When I first scrolled through the list of sample projects, I was surprised by how many past WRC majors had completed projects that had topics that I was interested in studying as well. The first sample project that I reviewed was Alex Wasson’s piece “‘Not Just Add International Students and Stir’.” In this piece, Wasson discusses the challenges that international students, who attend small liberal arts colleges, face when learning how to communicate in writing. I was very impressed by the ethnographic study that Wasson completed herself as well as by the substantial research that she collected about ESL and the hurdles that these students experience their first year in the United States. As a Spanish major, I was already interested in exploring topics related to Latino culture for my senior seminar project, but I had not considered creating a project that centered around Latino students. I have considered researching the rhetoric centered around Latino immigration; I know this is a large field so I know I would have to narrow it down.
Moreover, I am interested in exploring how the Latino community has influenced rhetoric and communication in the U.S. For instance, how does linguistics influence rhetoric and communication? What barriers do rhetors and communicators face when appealing to a multilingual audience? Once again, I have not fleshed this idea out, but I am still interested in exploring this. Also, I have thought about creating a project that focuses on Lexington Community Radio (LCR), which is where I am interning this year. This could possibly tie into the idea/topic that I just mentioned. I would love to attempt creating a project that differs from the standard research paper; perhaps I could make a video or podcast about the El Pulso or LCR in general, analyzing rhetoric or communication. My biggest question or concern at this point is that I know I need to narrow my topic if I decide to create a project that pertains to Latino culture; for that reason, I would need to have a brainstorming session with my professors.
Another sample project that I reviewed was Leslie Bartley’s essay, “Trans*cending Dominant Media.” Bartley’s essay discusses how mass media defines and explains transgender as well as determines judgment on this group. I’m very intrigued by this topic as well; my sophomore year I analyzed a speech by Laverne Cox by using the narrative rhetorical methodology. Before I read Bartley’s essay, I had already considered expanding on this topic. I’ve also written an analysis of Emma Watson’s #HeforShe speech, which promotes gender equality. I’m very interested in expanding on these projects because I’m very passionate about the topics. I’m not exactly sure what direction I want to take, but I’m still exploring.
The third and final sample project that I looked is Elaine Bailey’s travel journal, Wanderlust. I had spoken with her throughout the Fall 2015 semester as she completed her project, but I never got to see the final product until now. I’m really amazed by how it turned out; I knew that Elaine worked so hard, but I’m still really excited that it turned out so well. I admire Elaine for completing such a unique, nontraditional senior seminar project. Magazines contain such an interesting form of rhetoric, and I’m sure that it was very difficult how to present the magazine as a whole. Each section has to compliment one another so there’s a lot of planning that had to go into this project. Elaine’s project has inspired me even more to attempt creating a nontraditional senior seminar project too. I really like her topic, but I think I’d like to try something different than traveling. For some reason, her topic reminded me of a short essay I wrote in my AP English Literature class my senior year of high school. I wrote about Kentucky basketball, portraying it as a fifth season. Reflecting on that essay raises questions for me: could I expand on the topic? If so, how can I present the topic in a unique way? Perhaps I could create a short video that demonstrates the rhetoric showcased in sports by focusing on Kentucky basketball—or Kentucky sports versus Transylvania sports since the universities are drastically different.