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English student attends renowned undergraduate writing studies workshop

Celena Todora, a senior majoring in English, English education and international studies, attended the Naylor Workshop for Undergraduate Research in Writing Studies Sept. 25-27 at York College of Pennsylvania. The workshop was an opportunity for students to grow as skilled researchers. Students submit an application for consideration, outlining a proposed research project. Two dozen students were accepted and received funding to attend the event.

During the weekend-long workshop, students develop their own research projects by engaging in seminars on composition research, collaborating with teams of experienced scholars and peer researchers, and crafting research artifacts during independent time. After sharing their ideas, experience and spirit of inquiry, Naylor scholars return to their home institutions ready to conduct research.

Todora’s research focuses on “grit,” the ability for a person to be tenacious. Prior to the workshop, she had done extensive reading in Duckworth’s work on this trait. She was interested to see how composition instructors can potentially help students foster grit.

“The Naylor Workshop was a significant experience for me because I was able to learn more about qualitative and quantitative methods,” Todora said. “I was also incredibly lucky that one of the faculty experts at the conference shared my interest in grit, so we collaborated to create a project together. We hope to investigate whether or not service-learning-based courses can enhance basic writing students’ grit.”

Naylor Scholars from last year’s inaugural workshop present their research at the Conference on College Composition and Communication 2015 and other venues.

Professor Joyce Kinkead of Utah State University, who served as the plenary speaker for the workshop said, “Celena’s initial proposal was one of the best received, and she continued that high quality of work throughout the weekend. NDSU has every reason to be proud of her.”

Attending the Naylor Workshop helps students join a network of undergraduates from varying institutions who are guided by mentor faculty members. One of the benefits of the Naylor Workshop is discussing one-on-one with writing researchers in the fields of composition, rhetoric or writing center studies to discuss research ideas, goals and methodologies. Participants also engage in intensive workshops to assess the quality of research, design a research question, and learn and practice qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Visit here for more information about the Naylor Workshop and to consider application for the 2016 event.

Todora’s faculty mentor at NDSU is Amy Rupiper Taggart, professor of English.

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