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Hamilton Alumni Review
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Thoughts on the Writing Center


“As an attorney, being able to write persuasively and to present effective oral arguments are essential tools. I can honestly say that I apply the skills I learned as a writing tutor literally on a daily basis…. As I’m writing I almost have a little mini-conference in my head as I ask myself what I’m trying to say and how to best organize my thoughts.”
Kajal Chattopadhyay ’93
Assistant attorney general for Massachusetts
Tutor 1991-93

 

 

“Many educated, otherwise erudite executives regard well-formed prose as a luxury that an Internet-paced world does not afford. The race to the bottom in an effort to communicate something profound in a simple way is sometimes a very discouraging process to witness. However, as a consultant I often have the opportunity to shape how a company communicates. The advice I give my clients is what I learned and shared every day in the Writing Center: A good idea is worthy of the time and effort required to communicate it effectively.”
Sean Ryan ’97
Principal at MarketBridge, consultant in Bethesda, Md
Tutor 1995-97

 

“My work at the Writing Center directly influenced my career path. I learned that I found pleasure in teaching writing, and my first job after graduation from Hamilton was running a writing center for the University of Illinois at Chicago. I still use many of the techniques I developed as a writing tutor at Hamilton as a foundation for how I teach writing in my classroom.”
Karin Gosselink ’94
Lecturer in writing at Yale University
Tutor 1992-94

 

 

“My Hamilton experience has proven critical in preparing me for this career path. Each class in which I ever enrolled taught me the importance of communication. Each professor complemented the other with regard to conveying the sheer importance of effectively expressing ideas, thoughts and opinions through writing. From my Hamilton professors I learned the utility and mechanics of persuasive writing. Sharon and my Writing Center colleagues exposed me to the joys of writing by enabling me to frequently discuss ‘writing’ as expression of ‘self’ or ideas.” 
Desmond Bailey ’94
Consultant for nonprofit organizations, Oak Park, Ill.
Tutor 1991-94

 

 

“Hamilton’s writing-intensive curriculum and my experience in the Writing Center have been invaluable to me in my professional career. Although I arrived at Hamilton with a general understanding of how to formulate an analytical argument, I truly learned how to write at Hamilton…. Being a writing tutor is one of your most important identities at Hamilton, and it will undoubtedly help you in your job search after college.”
Bethany Baker Booth ’98
Writing lab coordinator, Kent School, Kent, Conn.
Tutor 1995-98

 

 

“Working as a writing tutor became more fun and fresh with each passing year, and if you think about it, that cannot be said of most activities and jobs. As an added bonus, I became a better writer as time went on ... I suppose, in line with the idea that you only really know something if you can teach it. Hamilton's emphasis on writing provides a great deal of distinction.”
John Doench ’00
Postdoctoral researcher in cancer biology at Harvard
Tutor 1997-2000

 

 

“You would be surprised by the number of lawyers who still do not know how to construct paragraphs and arrive at logical conclusions in their writing. And don’t get me started about the endless e-mails that never arrive at the point. Undoubtedly, Hamilton’s emphasis on written communication has served me in great and small ways. No matter what kind of job you have, your ability to write a coherent argument is a skill that will serve you.”
Doug Hsiao ’88
Corporate counsel for Qwest Communications
Tutor 1987-88

 

“Each Writing Center conference offers a new set of challenges and difficulties. During one hour I might be reading a 300-level biochemistry lab -- a subject I know almost nothing about -- and the next hour I might be reading a 100-level comparative literature paper by an international student who learned English as a fourth or fifth language. No two conferences are the same, and as a writing tutor I must approach each conference differently. My tutoring style will differ significantly depending on the type of student and the level of writing. The job never gets boring.” 

Joe Jansen ’07
Current Writing Center tutor

 

“Through working at the Writing Center, I have become a much more organized writer. Most of the papers that students bring in generally lack a cohesive structure and attention to nuance. Through teaching others to pay attention to the organizational techniques of writing, I’ve gotten better at effectively communicating my ideas. I like working with the students, hearing their ideas, and learning good teaching techniques. I might like to be a teacher one day.”
Laura Hartz ’07
Current Writing Center tutor

 

 

“One of the things I discovered after leaving Hamilton was that my experience as a writing tutor helped me with my professional interactions. I was lucky to have a job right away that involved managing a staff and collaborating with others to develop a training curriculum and a vision for what my department was trying to achieve. In running a staff meeting, for example, I drew on the collaborative techniques I had learned in Writing Center conferences: asking questions, drawing up a list of options or goals, discussing how my staff could contribute to those goals. I think it’s this kind of collaboration that I learned in the Writing Center that has helped me the most professionally. The other thing I learned from being a writing tutor is that nothing is perfect the first time it’s produced; it takes struggle, constant revision and input from others over a period of time to develop any project. Working at the Writing Center helped show me the payoff from having the patience to work through a long-term process. I hope that these are the kinds of skills tutors today can take to any career they pursue.”
Karin Gosselink ’94
Lecturer in writing at Yale University
Tutor 1992-94 

 

 

“I think that good writing skills translate into good presentation skills because effective writers critique and edit their own writing from the perspective of their audience. One unclear sentence or poor transition, or on a broader level, over- or under-shooting the reader’s knowledge level, and the communication between the writer and reader quickly deteriorates. In an oral presentation these skills are even more essential, as the audience cannot simply reread a paragraph if they missed an important point, or put the paper down and pick it up later if they find themselves becoming bored and sleepy. Clear and concise writing is energetic writing, and that energy manifests itself even more apparently in an oral presentation.”
John Doench ’00
Postdoctoral researcher in cancer biology at Harvard
Tutor 1997-2000

 

 

“Being connected to the Writing Center is great. Sharon and Dori and the rest of the tutors understand a good pun and appreciate the use of well-placed semicolon, which sounds dorky, but it’s true.”
 Laura Hartz ’07
Current Writing Center tutor  

Cupola