William Zinsser wrote, “Writing is thinking on paper. The corollary is also true, and a recent showcase of UC Santa Barbara student projects in the Raab Writing Fellows program offered compelling insight into some of the things undergraduates think about.
The 21 projects of the 2022 Fellows cover a variety of different types of writing, from academic and multimedia writing to personal and creative writing, with topics ranging from “The Sound of Queerness in Tap Dance” to “Lost in Translation : A Look into Multilingualism’s Effect on Personality and Identity”, “Breaking Binaries: A Zine on the Gender Non-Conforming Experience” and “Unsafe Passage: A Generational Story of Vietnamese ‘Boat People’”.
Funded by Dr Diana Raab (dianaraab.com), a well-known local author and speaker on the intersection of mental health, wellness, and writing, the one-year program provides one-on-one professional mentorship and research opportunities to select undergraduate students . It also includes stipends – a key element in promoting equity for all students – for conference fees, materials and travel, and for mentors.
Ljiljana Coklin directs the program and teaches the year-long research seminar. “The projects are generated by the students,” she said. “Sometimes the projects are based on assignments done in different classes, but more often the projects are based on the interests of students who couldn’t easily fit into one of their classes.”
Personal experiences and interests are clearly at the forefront for many projects. For example, first-generation student Luis Garcia said he focused most of his interviews with his students and research on other first-generation students to create the “Gaucho Survival Guide.” in the face of COVID-19”.
For her analysis of a familiar cinematic trope, Grace Wilken made a short film titled “Days and Nights: An Anti Manic Pixie Dream Girl Film,” which both exposes and subverts the common elements of the dream girl and looks at them. from a female point of view.
Presenting his project ‘The Kids Are Not Well: Representations of Teenage Depression and Anxiety in Popular Fiction’, Luc Le said, “Stories are incredibly powerful things. They have the power to shape the way we think.
Some of the scholars’ projects have a direct link with their professional ambitions. For example, Chloe Le, a 2021 scholar who will begin law school in August, wrote a research paper titled “The Injustice in Justice: Discrimination Against Women of Color in the Legal Profession.” “This program allowed me to explore and raise awareness of the systemic barriers to advancement that female ethnic minority lawyers tend to face throughout their careers,” Le said.
Although his writing and research skills improved, Le said, “the most beneficial part of the program for me was meeting amazing people who continued to support me as I embarked on my legal career.” . Sandy Roxas, one of the lawyers she interviewed, became a mentor. “She reviewed my personal statements to law school, helped me secure scholarships, and constantly reassured me throughout the law school admissions process. »
Fellow 2021 Fellow Vivian Walman-Randall said: “The Fellowship pushed me to write my novel and keep my output high during a global tragedy that could have easily led to burnout and despair. . The experience strengthened and strengthened my internal motivation and nurtured a self-directed writing practice. … I’m so grateful to have had the experience of being a Raab Scholar; it was truly one of the most rewarding things I did during my undergraduate studies.
Now applying to the Creative Writing MFA programs, Walman-Randall offered what might be the highest possible praise for a writing program of this type: “Because I undertook the fellowship, I realized that I don’t was not just an aspiring writer, but a writer through and through.”
For more information and to view the Raab Writing Fellows 2022 Program projects, visit raabwritingfellows.com/category/2022.