By Mary Vandeman
After graduating with a B.S. in Geological Sciences, Ohio University alum Brooke Stokes was offered a job as a biologist. She soon realized that the lab setting was not what she enjoyed, so she chose to return to graduate school in the Environmental Studies program in the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.
Graduate school means lots of writing, particularly if you want to share your work with a wider audience. To ensure that she completes a cohesive project that she is proud of, Stokes enrolled in ELIP 5160: Writing for Research in the English Language Improvement Program.
“This course has helped me gain confidence in my academic writing ability. It has helped me to set goals and stay on track with my writing despite my heavy course load,” says Stokes.
Writing up her Research Practicum Project on the Raccoon Creek Partnership is important to Stokes, due to her passion for improving the biological diversity within this area of Southeastern Ohio.
“Abundant, clean water is something many people take for granted, and it’s important to protect and conserve water sources,” she explains. And spreading that awareness hinges on clear communication.
ELIP 5160 is an interdisciplinary class that guides graduate students through the process of writing up primary research, following the specific practices of their field. Students work on their own proposal, thesis, dissertation, or article for publication, with a focus on idea organization and development and synthesis of sources.
Leanne Ketchum, a graduate student in the Critical Studies in Educational Foundations master’s program, notes that ELIP 5160 “has been incredibly useful this semester. It has helped me create a timeline for my writing, and it has given me specific information about different sections of my paper and tips that will make a better final product.”
Ketchum points out that “even the most skilled writers will find this class beneficial.”
With small class sizes, ELIP instructors are able to provide individual, personalized feedback.
Laura Winn, Political Science graduate student, comments that “ELIP graduate writing courses teach many valuable skills, such as developing a coherent flow and developing your own academic voice/style.”
Class is more than an academic experience—it’s a social experience as well.
“I’ve really enjoyed collaborating with my classmates this semester,” says Canh Duong Tran, Asian Studies graduate student from Vietnam. “As an international student in my second semester, working with people from across campus helps both my writing and my networking skills.”
All students agree that academic and professional communication skills are best developed in a supportive group but with individualized instruction.
The 3-credit hour ELIP 5160 course is available during both Fall and Spring semesters. For more information on professional and academic communication courses offered by ELIP, visit the website.