Hello!  My name is Grace Kent and I am a sophomore studying Public Policy and minoring in writing and digital studies.  I’m from Ann Arbor, Michigan but went to MSU for my first year before transferring to UofM. As an individual, I would consider myself an adventure-seeker.  I love going on spontaneous road trips and exploring places I’ve never visited before. I am a homebody and am very close with my family, but I also love meeting new people and branching out.  I am introverted yet I wear my heart on my sleeve.  As a writer, I am very much the same way. I write to my emotions and I let them flow through my pencil (unless I’m doing academic writing—then it is much different). Ultimately, I write because I want to remember and I want to convey important messages that I might not be able to vocalize eloquently.  

The origin piece I am going to choose is a letter I wrote during Obama’s 2009 inauguration speech when I was about 8 years old.  My parents made me write this letter expressing my feelings about such a historic moment in U.S. history.  When I was 8-9 years old, I did not know hardly anything about politics—mostly, I mirrored the emotion my parents felt regarding the election. I knew from the presidential portraits that surrounded my classroom walls that we had never even had an African American president before—so, for me mind, Barack Obama being elected as present was one of the coolest things I had ever experienced. My parents kept the letters my sister and I wrote stored away in a file cabinet.  The letter is informal, child-like, and funny—but conveys a candid sense of happiness and emotion regarding his inauguration.  

Here are some of the ideas for my experiments!

  1.  A short film/montage of a child writing the same letter that I once wrote in 2008.  The camera will be overhead filming the pen moving across the paper.  Then the shot will cut to a montage of b-roll footage on the 2008-9 inauguration with Obama, his family, the music, etc.  Overlaid on top of that will be audio of me (or the kid) reading from the letter while the footage plays on the screen.  It will cut back-and-forth between the writing shot and the footage of Obama’s inauguration/presidency.  
  2. A giant collage of pictures/mood board (representing the ideas of our current political climate:  Trump tweets, women’s march, BLM, climate change, etc.) and words and phrases used in my 2008 letter, but cut out and enlarged like a giant collage.  
  3. A back-and-forth video of a kid reading my letter from 2008 and me reading a new letter I would write from 2019.  It would be sort of a sentence-by sentence montage cutting back and forth between my sentiment then and now.  Pictures and videos will play in the video of both political climates while the audio plays on top.  

I am excited about getting to experiment with all of the Shapiro tech/design tools!

What do you wonder about the experiments or life itself? I wonder how kids perceive people in high-power position and what influences their mindset.

Introducing Myself

My name is Bennett Hendricks, I am currently 20 years old. I am studying biochemistry, which I have absolutely no regrets about (yet). As far as who I am as a writer, I am not exactly sure. Growing up I was never very fond of English classes, however I would say that’s changed somewhat in the past 3 years. I appreciate writing as an avenue to express the internal thought-world, as well as a venue to draw attention to any current paradigm out in the world. I think my attitude towards writing changed when I felt more freedom to explore my internal and external views through writing, versus feeling pressured to conform my writing to the popular narrative. My origin piece is an email I wrote to my Grandmother over winter break. The email is somewhat lengthy, and was typed out on the toilet – that sacred space where all upper-level thought occurs. In the email I inquire about my Grandmother’s views on health, medicine, and longevity, and I flesh out some on my own musings on the matter.

I draft tweets sometimes (and I guess this makes me a writer)

Hi! I’m Catherine, and I’m a sophomore and a brand new Minor in Writing! I am enrolled in the Gateway course with T, and this is my first blog post. In lieu of a introductory paragraph, here are some fun facts about me:

  • I am from Columbus, OH, but I’ve been a Michigan fan all my life
  • My favorite book is Flowers for Algernon
  • I am a Business Administration major, which involves a fun sprint twice a week from the Gateway (in USB) to Accounting (in Ross)
  • I make a mean coconut cupcake
  • My first piece of writing was a novel called “The Girl” (I was about six and promptly gave up after three pages (so not much has changed))

My origin material for my experiments is a research essay that I wrote for a Sociolinguistics class last semester. It was called “Mainstream English in the Age of Technology” and evaluated–get this–how mainstream English has changed with technology. I chose this essay because I had a blast doing research and writing it, and it has plenty of applications for experiments.

I’m really looking forward to one experiment I have planned; I’d like to build an interactive map of the U.S. online to show how mainstream English differs in each part of the country. I hope I will be able to get everything I’d like to done in the period of time that we have, and I am a little worried about how my final products will turn out, but at the end of the day it’s about the journey, not the destination!

Writing 220: The Gateway Community

To date, the Writing Minor Gateway course has been the most peer-integrated class I have ever been a part of. There is no beginning awkward stage of the class where nobody wants to talk aloud, raise their hands, or make side conversations. From the inception, the entire class was encouraged to get to know one another and truly utilize every individual writer and student as a unique resource. Being that the Writing Minor program is paralleled by an extremely diverse array of majors, its participants gain exposure to a wide range of perspectives. As a student in the business school, I found this class especially refreshing in that I am able to ask questions and for help to truly better my work, not just for participation points lying on a curve. Inside the classroom, stresses and pressures dissipate as the students in the Writing 220 Community of USB 2230 can simply put pen to paper and constructively let their ideas flow.

How to Find Happy.

My name is Maddie, and I hope that by reading this post and learning something about me, you will learn something about you as well. All things considered, I have a lot to be grateful for. My family, friends, the opportunities I have been given, and the experiences I have had are things I cannot take for granted. Gratitude was not something that was consciously on my mind a lot before the end of my freshman year. Sure, my family would go around the Thanksgiving table one by one and say what we were thankful for that year, and I would say please and thank you when I was supposed to. But taking time out of my everyday life to stop just going through the motions and actually sitting down and writing down what I am grateful for was not something I thought to do.

In the winter semester of my freshman year, I decided to take a first year seminar called the Science of Health and Happiness. It just sounded fun, and I thought it would be an easy class to lighten my course load. One of the semester-long assignments we had to complete was keeping a daily Gratitude Journal, where each day we would write down three things that we are grateful for. This is a task that was at first easy, then got hard, then got easy again.

The first things that came to my mind were to write down: 1) my mom, 2) my dad and 3) my sister. Ok, night one was a success.

The next night I was still coasting a little bit. 1) my home friends, 2) my Michigan friends, 3) my Grammy.

This went on for the next few nights, as I ticked the important people in my life off the list. Then, one night, my mind drew a blank. I was out of people and places that played huge roles in my life. So I wrote down “my ‘cheel’ playlist on Spotify.” I remember it was the day I left school for spring break, so I had been listening to this playlist on the plane ride home. Small and simple, this playlist has by no means been a major player in the course of my life. But it’s something that makes me happy and that I appreciate.

Finding these small, happy details of my life that had previously gone unnoticed began something I looked forward to daily. Promptly at 11 PM every night, a reminder on my phone would pop up: “Gratitude.” I would eagerly jot down my list of three things that I had specifically curated throughout the day in my Gratitude Journal and take a moment to appreciate their role in my life at that moment.

This Gratitude Journal is going to be my origin piece; it is a collection of the little things that make me who I am. I can read my list from one day and know exactly what occurred that day and who I was with. I can see how people and things in my life have shifted. I can see who I have become and how I became her. And hopefully this inspires you to do the same.