Student Spotlight: Jessica Meadows, Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership -->

Where instructors and editors talk writing.

Student Spotlight: Jessica Meadows, Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership

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The Walden University Writing Center is privileged to work with talented students. In the Student Spotlight Series, we aim to support incredible work our students do, both in and out of the classroom. The goal of the Student Spotlight Series is to provide the Walden community with a place to build bridges and make connections by developing shared understanding of the diverse and varied student journey. Students share stories about their writing process, their efforts towards social change, and their motivations for pursuing higher education. We ask questions, and students generously answer.

This Student Spotlight features Jessica Meadows, student of the the Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership.

This is an image of a bridge with the text overlay, "Walden University Writing Center. Building Bridges. Making Connections."
Walden University Writing Center | Building Bridges. Making Connections.

What is your professional and educational background
, and what degree are you pursuing at Walden? 
I earned a BA in Elementary Education in 1993 from American University and an MS in Curriculum and Instruction with a Concentration in Reading in 1997 from Hood College. I am certified as a reading specialist in grades k-12, and I have taught in elementary and middle school settings for 14 years.  Currently, I teach at the community college level. At Walden, I am pursuing a EdS in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment.  I’m about 2/3 of the way through that program.  However, I am considering transferring into the EdD program in the same area now instead of waiting until after the EdS is completed.  The EdD was always the final goal.  Now it’s just a question of the timing. I decided to pursue my doctorate at Walden because I wanted the flexibility of an online school.  Like everyone, I am busy with other aspects of life and I appreciate the ability to work from home.  There is also the possibility that I may move during the program making it impossible for me to attend a brick and mortar school.

What are your professional and scholarly goals, and how is your Walden degree program helping you to reach these? My overall goal is to impact schools and learning on a larger scale.  I’ve always worked in a classroom; now I would like to work with new teachers or to develop curriculum and have a greater ripple effect in education. I want to be an expert in my teaching craft.  I want to be able to share that with other teachers. Walden has helped me expand my view of education and leadership which will make me an effective agent for change. I currently have a 4.0 GPA, and although I disagree with many grading systems in educational settings, I am proud of being able to achieve academic excellence. For me, balancing family, teaching, and being in school is the most challenging aspect of pursuing a higher degree.  I use a calendar program to track assignments and block out periods of time when I plan to accomplish tasks.  I also block out time for family activities to make sure I don’t miss out on those opportunities, too. It doesn’t always go as planned, but it serves as a guide.

This is a photo of Jessica with her husband and daughter, when Jessica was dropping her daughter off for her first semester of college.
Jessica (right) and her husband (left) dropping their daughter (middle) off at Eckerd College for her first semester in college.
What drew you to using the Writing Center, and what Writing Center resources have you found the most beneficial? Several of my professors recommended to all students that they work with a tutor in the writing center. I’ve found the paper review service is the most beneficial resource! I’ve watched a few of the webinars, but the individual feedback is a powerful tool. In my time at Walden, the Writing Center has helped me by providing individualized feedback that has helped me become a stronger writer. I have become a much better writer of APA citations! I’ve noticed too that there are characteristics of academic writing that I have not had to incorporate in my writing for a while and some characteristics that I am including for the first time as a part of my Walden program.  Having someone with a careful eye to point these out to me is invaluable. Of course, APA citation review is always helpful too.

You have had dozens of paper reviews at this point; how do you find the time to make appointments each week, and what motivates you to continue to do this? I often schedule writing center appointments well in advance and use that as a way to hold myself accountable for making progress in whatever I am writing.  If I know that my tutor is expecting to see my writing, I am more motivated to get it done and uploaded in time! Also, the reviews are so valuable that I very much want to have feedback before a paper is due. I strongly recommend the paper review service. I also recommend developing a relationship with one writing tutor who can see your writing progress over time.

Through your paper reviews, you’ve been working on article annotations for your degree program, and you’ve developed a writing process that seems to be working well for you. What is your writing process for composing these annotations? Here’s an overview of what I do with some tips for my colleagues who will be writing annotations too:
  • For each annotation, I create a document.  I add the headings for annotations sections: summary, analysis, application.  As I read the article and come across information that helps build each section, I just start typing those details and my thoughts as I go.  Later, I go back and organize into paragraphs.
  • I always set each annotation aside for at least a day, then I go back and read it with fresh eyes for revising and editing.  Often, I find parts that don’t quite make sense or need to be reorganized.
  • I use the library’s resource on verifying peer review to ensure that I’m annotating a peer reviewed source, and I use to find the DOI of the article that I’m annotating.
  • I use as a resource as well.  It catches small details for me, like repetitive words, and offers suggestions for changes.
  • I make sure to schedule my writing center appointment and, when it comes, I upload as many annotations as I have ready at that time.
  • My goal is to do only one annotation per day; more than one annotation feels overwhelming.  Sometimes it is unavoidable, though.  This is where having a calendar and breaking big tasks into small steps is valuable.

What tips and suggestions can you offer to other Walden students as they seek to develop and improve their writing? Write, get feedback, revise, repeat!

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The Walden University Writing Center provides information and assistance to students with services like live chat, webinars, course visits, paper reviews, podcasts, modules, and the writing center webpages. Through these services, the Writing Center provides students assistance with APA considerations, scholarly writing, and other topics to enhance their scholarly work.

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