This post is written by WRD Student Assistant, Charlene Haparimwi.
Mariah Schultz is a senior at DePaul University studying Dramaturgy with minors in History and Professional Writing in the Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse Department.
Schultz’s first WRD class was 103, the writing course for first-year students at DePaul. Though it was required, she is thankful that she had to take it because of a faculty member who helped her declare a Professional Writing minor, former WRD Professor Nathan Fink.
“Nathan was an inspiring professor and made every class tie into the current events of our world by using The New York Times as a constant, living source of writing and rhetoric,” says Schultz. “He helped encourage my fervor for writing, so much that I not only took WRD 104 with him but also became a WRD minor per his suggestion. [Fink] gave me the courage I needed early on as a freshman to declare, ‘I’m a writer and I belong here.’ He is no longer with the WRD department, but I will always be grateful to the time he gave me during my freshman year.”
Fink was not the only professor that has made an impact on Schultz’s academic and professional career. Justin Staley, Amy Hornat-Kaval, Jason Schneider, and Margaret Poncin also had a hand.
“I had Justin Staley for ‘The Rhetoric of Satire’ class, and he challenged my writing skills in a medium I had no idea how to write for, but was capable of in writing comedy. Amy Hornat-Kaval’s passion for technical writing inspired a love for it in me that I didn’t know I had. I took a class with Jason Schneider that examined the rhetoric of music. I got to share with him and the rest of the class Sia’s ‘The Greatest’ music video which blew his mind about how music can craft a strong, rhetorical argument. He also provided me extremely helpful feedback and encouragement when I interviewed with him and Margaret for the WRD Mentor position.”
WRD 111 Mentor
Schultz served as a WRD 111 mentor this past Autumn Quarter under Margaret Poncin, who she greatly admires for her genuine care and teaching skills. Along with junior Delaney Morrison, Schultz served as a guide for international transfer students who were transitioning into their second year at DePaul, helping with their writing, fielding questions about Chicago and campus life, and offering advice on skills such as time management and their mental/physical wellness.
“I adored working with Margaret and was thankful to have such a supportive aide at my side as we navigated through this exciting experience together,” said Schultz. “It was helpful to not only observe [Poncin] teach lessons, but also see how to facilitate conversations between students, as some of them didn’t even know each other. I felt it was a helpful experience getting to learn firsthand about intercultural communication. I would highly encourage WRD students to apply, especially if they are interested in international relations, as I am, to serve as a Chicago Student Mentor.”
Professional Writing Minor
As a Dramaturgy major, Schultz says that the Professional Writing Minor complements her major well. She explains a dramaturg as a “consultant on a production who makes sure it’s living up to the intentions of the playwright, is executed in a clear vision by the director, and abides to any historical accuracies.” According to Schultz, The Theatre School matches this specificity in its curriculum with classes such as script analysis, directing, and dramatic theory. Schultz believes her Professional Writing Minor has strengthened her work as a dramaturg.
“Though I love my major and have enjoyed my time studying theatre through this lens, I appreciate the openness that surrounds WRD classes,” explains Schultz. “It’s refreshing to get to learn about all different kinds of writing from professional writing to satire, to digital, to technical writing. Dramaturgy requires a lot of writing, and I’ve gotten to sharpen my skills over the years while simultaneously crafting materials for the productions I work on.”
In the end, Schultz praises the WRD instructors for being the heartbeat of a department that has guided her through her undergraduate career.
“In getting to take all the different courses WRD offers, these professors helped reveal another layer of myself. The faculty here have a genuine care for teaching, the subjects they cover, and most importantly for their students to enjoy and succeed with the material they are given. I’m thankful I was able to pursue a WRD minor at DePaul, and for the classes and connections I’ve been able to have with professors.”