The Department of Writing and Rhetoric held their 3rd annual Writing and Rhetoric Symposium on February 22nd, 2017, to celebrate the hard work of students and faculty in the department’s undergraduate programs. The symposium theme, “Crossing Boundaries: Listening, Writing, & Rhetorical Action,” showcased concurrent sessions focused on using concepts of writing and rhetoric to promote civic engagement, in addition to effective listening skills. The event featured two keynote speakers, several concurrent breakout sessions, as well as the induction of new members into Pi Epsilon Pi, the department’s chapter of a national student honor society for writing studies.

The student displays were interactive, and in most cases, collaborative. In addition to student displays, there were also a variety of workshops and panels to explore various talking points with respect to writing, rhetoric, and social matters.

The first keynote speaker, Dr. Alexandra Hidalgo, is an assistant professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University. She is also a documentarian whose work has been featured in many film festivals across the US, Indonesia, India, England, Scotland, Australia, Spain, and Canada. Her video book Cámara Retórica: A Feminist Filmmaking Methodology for Rhetoric and Composition was published this year by Computers and Composition Digital Press. Her featured session at the Symposium was titled “Alto Precio—Love, Loss, and Rebellion in Raising Bilingual Children.”

The second keynote speaker was Krystal Pherai, a UCF alumna from Valencia College. She works with the Peace and Justice Institute, while also serving as a coordinator for the Peace and Justice Ambassadors student group. She is active in the community by being a member of the League of Women Voters for Orange County, and also participates as an activist for many different causes. While at UCF, Krystal completed several upper-division courses in the Department of Writing and Rhetoric such as Rhetoric and Civic Engagement and Writing for Social Change.

The symposium concluded with the induction of eight writing and rhetoric students into the honor society, Pi Epsilon Pi. To be eligible for this student organization, one must have a GPA of 3.33 or higher in the program and have taken at least two writing and rhetoric courses beyond first-year composition.
Stay tuned for next year’s Department of Writing and Rhetoric Symposium, and get involved with DWR by taking courses (the majority of our courses are open to all students, regardless of major or minor), learning more about Pi Epsilon Pi, or attending one of our many upcoming events related to writing. Contact DWR Program Assistant Stephanie LiVigni at [email protected] if you would like more information about DWR courses or events.

Krystal Pherai giving her workshop on Identity, Testimony, and Listening. Photo Credit: Stephanie Livigni
Madeline Park describes her presentation to Stuart Dees, a composition instructor. Photo Credit: Stephanie Livigni
Keynote Speaker, Alexandra Hidalgo. Photo Credit: Dustin Edwards
Panel members Natasha Jones, Krystal Pherai and Alexandra Hidalgo in the interactive session “Socially Just Rhetorical Action”. Photo Credit: Rebekah Fitzpatrick
Keynote speaker Alexandra Hidalgo and featured speaker Krystal Pherai. Photo Credit: Rebekah Fitzpatrick