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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


Catherine Bayly

Managing Editor

Scott Eklund

Fall 2020 Editorial Board

  • Shalom Rosenberg
  • Joshua J Weiss
  • Katherine Joshi
  • Marina Seamans
  • Roberto Leon
  • Steve Beaulieu
  • Scott Colin Eklund
  • Samantha O'Connor

Letter from the Editor

Dear Reader,

With great joy--and gratitude--managing editor, Scott Eklund, and I welcome you to the Fall 2020 edition of Interpolations. My joy stems from the intellectual breadth and rhetorical reach of our authors. This issue’s projects really run the gamut of genres and themes, and the essays contained here are products of countless hours of full-hearted research, reflection, and revision. And, especially in the uncertain maw of 2020, I am so humbly grateful for the stability and fortitude of our intellectual community. Our student-authors and faculty-run editorial board have forded a uniquely precarious landscape, and I am just so thankful that they stuck with it for the long haul, and that our collective efforts produced such truly exceptional work.

While these essays were all written prior to the Covid-19 pandemic or the current sweep of protests against racial injustice, each essay went through multiple rounds of revisions over the course of this tumultuous summer. Our authors’ commitments to this process made Scott’s and my jobs both easier and more satisfying. And their essays resonate now in new ways, and some have a near-prescient feel. Personally, I know I cannot read about confronting systemic injustice or exploring ground-breaking science without considering the opportunities and challenges 2020 has presented.

Asma Sofan’s Inquiry essay, titled “Addressing the Elephant in the Composition Classroom: Let’s Talk About Race,” could not feel more relevant to our practice and our program’s ever-evolving commitment to an anti-racist pedagogy. Sofan’s essay demonstrates seamlessly how stasis theory and productive ambiguity can be tapped to engage critical race theory, composition scholarship, and in-class pedagogy concurrently. Our featured summary and rhetorical analysis also focus on issues related to social justice, raising questions that intersect with issues of belonging and access. Alice Bi’s Rhetorical Analysis of “On Being a Refugee, an American - and a Human Being” by Viet Thanh Nguyen and Zach Merentstein’s Summary of “The Implicit Punishment of Daring to Go to College When Poor” by Enoch Jemott offer readers a window into two very different explorations of disenfranchisement and its attendant effects.

Meanwhile, the 2020 edition’s two standalone position papers, “A Caution Against Current Transgenic Mosquitoes” by Rohan Narayanan and “Implementing Safe Injection Facilities to Combat the Opioid Crisis” by Amber Owens take critical looks at scientific and public health status quos. Narayanan and Owens invite readers to think critically, challenging us to engage cutting edge medical science and public health policy to advocate for the most vulnerable among us.

In this edition, faculty and students will also find useful models for our public-facing assignments, as Academic Writing shifts into an increasingly public rhetorical focus. Sophia Warfield’s essay “The Issue of Overfishing in the United States” and her stunning infographic “Stop Overfishing” model the Academic Writing Program’s new Public Remediation assignment. Warfield’s work beautifully captures the potential for transforming our scholarly work into public advocacy. And, although the Digital Forum is not a new assignment, Anthony Liberatori’s website “Transportation Revolution: The Future of Public Transport in America” takes up the mantle of environmental stewardship and social justice, while modeling the visual beauty and rhetorical scope of public digital writing.  

Finally, I would like to offer a boundless and never-enough thank you to the board. Even in “normal” times, signing on to work with Interpolations is no small commitment--but this semester more than ever, producing these essays felt like a heavy life. And (the wonderful) Scott Eklund and I could never have produced this issue without the intellectual rigor and generosity of Steve Beaulieu, Katherine Joshi, Roberto Leon, Samantha O’Connor, Marina Seamans, Shalom Rosenberg, and Joshua Weiss.


Catherine Bayly
Editor-in-Chief, Interpolations

Fall 2020 Essays

Academic Summary

Digital Forum

Inquiry Essay

Position Paper

Position Paper + Public Remediation Project

Public Remediation Project

Rhetorical Analysis