Minor in Professional Writing develops skills across genres

December 10, 2020

Minor in Professional Writing develops skills across genres

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Description

From grant writing to blogging, students in the Minor in Professional Writing practice a wide range of writing styles and genres. This minor not only gives students the opportunity to refine their writing skills, but also allows them to experience a variety of internships through the eyes of their classmates. The program has partnered with over 150 Columbus workspaces, giving students multiple outlooks on how to use their professional writing skills as they navigate their career paths outside of university.  

Meet the interns

Seniors Jade Werner and Kaitlyn Posta are currently celebrating their completion of the professional writing capstone internship. Werner is an English major in the creative writing track, and Posta is a psychology major. In addition to the Minor in Professional Writing, Werner is pursuing a minor in women’s, gender and sexuality studies, while Posta is pursuing a minor in the Legal Foundations of Society. 

Throughout the semester, Werner interned at YWCA Columbus as a grant writer. Through this internship, she attended grant writing seminars, completed independent research, wrote grants and assisted in the creation of a Program Evaluation Report. Similar to her responsibilities as an intern, Werner’s schedule changed throughout the semester depending on the type of project. Werner worked independently on most, but she has worked collaboratively with her team on larger projects like grants.  

Posta, an intern with Disability Rights Ohio, focused on a different area of professional writing: blogs and social media. Alongside their Communications Team, Posta created digital content for the organization, which provides legal aid for people with disabilities in Ohio. Throughout the semester, Posta worked independently on a variety of blog posts for their website and content for their Facebook page.  

Posta was particularly busy in October and November with the 2020 presidential election, for which she created two Facebook posts detailing how to vote safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with three blog posts sharing how to register to vote, request absentee ballots and vote early in person. Posta said, “These topics may seem basic, but in every post, there was information specific to the disability community that would help facilitate their voting experience.” 

Excavation and creation 

During her internship, Werner’s favorite project was the first grant she wrote. She said, “I had to do a lot of research, especially because I was so new to YWCA Columbus, and I did a lot of digging through old grants for statistics and language. I had no idea that this much excavation work would be interesting to me, but I really loved it!” 

Posta’s favorite piece during the semester was a blog series called “#AdvocacyMatters.” The recurring posts discuss issues within the disability community and showcase how Disability Rights Ohio can assist. In "#AdvocacyMatters: Empty Classrooms, Unique Solutions," Posta wrote about the measures a family in Akron, Ohio took to supplement the one-on-one interaction their daughter needed but her virtual schooling could not provide. The school detailed in the post was not providing all students with equal and appropriate education or guidance on how to receive assistance.  

Posta discussed the importance of the post, saying, “I did not realize the gravity of the situation when it came to the lack of support students with disabilities were receiving amidst the pandemic. People without disabilities tend not to think about the daily struggles that people with disabilities face and don't realize all of the extra work that goes into helping them be the most successful version of themselves.” 

A lesson learned 

Posta feels her internship at Disability Rights Ohio has helped her become a more versatile writer. Due to her variety of projects, she is “able to shift tones rather easily...depending on who the audience is.” Posta is certain this skill will help her in her future career.  

Werner feels confident that she could pursue a career in grant writing now that she has concrete experience in the field. She is also thankful that her internship has introduced her to free resources like grant websites and seminars.      

The benefits of the capstone course 

Alongside their internship, students in this minor take the course English 4189: Professional Writing Minor Capstone. In this course, students meet weekly and continue their learning in professional writing, as well as share their internship experiences with one another. Each week, students submit a journal entry, recording what tasks they performed during the week, the progress of ongoing projects, challenges and successes.  

Both Posta and Werner felt this capstone course contributed to their success in their internships. Posta found the journal entries to be especially beneficial to her growth as a writer. “The weekly journal entries really made me pause and think about the work I’d done at my internship,” she explained, “Without the class…I wouldn’t be as focused on ways I could improve.” Werner thinks the weekly journals will be helpful when applying for jobs or creating resumes, as they helped her keep track of all the projects she worked on. 

This course also helped Posta with challenges at her internship. “If I had a bad day or if I felt overwhelmed with work, hearing my classmates express similar concerns helped me feel less stressed out,” she said. “It was great to hear about…successes and positive experiences.” Werner had a similar experience in the class. “Hearing from other students eased a lot of my worries and opened up great dialogue,” she explained. 

Advice for future students 

To students considering the Minor in Professional Writing, Posta said, “It was a great opportunity. I’m sure you will have a great experience as well.”  Werner wants potential students to know that “the amount of soft skills that you come out with are invaluable and will set you apart from your peers.”


By Ally Staffan and Cora Wolcott  

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