Outstanding Major Award
Morgan Conover: 2016
"I am truly humbled and honored to receive this award. Whenever I tell people I'm a Writing Major, they always say, "Oh, so like English?" I love using that opportunity to explain what the writing major is all about. Writing is a crucial skill for, well, everything. So knowledge of how to write well, and also how to read others' writing well, is essential. I genuinely believe that the Writing Program does incredibly important work. I am so proud to be a part of it." —Morgan Conover
In nominating Morgan Conover for the 2016 Carol Lipson Outstanding Writing Major Award, Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition chair Lois Agnew writes, "Her intellectual curiosity and thoughtful engagement with important questions are evident in her coursework. Her work in my WRT 424 course was stellar. She was thoroughly prepared for each class, engaged critically with challenging readings and topics of inquiry, and continually pushed herself as a writer and thinker. She is also an excellent colleague. Her open and generous attitude toward other students helped to foster respectful class discussions and productive peer review sessions." Agnew adds, "In addition to her academic strengths, Morgan has been an important leader in our program. As president of the Writing Program Student Organization*, Morgan has played an extremely important role in maintaining the ongoing vitality of this new group. I am confident that the WPSO has been significantly strengthened as a result of Morgan’s leadership style, and I am confident that she has helped to instill a vision that will sustain the group for many years to come."
Other nominating letters make similar observations and echo simlar sentiments:
Senior Lecturer Chris Feikes: "Morgan Conover was my student in WRT 255. Even though the course was in 2014, she’s kept in touch. Morgan is a talented writing major and a hard worker. She is a leader in classroom settings, but outside of classes as well."
Assistant Professor Brice Nordquist: "I’ve had her for two upper-division courses—last spring and this spring. Her growth as a student and scholar from last year to this year is remarkable. She was one of the strongest students in my WRT 424 course last spring in terms of engagement and ability, but this spring in my WRT 308 course, she is doing master’s level work and has found a way to bring other students up to her level. She is smart, generous and committed; she’s more invested her work and the work of writing studies than any undergraduate I’ve worked with at SU."
Assistant Professor Patrick Berry: "She embraces a deep commitment to learning based not solely on professional ambitions but also on a genuine desire to learn. With a double major in Writing and Rhetoric and Middle Eastern Studies, and a minor in Global Security Studies, she has pursued her academic endeavors with a desire to make sense of some of the most pressing social issues of our time. As she explained to me, she chose a major in Middle Eastern Studies because she wanted to better understand what was happening in that part of the world. Through the Study Abroad program, she has extended her inquiries through study in Beirut, Lebanon; Amman, Jordan; and Herzliya, Israel . . . . I have recently been meeting with her as she plans doctoral study in rhetoric and composition with a particular focus on how to teach writing more effectively in an age of high-stakes testing. Recently, one of Morgan’s essays, “Moving Off the Education Conveyor Belt,” has been accepted for publication. In it, she discusses how the purpose and value of education can be lost when the focus is solely on professionalization."
Morgan credits her success to many: "I want to thank Ivy Kleinbart for gently urging me to become a writing major. She believed in me as a writer long before I thought to believe in myself. I also want to thank my Professors: Patrick Berry, Lois Agnew, Brice Nordquist, Tony Scott, and Krista Kennedy. Also thank you to Chris Feikes. You all should get an award for reading my terrible first drafts while keeping a straight face."
"The things I've learned from this Major and this Program have been so formative for me. Here, I have found my passion and I am forever grateful and indebted. I plan on continuing my study of writing and rhetoric in graduate school—but only after I take some time off for a five-month road trip across the United States Jack Kerouac style."
Morgan's Kerouacian adventures can be followed at morganconover.com.
images above: 1. Professor Emeritus Carol Lipson presents Morgan with the award that bears her name, with Lois Agnew 2. Brice Nordquist and Associate Professor Tony Scott congratulate Morgan at Commencement
3. Patrick Berry and Morgan at Commencement 4. Lois Agnew and Morgan
*The student organization has recently changed its name: Writing and Rhetoric Student Organization (WRSO)