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Zanice Bond de Pérez

Writing specialist for graduate, international studies

Zanice Bond de Perez

Chuck France/University Relations

Zanice Bond de Perez is a writing specialist who works with graduate and international students at the KU Writing Center. She is a former writing center fellow and recently joined the staff full time.

Years at current job: I was hired May 2008 after serving as the KU Writing Center's American Studies Graduate Writing Fellow for 2007-08.

Job duties: Some of my duties include providing specialty writing consultation services to graduate and international students, coordinating "Write-Ins" and graduate student writing groups, collaborating with other university wide programs that serve graduate and international students, and communicating with graduate student groups interested in customized workshops.

As a doctoral student you were a KU Graduate Writing Fellow. How did that experience prepare you or influence you to work full-time at the center? The writing fellow experience allowed me to study writing center pedagogy, interact with KU Writing Center staff, consult with KU students, visit classes across campus and design workshops. So, the experience provided an excellent foundation that allowed for a smooth transition into the writing specialist position. Plus, I am still a graduate student, and I am constantly surrounded by hard-working students whose efforts encourage and inspire me as a writer.

What unique challenges do graduate and international students face when it comes to academic writing? Graduate students must masterfully balance academic, family and work responsibilities. So, finding the time and space to write is sometimes a challenge. Plus, graduate students are often expected to write conference papers, journal articles, book reviews and fellowship applications. So they are constantly broadening and sharpening their writing skills. Many international students whose funding comes from their home governments also have the added pressure to complete their studies in a timely manner. Also, for many international students, becoming familiar with academic writing expectations within a U.S. context is a challenge since different educational systems have different expectations. For example, in some countries that are more communal-based, plagiarism is defined differently.

What aspects of your job might others not realize you're involved with? The research component of the job is perhaps less visible. Next month the assistant director and I will present at the International Writing Center Association's conference. We'll be focusing on anti-racism in the Writing Center.

Good writing can obviously help improve a student's grade, but what other benefits can it have? Writing is a tool for learning and self-expression. When we write, we crystallize our thinking. Writing helps to empower and document.

Good writing improves grades, but it enriches our personal, professional, political and social selves.

This summer a "write-in" was held at the Kansas Union. What took place at this event? About 20 energized (and some not so energized but equally committed) graduate students came to the Union early Saturday morning, wheeling in suitcases - or backpacks - of books, blankets, laptops and other supplies. We wrote, read, studied, ate and drank lots of coffee. We discussed ideas with fellow participants, met with KU writing consultants, shared affirmations and strategies to combat writer's block. Some students juggled in the sun, collaborated between intensive bursts of writing, and others sat alone quietly thinking about their writing. The Write-In was a day of intensive writing and community (re)building. Students remarked that their professors were impressed with the amount and quality of the work they produced that day. We plan to have another one in the spring.

The number of students consulting with the Writing Center has increased greatly in the last few years. What do you believe has led to this increase in students using the center's services? I think as the demands on students increase, students will continue to seek the supportive space the Writing Center provides. We host dissertation support groups and offer both face-to-face and online consultations. Plus, the active listening, meaningful feedback, insightful questions we provide all contribute to quality revisions.

What do you enjoy most about your profession? Kahlil Gibran said, "All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." I enjoy connecting with students, learning from them and participating in the "feast".

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