College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

All Spotlights » Megan Ward, '06

Few people land the job they dreamed of having in college, and even fewer realize that dream just a few years after graduating. Megan Ward, '06, made the decision her sophomore year while working for GVSU's Fred Meijer Center for Writing that she someday wanted to direct a center of her own. At the young age of 23, Ward is now Writing Center Director at Northwestern Michigan College. Her Grand Valley experience was invaluable in helping her accomplish this goal, and she counts her time at the Meijer Center for Writing as one of the best aspects of her undergraduate education. "I found my niche, and met a group of friends with personalities and interests similar to my own," says Ward. It was with some of these friends and writing faculty member John Lestat, that she co-founded the student organization, Writers'Club, a creative writing group on campus. "I received excellent support from the faculty in both the English and Writing Departments, who all provided ample opportunities to go above and beyond and explore our own ideas." After graduating magna cum laude from GVSU in 2006 with bachelor's degrees in writing and English, she earned a master's degree in rhetoric and composition at Miami University of Ohio in 2008. A key influence for Ward has been Meijer Center for Writing Director Ellen Schendel, who assisted her in narrowing down graduate school options to top programs, and connecting her with individuals who attended various programs across the nation. "Ellen's mentorship allowed me to more fully understand what it meant to be a professional in the field, before actually entering it. Through working with her, I was able to see what the job would be like and how to be successful in the field of writing centers and composition." Her graduate experience was a trial as she struggled with competitive classmates, but she survived only to face the challenge of landing a job in her field. She applied for jobs spanning the country, but the one she landed brought her unexpectedly back to Michigan. "My goal was to use the opportunity of job searching to move somewhere else in the country that I hadn't lived in yet. It seemed like the perfect timing. However, with the job market like it is, I ultimately had to choose based on which job fit me the best, and that happened to be in Traverse City." Megan found the perfect career fit at Northwestern Michigan College, a publicly funded community college serving the Grand Traverse region. "I enjoy the smaller atmosphere, as there seems to be a large deal of collaboration happening across campus. I'm also seeing students extremely engaged in the material and eager to learn." Her primary responsibility is managing the writing center within the communications department of NMC. In addition, she manages a reading tutor program, where college students are placed into local elementary schools, as well as a teaching assistant program in conjunction with basic writing classes. She oversees 20 students in the writing center and another 10 students in the reading tutor program. "My employees are the main reason I love this job so much. They are amazingly engaged, intelligent, and interested both in their jobs and in academia. Every day is a new experience and I'm incredibly thankful to have such a motivated and resourceful staff." Another aspect of working in academia which appeals to Megan is the ability to continue conducting her own research within the field. Within writing center work, she is studying the idea of professionalism among student tutors in writing centers and how that affects them both as members of the profession and as students themselves. Another facet of her professional research is that of Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender spirituality, and how rhetoric in the public sphere shapes the spiritual development of LGBT individuals. Added May 2009


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