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Elon University / Today in Elon / “Phoenix Rhetorix” Review Anthologizes Outstanding Freshman Writings

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Pieces written in the compulsory course ENG 1100, Writing: Argument and Inquiry are eligible to be considered for the annual competition and publication.

A new online journal celebrates the exceptional writing of Elon’s freshmen and highlights the impact storytelling can have on the world.

The inaugural edition of “Phoenix Rhetorix” was released earlier this year and includes eight pieces composed in 2020-21 by first-year students of the ENG 1100 course, Writing: Argument and Inquiry. ENG 1100 is required as part of the Elon Foundations freshman program and is taken by nearly 1,500 undergraduate students each year.

Devin Guilbeau ’24 describes his motivation to educate the masses about the Tulsa, Okla., massacre of 1921, in “The Destruction of Black Wall Street: A Beginner’s Guide.”

The faculty launched the annual competition and journal last year.

The contest winners were Malcolm Capers ’24, Devin Guilbeau ’24, Tiffany Huang ’23, Julia Kearney ’24, Mary Kate McDonald ’24, Caroline Mitchell ’24, Emma Mitchell ’24 and Maya Simmons ’23. Their work includes a podcast about racial disparities in the US justice system, a news article about how a missing child’s race affects law enforcement and media attention, and a narrative essay about the difficulty of belonging to Elon as an interracial American.

The student writers and editorial team came together on Wednesday April 13 to present parts of their work and reflect on the writing and editing process.

“Believe it or not, I’m actually an engineering student,” said Guilbeau, author of “The Destruction of Black Wall Street: A Beginner’s Guide.” “Before college, I had no interest in writing or history. I didn’t find out how good I could be until I got to Elon in (English teacher) Megan Isaac’s class and was able to talk about something that interested me.

Tiffany Huang '23 and English teacher Chrissy Stein embrace after presenting Huang's essay about her struggle to find community in Elon as an interracial woman.
Tiffany Huang ’23 and English teacher Chrissy Stein embrace after presenting Huang’s essay about her struggle to find community in Elon as an interracial woman.

Other pieces were born out of complex emotions, such as Capers’ reflection on the racism embedded in the criminal justice system and Huang’s essay on feeling separated from Elon’s communities by being a Taiwanese-American. whose mother is Taiwanese-Argentine.

“What immediately impressed me was Tiffany’s willingness to be vulnerable, to express and share a space that was not comfortable and was not a positive interaction and which led to tears. She went there and embraced that. One of the hallmarks of really good writing is being willing to be vulnerable,” said English teacher Chrissy Stein. “At the end of the play…she describes wanting to be a role model for others, not just changing yourself but changing the world, and that’s what writing is about.”

Tiffany Huang '23, left, and English lecturer Paula Patch discuss Huang's winning essay,
Tiffany Huang ’23, left, and English lecturer Paula Patch discuss Huang’s winning essay, “The Other Side of the Glass Door,” at the “Phoenix Rhetorix” magazine banquet on Wednesday April 13.

Any piece written in the ENG 1100 course is eligible to be submitted to the competition, the professors or the students themselves being able to name written and multimedia works. A panel of faculty editors selects the winners.

“The people who have contributed the most to this inaugural issue are the students themselves, who have put in their time, their hearts and a lot of revisions – including revising several times throughout the fall of 2021, long after have submitted papers for their courses. . I cannot say enough about the commitment of these students who went above and beyond to revise in some cases five times and over the course of months with multiple faculty editors,” said Assistant Professor of English Heather Lindenman, who is co-editor of the journal. -in chief with assistant English teacher Travis Maynard.

Students from Maynard’s Editing and Editing Course helped create the journal and conduct interviews with authors and faculty, published with each article.

Assistant Professor of English and Co-Editor of
Assistant Professor of English and co-editor of “Phoenix Rhetorix” Heather Lindenman

The 2021-22 competition and journal is focused on writing around diversity, equity and inclusion, “with a particular focus on untold or told stories, writing that shares new perspectives or writing that seeks to counter misinformation or bridge divisions,” the editors state on the journal’s website.

The deadline to submit work created in ENG 1100 in Spring 2022 is May 18.