URI graduates first writing, rhetoric majors

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KINGSTON, RI – May 21, 2008 –Marie Andrews, Jeremy Hawkins, and Lindsay Ryan are pioneers in the University of Rhode Island’s newest major. The three students were the first to walk across the stage during the College of Arts and Sciences commencement ceremony last weekend to receive a bachelor of arts degree in writing & rhetoric. Here’s some information on the pioneers:

Marie Andrews of Jamestown was one of two recipients of the Stephanie Bounds Excellence Award in Writing & Rhetoric. She graduated with a 3.97 grade point average. During her time at URI, she served as an undergraduate writing consultant tutoring other writers and completed a two-semester internship with WPRI’s Eyewitness News in Providence. Her work is characterized by a strong work ethic, a competitive spirit, a passion for sports writing, and a desire to excel by immersing herself in challenging projects, according to her professors.

Jeremy Hawkins of Wakefield also received the Stephanie Bounds Excellence Award in Writing & Rhetoric and graduated with a 3.8 grade point average. During his time at URI, he also served as an undergraduate writing consultant tutoring other student writers, and completed an internship with Judith Boss, a successful novel and textbook author in Providence. For one of his class projects, Jeremy worked with AIDS Care Ocean State, working for safer sex awareness and needle exchange programs. Professors and peers praise his collegiality, warmth, collaborative style, and facility with the written language.

Lindsay Ryan of West Greenwich explored issues of style: writing, fashion, art during her years at URI. She brought a memoirist’s sensibility to all of her work, which is best noted for her self-deprecating humor and rapid-fire, rhythmic writing.

Andrews, Hawkins, and Ryan completed an electronic portfolio, culminating with a public presentation on May 8. Their e-portfolios contained a substantive collection of their representative writings along with reflections on their work and a sense of their strengths and accomplishments. Prior to their senior year, they took courses in public writing, writing for community service, writing in electronic environments, argument and persuasion, travel writing, a theoretical course in audience and rhetoric, and a tutor-training course.

Approved only recently, the writing & rhetoric major asks students to write and publish in a wide range of situations and styles. Courses in the major emphasize written production for public consumption, thorough research, and sensitivity to multiple audiences in a variety of situations. The first class of students brought a creative energy and a drive to succeed, setting the bar high for all the classes that will follow, according to Libby Miles, associate professor of writing & rhetoric.

Miles notes that URI’s writing & rhetoric major is characterized by a nationally recognized faculty, small hands-on classes, real-world clients, local outreach, technological integration, and collaborative research-based projects. To learn more, go to www.uri.edu/artsci/writing.

Pictured above

FIRST OF THEIR CLASS: Marie Andrews of Jamestown; Jeremy Hawkins of Wakefield; and Lindsay Ryan of West Greenwich are shown minutes after receiving their degrees at the University of Rhode Island’s undergraduate commencement May 18. URI Department of Communications and Marketing photo by Michael Salerno.