Leadership in Action: My Personal Contribution to Academic Writers Studio

Academic Writers Studio is the only nonprofit in the Richmond area that provides results-oriented and sustained academic support for professional academic scholars from underrepresented groups, including college/university faculty and doctoral students. In my role as communications and development intern, I contributed positively to the demographic diversification of higher education by completing several projects that improved Academic Writers Studio’s infrastructure in the realm of communications and development. The most substantial of these projects include a complete website style guide that articulates specific and detailed rules for website content design and formatting. In developing this website style guide, I became familiar with search engine optimization through various sources such as Yoast and Google. Using this new knowledge, I effectively implemented a unique SEO plan for Academic Writers Studio that currently composes a large portion of the website style guide. In addition to this, I also developed a method for social media marketing, community outreach, collaboration, and several texts and graphic-based advertisements. In completing these projects, I had the opportunity to conduct market research using tools like Google Analytics that demonstrated the specific digital path that website visitors took on each visit. I successfully contributed my creative expertise in terms of text and graphic content by drafting and eventually publishing advertisements that are and will be active as part of a long term campaign to increase the visibility of Academic Writers Studio. In developing the external relations guide, I found contact information for various community organizations and news outlets looking to support minority faculty.  In doing this work, I connected Academic Writers Studio to offices like the University of Richmond’s Bonner Center for Civic Engagement and mainstream national publications such as The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed. In doing this work for Academic Writers Studio, I have also expanded my network to include professors who study various topics across a range of disciplines. I have conclusively established working relationships with multiple media outlets. I have a better understanding of how professional academics conduct research. I have a broader understanding of how to effectively do the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion- not just for underrepresented students but for underrepresented faculty members.