Writing Consultant of the Year, 2021: Annalise Mangone

annalise mangoneOne of the author’s most difficult decisions every April is to announce which of our Writing Consultants has been selected for our award.

2021 was not, however, a difficult year, as our recipient Annalise Mangone received nominations twice last year, from both a faculty member and a writer she assisted. This year, she received two more, from different faculty and student recommenders.

Annalise trained with me well before the pandemic and she was an anchor in my training class and frequently demonstrated her intellectual curiosity beyond the job of Writing Consultant. She participated in events sponsored by the Center, including fiction readings off-campus by writers of science fiction and fantasy who came to campus for my class, Reading SF & Fantasy.  During the early part of the pandemic, she often dropped in for my “wine and whine” evening Zoom office hours, an event aimed at bringing some coherence back to a scattered workforce anxious about ongoing events on and off-campus.

When working with students at the Center or in classes, she proved her mettle as an enthusiastic helper. I asked her to describe her time among us, and she noted, “In terms of what I recall most about UR, it has always been how kind and encouraging the faculty have been. In all of my classes, my faculty have been truly devoted to making sure that we are learning in interesting and effective ways, and especially this year have been supportive of all of my many research interests and endeavours.”

That British spelling works well and it stands as Annalise wrote it. She will be completing an MSc program at Oxford in Anthropology next year. I am both jealous and disappointed in one regard: when I finally walk the upper reaches of the Thames Path in a few years, ending it at Oxford, Annalise won’t be there to give us a tour.

In terms of her work with writers, she notes that “I always say that I love being a class Writing Consultant because it gives me the chance to ‘audit’ courses that I would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience, and I think that curiosity has guided my course of study in anthropology and leadership. I love exploring the many different theoretical frameworks of the field as well as carrying out my own research into topics like stress management in extracurricular clubs or chaplaincy and spirituality in Richmond area hospitals.”

That sort of passion for learning makes Annalise stand out even in a year with many other strong candidates for the award. We wish her every success in the wide (and finally, opening!) world beyond our campus gates.

Writing Consultant of the Year, Rose Ferraro

Rose during study abroadEach year, faculty members who work with Writing Consultants nominate one graduating Consultant who has done exemplary work with our writers. This year, Professors Porcher Taylor in the School of Professional and Continuing Studies and Yucel Yanikdag of History nominated Rose Ferraro, our 2020 winner.

Rose has been with the program for a while; I distinctly recall her quiet but insightful presence in the training class, before she began work in the Writing Center and with faculty teaching FYS. She has a careful eye for sentence-level work but also a clear grasp of how to shape an argument.

Rose is double-majoring in global studies (with a concentration in politics and government) and Italian, and minoring in anthropology. She studied abroad in Maastricht, Netherlands in the spring of her sophomore year. While abroad she studied a wide range of subjects, noting “in addition to classes on conflict resolution, foreign policy, healthcare, and migration, I had two courses on argumentation theory.” Rose continued work in these areas when she returned to campus. I know from her professors that writers struggling with the transition to college-level argumentation benefitted from her experience in this area.

She writes that she ” was recommended to be a writing consultant by Dr. Roof when I was a student in her FYS section ‘Healthcare Policy and Politics: The U.S. and the World.’ I wasn’t sure about it at first, but after being asked to write articles about legal writing for the New York State Bar Association Journal during my internship at the New York County Supreme Court, I decided to enroll in the training course that fall. I went abroad the following semester, but came back and worked for Dr. Taylor for a year. I went on to work for Dr. Kuti, then Dr. Yanikdag, a former professor of mine, requested me for my final semester. While on campus, I also volunteered with Higher Achievement Richmond, where I helped eighth grade students write high school application essays, and worked as a drill instructor for Italian 221 and in the Curriculum Materials Center (the education library). It’s kind of funny, actually, because when I came to Richmond, I was determined to pursue law, specifically prosecution. However, over the years, I’ve found myself becoming more and more interested in positions that grant me the opportunity to help others grow and reach their potential not just as writers, but as individuals who bring to the table unique experiences and outlooks.”

I asked about her plans for next year. She writes, “they’re up in the air right now due to the COVID-19 situation. I had been invited by the Peace Corps to serve as an English teacher in the Eastern Caribbean, and I was going to accept that, but all departures have been postponed until at least October. I had also been accepted into American University, among others, but the state- and country-wide lockdowns aren’t really conducive to earning a master’s in U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security like I had wanted to do if the Peace Corps didn’t pan out, so… I’m looking into civil service and government jobs that are still accepting applications.”

We are delighted to have all of our seniors as mentors for their younger peers this year, but as with Rose, we are sorry to lose them. That said,  we know they’ll have many adventures ahead of them, as the world returns to its normal way of life. And may that be so for all of you. UR will plan a Commencement for the class of 2020, and I plan to attend so I can congratulate them in person.

Consultant News: Legal Writing

I enjoy hearing about Writing Consultants who have helped to bring a piece of work to publication. So we all should tip our hats to Rosemarie Ferraro, who assisted Gerald Lebovits, as a judicial intern, with four articles in the New York State Bar Association Journal about legal writing:

Legal writing is one of the hardest transitions of all for first-year law students. Professor Lebovits gives a good deal of valuable advice here, my favorite being “use the passive voice only when you have good reason to use it.”

One exception I know personally involves police reporting. I long ago taught Criminal Justice writing to police officers at Indiana University. As I told them “the passive voice incriminates no one. ‘The car was stolen and, according to two witnesses, John Smith was reported nearby’ works far better than ‘John Smith stole that car!’ ”

If you know Rose, congratulate her. She has returned from study abroad and is working in our program now. If she plans to attend law school, I have no doubt that her careful eye for sentence-level details, as well as this publishing experience, would make her first year a success.

Other Writing Consultants, tell me about your work in professional writing and I will share it here with faculty.