By Hannah Melcher

At Bellarmine, students are required to take classes outside their major. Maddie Horton said she understands how challenging this can be when it comes to writing. 

“They often feel overwhelmed when the professors give them writing assignments because they do not know how to write for that subject,” Horton said.

Maddie Horton, student program coordinator for Bellarmine’s Writing Center, said she wants to empower students to feel comfortable writing for these different disciplines.

Horton serves as a liaison between the writing coaches and the Student Success Center’s directors. She is also required to create a project for the Writing Center that can be used by the Bellarmine community.

Horton said she thought of the idea to create a podcast as she was walking to her residence hall from Allen Hall last semester.

“With everyone doing a lot more online now, I know no one really wants to sit and watch an hour-long video, and workshops do not fit into everyone’s schedules,” Horton said. “But people love podcasts.”

Horton said students are more inclined to listen to podcasts because they can tune in from anywhere. 

“I know everyone can get really busy,” Horton said. “So I wanted to make it easy for students to get the help they need.”

Dr. Dominique Clayton, who serves as the director of academic services for Bellarmine, said Horton’s enthusiasm about the podcast made her excited for it as well.

“We are always looking for ways to engage with the faculty more and utilize their expertise and knowledge,” Clayton said, “So I told her if she had the time and energy to do it, then she had my support.”

Clayton said she hopes the podcast will help students as they experience different styles of writing throughout their college career.

“In high school, most students are only taught a certain way to write,” Clayton said. “But in college, there are many different types based on your field or course.”

Clayton said she wants students to know that it is okay if they do not know every style of writing for each subject.

“This podcast is a resource for students to learn those little details that will strengthen their writing for the areas that they need more work on,” Clayton said.

Horton said the hardest part of her podcast was getting faculty involved. She said she sent out more than 30 emails to professors from various departments.

Horton was surprised, however, that some professors were excited to be a part of her podcast. She said she never thought she would get such eager responses.

“Two professors even said it was on their bucket list to be featured on a podcast.” Horton said.

Dr. Sara Mahoney, the department chair for exercise science, said she was intrigued when Horton asked her to be on the podcast.

Mahoney said scientific writing is different from other types of writing.

“Lab reports and literature reviews are a huge part of what my students write,” Mahoney said. “They usually read all different pieces of research, and their job is to evaluate the arguments and evidence.”

Mahoney said organizing information in scientific writing is the most challenging aspect. She said often there will be many different articles and studies that students read, so finding a way to effectively organize this information is helpful for their writing. 

Mahoney said she believes Horton’s podcast is a more engaging way for students to improve their writing skills.

“Receiving information just through text can become hard to digest,” Mahoney said. “But if the information can be relayed through this podcast, I feel that students will get much more out of it.”

To prepare for each episode, Horton said she read sample papers for each discipline. She even asked other students if the questions she created were similar to what they would ask their professor.

“The information is very credible,” Horton said. “I am using faculty that could potentially be their professors, and they have a lot of experience on what they are talking about.”

Covid-19 prevented Horton from interviewing each professor in person, but she said she did not let that stop her. She instead conducted interviews through Microsoft Teams.

“It was not the fanciest setup,” Horton said. “I used the recording app on my phone for the audio and made it work.”

Horton named the podcast, “You’ve Come to the Write Place.” She said it is catchy and summarizes what her podcast is about.

“I want students to feel more comfortable in their writing,” Horton said. “And that title says it all.”

Horton said her goal for the podcast is not to become famous. Instead, she said she believes Bellarmine faculty have a lot to offer students, especially when it comes to writing.

When Horton was hired to become a writing coach, the Writing Center did not have a director. She said she was trained on the basics, did a few trial runs and that was it.

“I was hired by a student intern director, so I did not have to take the required writing course that writing coaches usually take,” Horton said. “And because of this, I realized I had this deficit that I did not have experience writing in different fields.”

In one of her podcast episodes, Horton said sharing writing with someone is like sharing a personal Spotify playlist. 

“You never know how someone is going to react.” Horton said.

“Writing is a growing process,” Horton said. “And I want to give every student a basic rubric of how to write for different disciplines, with advice from experts in the field, so they can be more confident in this process.”

Patrick Lewis, a senior communication major, said he wishes he had the podcast when he was starting out at Bellarmine.

“Even as a senior I learned many tips that I did not know and that I can use once I graduate,” Lewis said. “It is such an amazing idea.”

Lewis said writing papers is a huge part of college and writing is a skill students will need beyond their college career.

“Maddie took a great liberty in providing this resource,” Lewis said. “It is better to listen ahead of time instead of having to learn the hard way through a bad grade.”

Horton said once students begin to master writing skills, there are many benefits. 

“I want everyone to know that writing does not have to be this scary thing,” Horton said. “And when you learn how to write across many different fields, it is so much easier to express yourself.”

Students can access “You’ve Come to the Write Place” through the Writing Center’s page on the Bellarmine website. All episodes are found under the “What to Expect as a Student” tab. 

About The Author

Related Posts