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Interpolations is a journal of academic writing from the University of Maryland. Annually, the editorial board publish essays highlighting exemplary rhetorical work University of Maryland students first produce when taking English 101: Academic Writing.

Journal Information


Katherine Joshi

Managing Editor

Scott Eklund

Fall 2018 Editorial Board

Scott Eklund

Amanda Allen

Katie Bramlett

Amanda Fiore

Nabila Hijazi

Dara Liling

Samantha O’Connor

Nataliya Pratsovyta

Radford Skudrna

Joshua Weiss

Rahel Worku

Letter from the Editor

Dear Reader,

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to our 2018 issue of Interpolations.  

In University of Maryland’s Academic Writing classes, we challenge our students to engage in the field of rhetoric through the tasks of researching, analyzing, and, ultimately, participating in complex conversations themselves. We understand that this undertaking is not easy, and, as a result, we delight in our students’ desires to not only succeed in the class, but also grow as academic writers, researchers, and thinkers. Throughout each semester, our students dive deeper into the course’s focus on inquiry, rhetoric, research, and the writing process--concepts that we find integral to succeeding as both an academic writer and as an individual engaged in civic and social issues. The selections for this year’s issue demonstrate the diligence and perseverance of our students as they tackle those dual responsibilities of commitment to scholarship and society, as well as our students’ interest in complex, ever-evolving, and timely issues. In this issue, we can truly say these pieces showcase our students’ abilities to research and write with precision, demonstrating their commitment to continual academic growth.

In concrete ways, the themes explored in this issue of Interpolations grew out of changes that were made to the standard Academic Writing curriculum. Starting in Fall 2018, our standard syllabus refocused the Summary and Rhetorical Analysis assignments to concentrate on themes of diversity, power, inclusivity, and equity. Our 2018 issue provides both a summary and rhetorical analysis of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s inspiring Ted Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story,” in which Adichie discusses our critical need to look past misunderstandings and single narratives before we judge other people, places, or cultures. Nirmeen Shumpert captures the complexity and power of Adichie’s speech in her summary; José Hannan builds on Shumpert’s summary by providing a breakdown of the nuanced rhetorical strategies that make Adichie’s speech successful, as well as the continued timeliness of her message. In addition to Shumpert and Hannan’s pieces, Madison Stech details Roxane Gay’s commitment to an inclusive definition of feminism in her summary of Gay’s essay “Bad Feminist.” Sara Heckelman’s analysis of Lynn Z. Bloom’s essay “What is Good Enough Writing Anyway?” shows a skillful understanding of Bloom’s relationship with her audience and how she adjusts her essay accordingly.

Although our inquiry and digital forum selections explore different topics, our two authors achieve similar success in demonstrating their understandings of how communities are impacted by exigent issues. Layo Adewole’s Inquiry “Mental Health: Let’s Talk About It” investigates the many catalysts impacting black communities in relation to mental health treatment. Adewole draws our attention to the internal and external factors that complicate her issue--such as history, community, stigma, family, and religion-- and, through a thought-provoking Inquiry driven by a desire to understand this issue on a deeper level, draws our attention to an ever-growing and ever-serious crisis.   Savanna Wright’s Digital Forum “Debating the Electoral College” opens with an overview of how the electoral college is intended to work, before embarking upon an exploration of whether or not the electoral college still provides the best method for choosing our next President. Each page provides a different position that responds to her initial line of questioning, leaving the final conclusion (should we abolish? revise? preserve?) up to the reader.

Finally, our position papers tackle exigent issues that impact our campus communities more than we may realize. Raphael Erfe’s position paper, “One Man’s Food Waste is Every Man’s Problem: The Role of Marketing in the Food Waste Issue” argues that food retailers and businesses need to recognize their role in contributing to the United States’ immense problem with food waste, and provides ideas for how to tackle this unsettlingly large problem. His paper should be required reading for all students attending college, as it will surely change one’s relationship with food purchasing and wastefulness. Jacob Cohen’s paper, “Protection Against Ideas: Campus Safety in the 21st Century,” tackles an issue significant to all in academia--the intersection of campus and student safety with constitutional rights and the purpose of an education.  Through inclusion of the University of Maryland’s approach to this issue, Cohen provides an examination of what free speech and safe space means as a universal definition of campus safety continues to change.

Before concluding, I would like to thank our dedicated 2018 Interpolations board, without whom this issue would not be possible: Scott Eklund (our Managing Editor), Amanda Allen, Katie Bramlett, Amanda Fiore, Nabila Hijazi, Dara Liling, Samantha O’Connor, Nataliya Pratsovyta, Radford Skudrna, Joshua Weiss, and Rahel Worku. Thank you for your continued dedication to our students’ success and to strong academic writing, both with your work for Interpolations and within your own classrooms. Finally, in closing, I want to extend our gratitude to the heart and soul of this publication: our student writers, whose hard work and substantive revisions during the editorial process have made possible the issue that you see today.

I hope you enjoy this outstanding student writing!

Happy Reading,

Katherine Joshi
Editor-in-Chief, Interpolations


Fall 2018 Essays

Academic Summary

Digital Forum

Inquiry Essay

Position Paper

Rhetorical Analysis Essays