Student Undergraduate Research Forum), I started to notice that the most complicated posters did not always turn out to be the most rhetorically effective.

poster1First, I saw that the scientific presenters often filled their entire poster with words and complicated graphs. As shown in the image to the right, it was difficult to pull out the most important information. Even as my eyes were naturally drawn to the images in the top right-hand corner, I could not immediately tell what the image was supposed to depict. The issue was not that the information was too technical, just that there was too much information on the page. Since the presenter was also speaking about the topic, I felt that this poster, while informative, could have been more effective if it had used the text to highlight the main points instead of summarizing all of the research.

poster2I saw another poster that also had a lot of information condensed onto a small space, but this one worked a little better because of the systematic color scheme. In the image on the left, the author chose green to highlight the section titles, and she outlined the bottom in a transparent green to continue the theme. Since her presentation was on photosynthesis, the color choice was not only relevant, but it also served to emphasize the topic of the poster. This visual presentation did a really good job of incorporating the contrast and repetition elements of the C.R.A.P principles of graphic design because of the green color and the consistent section headers. However, this poster did have a scatterplot right in the middle of the page, which cluttered up the central focus point of the poster and distracted from the highlighted bullet points.

The final poster that I will bring into my discussion is a poster that addressed all of the C.R.A.P principles (contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity). Compared to the other posters I discussed above, this poster (left) seemed rather simple. However, this simplicity actually enticed more audience members because it was not too overwhelming. The text and images aligned nicely and complimented each other well. Additionally, the format of the text was repeated throughout the poster, which kept the visuals consistent.

poster3The most rhetorically interesting part of the poster, however, required the viewer to pay careful attention. At first, I thought that this poster did not do a good job with repetition because the colors of the text were different for every section, and I did not understand the reasoning behind that decision. However, upon closer inspection, I realized that the colors of the text came from the different colors of the map about Senegalese migration. This rhetorical decision subtly highlighted the map and drew attention to the most important features of the image.

Overall, I was extremely impressed with the SURF presentations that I saw, and I am excited to hopefully become a presenter in the next few years. Seeing the posters today and noticing which elements made the posters rhetorically effective helped me understand the importance of making a poster visually appealing as well as academically engaging. Perhaps not everyone who looked at the posters realized that the rhetorical decisions of the presentation made the difference between what they considered “good” and “bad” posters, but those choices were still important underlying elements. In other words, the rhetorical language gave the posters the extra push they needed to be engaging, effective, and appealing.

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How To Market Yourself: Alumni Perspective

Guest Blogger Rebecca Porter ’16
(Written May 2016)

It’s almost one month until graduation. One month. But who’s counting, right? Well, if you’re a senior you might be, or you might be swimming in cover letters, resumes, and prepping other materials to send out to future employers. But what does life look like after graduation? How do you market yourself to set yourself apart from the rest of the bunch? Sometimes it’s hard to see the overall picture so I’ve decided to do a little research for those that are concentrating in professional writing and rhetoric by reaching out to PWR alumni who have been bridging the gap between their concentrations and the professional world. Their answers have me hopeful and after reading the next few blog posts that CUPID has dedicated to this, you should be too.

I have surveyed 20 alumni who have generously allowed me to pick apart their brains to answer my questions about the best strategies they use to market themselves and the platforms in which they do so. To break down their responses I’ve incorporated a couple of charts to showcase different aspects of their answers, but I have also themed the blog posts. So, to start, I am just going to give an overview of the findings. The next posts will be more in depth about resumes, websites and portfolios, and advice from an Elon PWR alumni perspective.

So, why is this important? To understand how to be effective Regardless, as PWR concentrations we realize that context is everything, and from the chart below we also realize that there are a lot of different contexts that we could be engaging with after we graduate.

Industries in Which Professional Writing and Rhetoric Alumni Have Been Employed/Currently Employed

Type of Industry # Of Jobs (N=71)
Education 3
Technical and scientific communication 2
Publishing, broadcasting 4
Service (healthcare, retail, food) 4
Management, business, financial, legal services 14
Community and social services 9
Marketing, advertising 3
Social media, web design, other media 5


So, what does this mean? Your first job is not going to be your only job. If you don’t believe this study please refer to this, which discusses similar findings for technical communicators. The idea of switching jobs can be scary for some and reassuring to others. Yet, being able to understand that the materials you create and the ways in which you market yourself depend on the context in which you are attempting to engage with is vital.

So, if a job looks interesting to you, and you think that you are qualified, apply. Unsure about resumes and other materials used to market yourself? Don’t worry, I’ve got you cover in the next post to come.

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An Intro to PWR Student Visits the PWR Capstone Showcase

Guest Blogger Meara Waxman ’19

As soon as I walked into the CUPID studio to see the Professional Writing and Rhetoric seniors present on their capstone research, I was completely blown away. I especially noticed that a lot of the students incorporated several forms of multimedia into their projects, which just added another level of depth. In our Intro to PWR class, we talked about the importance of not only creating multimedia and multimodal products, but also maintaining an appropriate balance in the forms of media one chooses.

maggieOne example of this impressive multimedia format was a student who researched stress levels related to undergraduate research in Honors and College Fellows. Just looking at the poster itself was really cool because of the author’s rhetorical design decisions; she printed had poster with a bulletin board background and each section of the poster looked like it had been taped or tacked onto the board in the typical bulletin board style. Additionally, the pieces of paper looked just like notebook paper, right down to the frayed edges from ripping the lined paper out of the spiral notebook.

