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Interpolations is a refereed online journal showcasing superior student writing from the English Department's First Year Writing Program. These essays represent the finest work--a combination of compelling ideas and outstanding writing--being produced by our academic community's newest members.

One of the purposes of an academic community is to facilitate the exchange of ideas between its members so that vibrant conversations can grow out of the perspectives in those members' work. This journal is an effort to foster our students' voices in the University of Maryland's ongoing academic discourse. In addition to the thought provoking essays that appear in the journal, there will eventually be forums for the entire university community to respond to these papers so that a real visible dialogue can occur in this space.

Journal Information

Program Director

Dr. Linda Macri

Editor

Adam Lloyd

Spring 2009 Editorial Board

  • Jennifer Ashlock
  • Elizabeth Fixsen
  • Maggie Fromm
  • Nabila Hijazi
  • Kisa Lape
  • Kimberly O'Connor
  • Natalie Phillips

Letter from the Editor

Dear Readers:

With more than a 50% increase in the number of submissions for the second issue of Interpolations the editorial board and I were forced, yet again, to face our ongoing existential dilemma. What do we want this journal to be, what is its identity, and what values should guide us in selecting the works that our vision comprises? Certainly, our ultimate goal is to choose essays that represent the finest work that is being produced by the University of Maryland's freshman students. However, coming up with the criteria to define what constitutes this "finest work" has proven perplexing.

The large pool of semifinalist papers all contained thought-provoking topics, unique positions, persuasive arguments, solid research, sophisticated vocabularies, eloquent sentence formation, and properly used grammar; however, as is often the case with essays written by the newest members of our academic discourse community, each possessed these qualities in widely varying degrees. It was our duty to decide, when such delineations occurred, whether we wanted to honor those essays that demonstrated the most polished writing and correct grammar or those with the most interesting, discussion prompting positions and arguments. As the editor, the decision ultimately landed in my lap and I made the call based on my own pedagogical bias. I believe that the purpose of academic journals is to foster the epistemic nature of composition--to encourage discourse and the formation of negotiated knowledge. While correctness should not be abandoned (and we did work with our finalists to encourage the revision and editing of their essays) it does, in my estimation, take a back seat to well-developed content. Those of you who disagree, and I'm sure there may be many, are free to discuss this decision with me at any time. In any case, I now feel that Interpolations has a clear identity and a well-defined mission going forward.

Once again, I thank everybody involved in the continued production and success of this journal--the entire English department, Dr. Linda Macri, Kevin Remmell, all of the English 101 TAs, and particularly the dedicated members of Interpolation's editorial board. I would also like to acknowledge all of the students who submitted their papers to Interpolations. We appreciate their support and their willingness to have their work judged by others in the name of enhancing our educational community. Finally, congratulations to those students whose essays made it into this issue of Interpolations. Your words give us all something to think about and each of you should be proud of the papers you have produced.

I'm already looking forward to reading the batch of submissions currently streaming in for the Spring 2010 edition of Interpolations!

Best,

Adam Lloyd

Essay Assignments

Experience as Evidence

For this paper students consider a personal experience and how that experience relates to the idea of civic engagement. They must develop an argument of inquiry that asks their audience to think about the questions they are posing, and to try to persuade their audience that the inquiry and the way the author is pursuing it is worthwhile.

Experience and Other Evidence

This paper builds on the first assignment as students consider how some element of their experience relates to a broader situation, issue, or controversy. Students combine their personal insights on the issue with evidence from research in order to develop an argument meant to persuade readers of a particular position.

Considering Another Side Essays

This assignment recognizes the importance of understanding the ideas of those who hold a position different than your own, in order to more fully comprehend an issue and to be able to refute opposing positions with assurance. In this paper, students take up the ideas and arguments of those holding alternative positions to their own, arguing as if they are on "another side."

Final Research Essays

In this paper students will make an argument using insights that they develop from their research and familiarity with the subject and discipline. This assignment requires that they understand a topic in depth, be able to offer background on what is at issue in the topic, put the topic and issues in context, and both support their own position and take other positions into account, either by refuting, conceding, or bridging those arguments.

Fall 2009 Essays

Considering Another Side Essays

Experience and Other Evidence Essays

Experience as Evidence Essays

Final Research Essays