Seven Graduate Students Participate in the Inaugural Public Writing Fellows Program

Writing Fellows Images

Recently, seven UMass graduate students were selected to participate in the Graduate School’s inaugural Public Writing Fellows Program. Twenty six students applied to be part of the program, which aimed to help graduate students improve skills in communicating about complex research with non-expert audiences. The seven accepted Fellows took part in communication training throughout the summer, learning different techniques for producing clear, engaging content for a variety of audiences.  

As a capstone to the program, Public Writing Fellows interviewed another graduate student and wrote a profile of that student’s research. Fellows chose their profile subject using images submitted to the Graduate School’s Images of Research contest, which showcases graduate research through a single image–both concrete or abstract. Fellows selected an image that sparked their curiosity, then contacted the corresponding graduate student researcher to learn more about the research behind the image. The resulting research profiles were published on the Graduate School’s website in November and December, 2022.   

Public Writing Fellows and their profiled student researcher include:  

Graduate students who participated in the Public Writing Fellows program praised the ways in which the program improved their communication and provided a network of other graduate students focused on the same goal. “I enjoyed learning more about student research across the university,” said Nicole O’Connell. “The interdisciplinary nature of the Fellows group heightened the experience of writing for audiences outside my field.”  

Jaeye Baek said the experience of participating in the Fellows program was transformative: “As an international student, I have always considered academic writing to be a barrier that I will never be able to overcome and enjoy. The Public Writing Fellows Program reminded me of how much I enjoy learning new things and sharing them with a wider audience. [It] reinvigorated my passion for writing and boosted my confidence.” 

The Graduate School plans to offer the Public Writing Fellows program again in 2023. Graduate students looking to improve their communication skills should also consider participating in the Graduate School’s Three Minute Thesis competition or attending workshops from the Office of Professional Development.