A letter from an alumnus: A.J. Rivera

Hello!

My name is Adrian Rivera (though I go by A.J.). During my time as an undergraduate I worked at the Writing Center. Specifically, I worked there for three years, with two and a half years of that time being as a lead consultant. Some of my best memories of being a student at IPFW come from my time working at the Writing Center, and some of the best friends I made at IPFW were my co-workers at the Writing Center. To this day, we still hang out and get together. This is probably what I’m most grateful for in my time at the Writing Center from a personal perspective.

From a professional standpoint, the Writing Center was a tremendous help to me. I was an English writing major at IPFW, and I credit that with getting me ready for graduate school work and preparing my thesis. However, the Writing Center allowed me to learn how to teach. Writing is something that comes easier to me than most, and it is really hard to avoid simply providing my students the answer I would use. Working at the Writing Center, especially under my old boss, armed me with Socratic questioning and a completely different outlook on writing as a process. It is less about the final product for me and more about how the student progressed to get there. I love seeing my students grow from draft to draft, and it is a great joy to me to see when my students’ end-of-semester work is better by leaps and bounds than their early work. This is an experience that I first had while working as a consultant at the Writing Center, and I believe it is what led me to where I am today.

In particular, I loved working with the diverse student population who would visit the Writing Center. We would get traditional age students, returning adults, and, my personal favorite, non-native speakers of English. Every student had a story behind them; each one had a unique set of circumstances which led them to the Writing Center. Working with them and meeting these people I never would have otherwise met was a joy for me.

As I implied before, I earned my Master’s degree in May 2015. I graduated in the fall semester of 2013 at IPFW and thus, left the Writing Center. A few weeks later, I would also leave Fort Wayne, as I entered the Master’s in English Education program at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez. I finished their program in a year and a half and came back to Fort Wayne. Now, I am a Limited Term Lecturer for the Department of English and Linguistics at IPFW and the tutor of English for Speakers of Other Languages at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne.

However, I am a big believer in learning as a constant process, and one which I will never be finished doing. I plan to pursue PhD programs which match my (somewhat eclectic) research interests. Right now, I am focusing on building my resume by teaching, my teaching portfolio in reflecting on my teaching practices, and my academic footprint by completing and submitting scholarly articles for publication. In the near future, I hope to attain my PhD and, ideally, I would get a government teaching job as an ESL educator or land at a college like Ivy Tech, where the refugee student population is huge. I would love to make a difference in the lives of students who are coming from around the world, even if that difference is something as small as helping them acquire the English language and get more comfortable in Indiana.

As one of my favorite professors in Puerto Rico would often say, “every experience we have in our lives prepares us for the next one.” Working in the Writing Center was a huge source of preparation and education for me. It got me engaged in the writing process, provided me with practice in interpersonal communication, and allowed me to come out of my introverted shell and make fantastic friends, among many, many other benefits.

In all, the Writing Center got me on the path I am on now. I credit my former boss Mary Arnold Schwartz, my academic advisor Dr. Sara Webb-Sunderhaus, and the many other influences from IPFW for helping me find what I want to do with my life. That means the world to me. The Writing Center will always be a special place for me, and now as an instructor at IPFW, I frequently encourage my students to visit there and benefit as I have.

Thanks for reading! I hope I adequately shared how awesome the Writing Center is!

A.J. Rivera

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