Students present at Writing Center conference

Seniors Léonie de Jonge and Amanda Engel presented “¿Cómo se dice?: Using the Writing Center for help with foreign language writing” at the Midwest Writing Center Association Conference in Skokie, Ill., this October, one of only a very few undergraduate presentations given during the conference.

Seniors Léonie de Jonge and Amanda Engel practice their proposal for an audience of Cornellians.
Seniors Léonie de Jonge and Amanda Engel practice their proposal for an audience of Cornellians.

The Cornell Writing Center does more than help with basic language skills, it provides help to students with written assignments for their foreign language classes. This means that many of the tutors working in the Writing Center, such as de Jonge and Engel, have the experience of helping both students with assignments in English and those with assignments in foreign languages.

For their presentation, de Jonge and Engel discussed their experiences and strategies for working with students on foreign language papers and discussed the larger implications language conferences can have on a Writing Center, namely increased study of communication and greater understanding of the struggles ESL writers face.

Their presentation had an interactive component as well—they engaged the audience in a language activity to show the benefits and challenges of language conferencing.

Their interest in sharing what they’ve learned from this unique experience gave de Jonge and Engel the edge to join the few undergraduate students to present at the conference, and the very few undergraduate students to present in the coveted 75-minutes workshop slots.

About their time at the conference, de Jonge said, “The conference was a great experience for us. We met interesting people from all over the Midwest and learned about how writing studios operate in different settings. As one of few representatives of small liberal arts colleges, I truly came to value the benefits of studying at a smaller institution. All in all, I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to represent Cornell College at this event!”