I have seen this type of design multiple times in PowerPoint presentations and picture montages, but the design worked well here because of the topic of the research. The author was looking at stress levels of students doing research, so she had a very specific audience, and she catered well to that audience. The frayed pieces of paper made the project relatable for her audience because all of the students have experienced that frantic feeling of ripping sheets out of their notebooks. Additionally, the handouts gave the impression that they had been crumpled and then smoothed out again, and stressed students conducting undergraduate research could most likely relate.

Finally, the author realized that she needed to take advantage of a medium that her audience would actually use, so she created a website. Her online site offered a step-by-step process for thesis research, and she divided it up for College and Honors Fellows. The website also ensured that her project would be out there for future students who need help in their research process.

magsAnother project that incorporated multimedia was a project entitled “The Beat Lives On.” The first element that struck me when I looked both at the poster and at the website was the blue and white theme. If I was doing the project, I probably would have chosen a white background with blue lettering, but this author did the opposite, and it made the text pop out much more.

I was also really interested by the section of the poster that talked about re-imagining the product and actually displayed a picture of the storyboarding. First, this aspect showed the process of the research instead of just the end product, which added more context to the project. Second, it also admitted the original weaknesses of the project, which encouraged audiences to respect the end result even more. I was also very impressed by the website, which, in addition to being interactive, also incorporated video, audio, and images. The most astounding part of the website was how well all of the elements worked together, making each method of communication relevant and important to the project.

mirandaFinally, I looked at a project that dealt with a rhetorical analysis of feminist propaganda. This project was interesting because it compared posters from different waves of feminism, and the author also created her own propaganda visuals based on the effective elements that she had discovered. I thought this research was very interesting, but compared to the other projects, a multimedia element was noticeably absent. Perhaps the author could have created a slideshow with all of the different visual propaganda that she analyzed. I also would have liked to see a clearer juxtaposition between the different rhetorical elements in the posters she analyzed. It was hard to learn about the actual research because I was so focused on looking at the images of the propaganda.

It was especially interesting to compare the SURF presentations with the capstone ones. Overall, these projects were all incredible, and I was so glad that I got the opportunity to see them!

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The Senior Portfolio: Looking Back to Look Forward

Guest Blogger Jordan Stanley ’17

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 11.32.19 AMThere are two hallmarks that many if not most Professional Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) majors can agree come with being an upperclassmen in this major: 1) you are beginning your senior portfolio, and 2) this reminds you that you will soon be graduating and entering the real world. Although the second can be both fear- and anxiety-inducing, with the help of CUPID studio, the first can ease some of that apprehension.

The idea of finding a career after college is both daunting and exciting, and as someone who absolutely wants to make sure she has a job upon graduation, I will do anything in my power to hedge my bets. Part of this is making an online portfolio. Elon, along with most authorities on job search advantages, recognize that it is crucial for students and young professionals alike to have portfolios for a variety of reasons, including evidence of talent and having credibly work readily available to potential employers. In our digital age, this makes complete sense, but still—imagine how overwhelming the task can seem. As a student, I have been working toward very tangible goals since the first grade, those goals being the next level of scholarship: high school, college. Now I’m supposed to sum up those 15 years of effort and the past four years of work toward my English degree with a few select documents? Questions begin flying through my mind: Which documents? Have I done enough? How can I make sure the employer understands what I am capable of? CUPID studio has begun to help me answer these questions.

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 11.32.29 AMAs I began the process of developing my portfolio, I realized I felt so overwhelmed because I was asking the wrong questions. We have been working on portfolios for a few weeks now in the class, but still have not officially selected which documents will be included. This is because the process begins before a website is made or writing assignments are compiled. It begins with you. One of the first assignments we were given in CUPID studio was to write a personal identity statement and answer a few questions about ourselves. These questions spoke to personality, professional skills, strengths, weaknesses, and preferences. Our identity statements should encompass who we are as academics and professionals, both in our own minds and perhaps even how others perceive us. We also had to describe our target audience for the portfolio, which ended up—for me—being one of the most important areas of preparation. How could you build a portfolio if you don’t know who is going to read it or whom you are trying to show them? It turned out I still wasn’t sure.

Although I am still trying to figure out exactly who my audience is for my portfolio—meaning who I could imagine myself working for—I have really gotten to know myself better throughout this process. Through listing my hard skills, soft skills, and other professional tendencies and prowess, I feel that I am far better equipped to testify as to why I can be an asset to an employer. Currently, we are working on revamping our resumes (samples shown below), which will be included in the senior portfolios, and beyond visual changes, I have been able to articulate my job experience and skills in a much more specific and impressive way. Knowing what I have to offer has also helped the process of choosing what should go in my portfolio. Because each document will be accompanied by a contextual narrative, I will be given the opportunity to explain my rhetorical decisions throughout the process. Now, with the thought processes prompted by questions we had to ask ourselves in CUPID studio, I can better look at a document and think which skill it accentuates.

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 11.32.42 AMScreen Shot 2016-05-06 at 11.32.47 AM

While I still have a long way to go as far as designing an online PWR portfolio, I certainly don’t have quite as long. I feel that the CUPID class has helped me to shape a mindset that has both enriched my own personal understanding and made the impending idea of a post-graduate job attainable.

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