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.
Dr. Linda Macri
- Jennifer Ashlock
- Elizabeth Fixsen
- Maggie Fromm
- Nabila Hijazi
- Kisa Lape
- Kimberly O'Connor
- Natalie Phillips
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!
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
Are Drugs Any Different? Don't Bet on It
“The NCAA opposes all forms of legal and illegal sports wagering, which has the potential to undermine the integrity of sports contests and jeopardizes the welfare of student-athletes and the intercollegiate athletics community” (“College Sports Betting”). The Internet has made it easier than ever for gambling to occur in an anonymous and unsupervised manner.
Organic Food and Benefits
Shopping in the grocery stores, consumers will find increasingly congested stacks of food with the labels of “organic food”. Organic food has been one of the fastest growing sectors of food industry in the past few decades as a legitimate alternative to conventional food. Organic food can be defined as the “product of a farming system which avoids the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, growth promoters and additives” (Kouba 33).
The Electoral College: Rescuing America from Disaster Israel
Our Founding Fathers established the Electoral College as a system that protects our country and acts in its best interest. Before the crisis of the 2000 Presidential election, the Electoral College debate was on the backburners for many years, however new prominence has been delegated to the issue in recent years and alarming concerns have been brought to the forefront. To some, the election served as evidence in their case for the system’s abolishment, feeling it is archaic and outdated.
Experience and Other Evidence Essays
Corn Ethanol: Fueling our Nation's Insatiable Hunger
As our nation's economy grows and faces increasing competition from countries like India and China, its energy needs will continue to expand. In a world economy that is dependent on cheap, reliable fuel, our nation needs to adapt to rising world fuel prices in order to simply survive. Currently, the United States is investing in many technologies so that it may produce electricity cheaply; at the same time, it is looking for a solution to burning expensive gas in our cars.
Protecting the American Horse Anjuli
For the last several years the debate over outlawing horse slaughter in the United States has been a growing issue whose effects are being felt internationally. There are those in favor of outlawing horse slaughter because they believe that their pet should not be slaughtered for someone else’s plate, and that the mass killing of horses is inhumane.
The Demon of Drugs
Len Bias is considered by many to be the most talented basketball player to have ever played for the Maryland Terrapins. Twenty-fourth year Duke Coach, and Maryland rival, Mike Krzyzewski, described Bias as “an amazing athlete with great competitiveness,” likening him to the great Michael Jordan (Ryan).
Why Maryland Should Regulate the Use of Plastic Bags
Over the weekend I went grocery shopping and bought about fifty dollars worth of food. As I came back to my dorm, placed the food in the refrigerator, and stored the snacks in the kitchen cabinets, what remained on the kitchen floor were ten empty plastic bags. The cashier had placed what I had purchased in five double-bagged parcels. This is not the first time this has happened to me ever since I arrived here in Maryland as an exchange student one month ago.
Experience as Evidence Essays
Horse Welfare: Hope or Hopeless Anjuli
On a cold day this past January I was working at my veterinarian's office and I saw the most pitiful sight I have ever seen. I had been aware of neglect, one of my own horses was a rescue, but I only saw the cases where the horse survived. I saw the difference between a horse that lived out his years with a caring master and one who was forgotten and forsaken by his owner.
Final Research Essays
A Noteworthy Dilemma: The Importance of a Balance Between Music and Academic Subjects
As soon as the heavy metal doors of the school slammed behind me and I took a step into the building, I could sense that something was different. Something was missing. The last time that I was in this middle school the halls were alive with excited children carrying instruments, humming or singing new pieces of music, hurrying to their classes.
Being Multiracial in a Country that Sees Black and White
In America mixed race individuals are becoming more prominent in the media, politics and sports throughout the country. Some of the most popular mixed race individuals that we see everyday include Tiger Woods, Vin Diesel, Mariah Carey, Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, Derek Jeter, Halley Berry, Alicia Keys and of course President Obama.
Hearing Loss: Fixing Problems at their Source
Before I discovered quieter places to study at University of Maryland than the McKeldin Library, I was constantly forced to relocate myself throughout the library, as other students would seat themselves by me and subject me to the sickening, thrashing music which they listened to on headphones.
Understanding the Art of Economics
An argument in defense of free market capitalism in concern with the 2008-2009 recession and the structure of the United States’ economic system. This piece debunks Keynesianism and reveals major logical fallacies in the leftist school of thought. This paper is intended for American citizens, particularly those belonging to the academic and economics communities.