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NSU University School Students present at International Writing Center Association Conference in Colorado

writingfellows u school

(L-R) Samantha Feder-Trosclair, Sarina Schwartz, Joymarie Puskadi, Aysha Zackria, and Sophie Amador

The innovative NSU University School Writing Fellows Program is based on a model originated at Brown University. The program features advanced high school student writers who bring personalized writing support directly to their peers in the areas of language mechanics, organization, and content.

Just recently, five of NSU University School’s writing fellows, Sarina Schwartz (junior), Joymarie Puskadi (sophomore), Aysha Zackria (sophomore), Sophie Amador (sophomore), and Samantha Feder-Trosclair (freshman) presented with faculty advisor Mrs. Jaimie Crawford at the International Writing Center Association Conference in Denver, Colorado.

The students discussed the methods their program utilizes for collaboration between high school fellows and middle school students in need of tutoring and mentoring. Fellows shared their experiences and perception of the advantages of peer tutoring and personality-based pairing before opening the discussion to suggestions and feedback.

Sarina Schwartz, student coordinator of the Writing Fellows, discussed the process of personality-based pairing and then reviewed the anticipated advantages that it will bring to both students and mentors.

During the process of signing a student up for the program, a teacher is asked to answer an open-ended questionnaire regarding the student’s personality and character traits. The program coordinator then matches the student with a mentor who has similar traits and personality. The result is a student/mentor pairing that has a more successful tutorial by starting on a common ground.

In addition to using personality-based pairing, the NSU University School Writing Fellows Program encourages tutors to adopt aspects of “Writing Studio Pedagogy,” a pedagogy defined by the following core beliefs: a commitment to conversation and writing as a social experience, an acceptance of multiple composing tools and problem-solving strategies, and student ownership of their own creative process. At the conference, fellows were able to meet and collaborate with one of Writing Studio Pedagogy’s founders, Eagle Hill’s Dr. Matthew Kim and some of his students.