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SOAR Spotlight: Chris Hassay '17

Chris Hassay '17

“Laying the Groundwork for a Writing-Enriched Curriculum at Moravian University”

Major/Minor: English major with a minor in Business Management
Hometown: Bethlehem
Project Advisor: Dr. Fodrey

Briefly describe your project.

My project was designed to establish the Writing-Enriched program from the ground up. Dr. Fodrey and I used an established model at the University of Minnesota to guide us. Most of the decisions and work  were agreed upon after extensive discussion. After I had read some significant scholarship in the field and we had developed a rudimentary understanding of what our version of the program would look like, Dr. Fodrey and I implemented the system on the English department which was the pilot program for our study.

Why did you decide to turn your idea into a SOAR project?

Dr. Fodrey had expressed an interest in doing a SOAR project with me during the school year as a continuation to some of the work  I was doing in the classroom built around the rhetorics of interstellar travel. While this was interesting, we decided it would be more interesting to do a heavily collaborative project such as WEC together where we both had vested interest and agency. This was something that was decided (like so many things we do together) after a long discussion on how we wanted the summer to look, and the kinds of things we wanted to devote time to. The WEC process seemed to be the perfect choice for us both.

How did your faculty advisor guide you through your research?

As I have stated above, Dr. Fodrey and I talk quite extensively. Most of our work is grown out of this dialogue, and I have learned so much just from discussing back and forth. I think that is actually the most valuable thing I have gotten as well (among the laundry list of others).

What was your biggest obstacle?

Our biggest obstacle is time! We never have enough of it and our to-do list seems to grow constantly. Moving forward time management will definitely be something to keep in mind.

What has been your biggest takeaway from this experience?

My biggest takeaway is that writing is extremely nuanced and individualized. That many people can describe a similar thing using different lexicons based on their backgrounds. That it takes a ton of time and thinking about your own thinking to define what writing is.

What was the result of your project?

We compiled a massive amount of data which Dr. Fodrey proposed to the English department, and we have worked towards developing a lot of the systems that we will use with other departments this semesters.

Will you expand on your research after this summer is over? If so, where would you like to see it go?

We are continuing into the school year through independent study. This allows us to continue to collaborate which wouldn’t be possible with Honors.

In your own words, how do you feel about being awarded this opportunity?

I think it is just another example of how Moravian has given me a great opportunity and let me run with it. It was a fantastic experience and it has given me a lot of perspective in regards to Graduate School opportunities and what academic research looks like. Other students should take advantage of this opportunity because it is something that allows you to deeply investigate a topic that you find interesting on a level you have never done so before.