How a Group of Honors Students Wrote for Drexel Publications — For a Class
Guess what? Some of the DrexelNow stories you’ve read in the past weeks have been written not by staff in Drexel’s Office of University Communications, but by Pennoni Honors College students looking to pass a class. Surprise!
What class, you ask? It was last term’s “Writing for Drexel Publication,” which was taught in the Pennoni Honors College by Alissa Falcone, English ’14 Honors, communication ’17 — aka me, your DrexelNow editor and the writer of this story (Hi!).
This was the first class that I, a Drexel undergraduate-turned-staff-member-turned-graduate-student, ever taught (though the Honors College has offered “Writing for Drexel Publication” before). Sure, I had written for Pennoni publications (like the now-defunct Cultural Passport blog and Table Matters food and drink journal) and Drexel publications (The Triangle and various University Communications outlets) as a student, but I never once had the opportunity to take a class on how, exactly, to do that. When Pennoni Honors College Dean Paula Marantz Cohen, PhD, (who actually taught me in her Shakespeare class way back in 2011) offered me the chance to help aspiring Drexel writers by paying it forward, I couldn’t say no.
So, that’s how I ended up teaching “Writing for Drexel Publication” last term. Ultimately, 10 students took this class — and none of them were English or communication majors. Throughout the term, they found out what it takes to pitch, research, interview, write, publish and distribute stories through three different University publications: the University’s alumni print publication, Drexel Magazine; Pennoni’s arts and culture magazine The Smart Set; and, of course, DrexelNow. Thank you to Melinda Lewis, PhD, associate director of marketing and media in the Pennoni Honors College and managing editor of The Smart Set; Sonja Sherwood, executive director of publications in the Office of University Communications; and former coworker Ben Seal, who was a staff writer in the Office of University Communications, for talking to the students about their publications.
The students also wrote an article for each publication as part of their final grade. Six of the essays that were written for The Smart Set are now being considered for publication, and eight students were ultimately published in DrexelNow. The Drexel Magazine stories are still under consideration for inclusion in a future issue.
You might have read these students’ DrexelNow stories that were published online and shared in the DrexelNow emails:
- Hazara Begum, a junior biomedical engineering student in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, wrote about finding a “home away from home” at Drexel’s Writers Room.
- Robert Burg, a senior chemistry major in the College of Arts and Sciences, published an article about a fellow chemistry major’s volunteering experience at the Philadelphia Science Festival.
- Margaux Cattelona, a freshman entertainment and arts management major in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, authored stories about a fellow Honors freshman with a circus past and Drexel’s first entertainment and arts career fair.
- Jay Hiller, a senior animation and visual effects major and video production minor in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, published a story about Drexel’s first-ever cross-department visual effects film.
- Sravya Koduri, a biological sciences senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, came up with 7 “subtle” ways to show Drexel pride. Fun fact: this story was the first time that GIFS were used in a DrexelNow story.
- Hannah Pepper, a sophomore chemistry major in the College of Arts and Sciences, profiled a Dragon’s engineering co-op experiences.
- Anirudh Singh, a senior biological sciences major in the College of Arts and Sciences, wrote about a one-of-a-kind, student-driven research course.
- Caitlin Walczyk, a senior global studies and political science double major with minors in German and Russian in the College of Arts and Sciences, published a story about a Dragon who is returning to China, where she studied abroad, for a post-graduation job.
And for all you Drexel students who want to get writing experience: I can’t offer you class credit anymore, but I can help with any advice or opportunities for, ahem, writing for Drexel publication. Just let me know.