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English major lands prestigious graduate assistantship

June 2, 2014
KOKOMO, Ind. — Emily Ross wields a red pen with the best of editors.

Emily RossEmily Ross

Her skills, demonstrated as editor-in-chief of Indiana University Kokomo's literary and arts magazine, and editing The Correspondent student newspaper, lead her to a prestigious assistantship, one that will pay for her to earn her graduate degree.

Ross, who graduated in May with a degree in English, was chosen through a competitive application process to edit the Journal of Teaching Writing, as she completes a Master of Arts in English at IUPUI.

"I'm excited to be out in the real world, working on my future," said Ross, who is from Forest. "I've looked at the classes available, and they're all classes that interest me. I'm also gaining publishing experience, which gives me even more career options."

In addition to editing, she also completed a teaching assistantship at IU Kokomo, an experience usually reserved for graduate students, said Paul Cook, assistant professor of English.

"I know her involvement here made her stand out among the candidates when she applied, and her application materials were perfectly edited," he said. "Her experiences were not just in the classroom, but in the real world, and that made a difference. The journal she will edit is one of the flagship journals in writing research, and is rather prestigious. This will be a valuable opportunity for her to advance her career."

The Journal of Teaching Writing is published by the Indiana Teachers of Writing, and sponsored by IUPUI. It includes articles for teachers of all levels of writing, from preschool through university.

It will be interesting reading for Ross, who wants to teach first-year college level writing classes after earning her master's degree.

"Learning to write well is vital to every part of a successful college experience," Ross said. "There are fun, creative ways to teach people to be good writers, and they need those skills, no matter what major they chose. I like that it is interesting, and not just for English majors."

Her teaching assistantship at IU Kokomo solidified her career choice. She began by observing, then graded some papers and helped develop a new tool to grade writing. Finally, she taught a class on literary analysis, and was pleased that a student said her lesson was helpful.

"The assistantship helped me learn there's a lot of behind the scenes that goes into teaching," she said. "Once I got up there, I felt like it came naturally."

Ross began her college career as an education major, planning to teach high school English. Early field experiences convinced her that high school was not for her, so she changed her major to English. She graduated as the outstanding student in that program.

"English is more a degree on how to think, rather than what to think," she said. It's a springboard for a lot of careers. English covered all of my bases as far as what I was interested in, and what I wanted to do."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 09/16/2014