A Sampling of Minor in Writing Capstone Projects


Neeyati Shah’s eportfolio provides compelling evidence that writing is integrally linked to thinking and that as writing evolves our sense of ourselves and our world does too. Her portfolio title “Writing into Being” highlights this connection between writing and identity in a complex and engaging way. In the introduction to her site, she notes that “I’ve written the person I am today into existence; the best parts of me—feminism, writing, Indian culture—take shape on paper before I can fully claim and own them off the page.”

If you visit her site, you will also find a project that includes surveys and interviews with young Indian American women about “the ways they negotiate different, sometimes contradictory cultural forces when it comes to relationships.” In her eportfolio Neeyati positions herself in this project by devoting a specific part of it to her own life. Listening to the brief conversation excerpts with her mother and grandmother provides a warm and genuine experience that shatters stereotypes and replaces them with something much more vibrant and dynamic.

Capstone_SalA double major in Spanish and Biomolecular Science, Sal Aiello made his Minor in Writing capstone project an hour-long series of podcast segments inspired by This American Life. The project, Homemade, examines its theme from a variety of narrative perspectives, including first-person accounts, multiple interview styles, fiction, and audio archive materials.

Homemade is ambitious, inventive, and thorough. Technically well-executed, and employing a number of modes, it communicates not only a personal history of things homemade, it situates the desire to make and the relevance of making within a broader social and economic context. Like This American Life, it’s also extremely entertaining.

Capstone_KiraKira Curtis, who graduated with a Minor in Writing in the winter of 2014, majored in philosophy, and in that discipline she found herself preoccupied with questions of ethics and the relationship between a society and its members. Philosophy concerns itself with abstractions and principles, but Kira pursued a Sweetland Minor in Writing because she wanted to bring the precision and analytical acuity of philosophy to real-world contexts and to do so in a way that could reach many different audiences.

Kira’s Capstone project investigates the wave of horrific murders that have plagued Juarez, Mexico for the last several years, and while it is informed by philosophical inquiry, its presentation in the form of a deeply researched magazine feature allows Kira to focus on very specific human costs. Her project represents an exemplary marriage of disciplinary skill and tailored, crafted writing that opens up that discipline and uses it to communicate with elegance and passion.

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