Bella Caffuzzi ’25
In a conversation with Ellie Ryan, a sophomore writing associate at Trinity College’s Writing Center, she spoke of her experience working in the Allan K. Smith Center for Writing. A profoundly helpful on-campus resource, the writing center assists students with any writing assignments and take appointments with students at various points along the writing process.
Ellie Ryan is a double major in English and public policy and law. She will also be continuing her studies abroad as a junior, planning on spending the entirety of the academic year at Oxford University in England.
Originally from Ho-Ho-Cus, New Jersey, Ryan has enjoyed writing since high school. While discussing her past writing experiences, she admitted to finding writing tedious at times, but said that “coming to college made me realize that I enjoy my writing assignments.” Her interest in writing was reignited once she started to enjoy receiving feedback from her professors which helped to reinforce her skills. Ryan said that she never thought she would become an English major, but once she came to Trinity, the major worked out for her, and she decided to continue with the subject. She spoke more about some of her experiences in the department and said, “We have such a good department full of amazing people and unique classes that they’re passionate about. I love it when a professor teaches a class based on their own personal interest.”
When asked how she got involved with the Writing Center, Ryan said that she was first interested in working there in her first semester at Trinity College. She said, “We had to go for an assignment for my First-Year Seminar. I knew I wanted a job already and I thought it could prepare me for the future.” Initially going to the writing center for a general edit of a paper, she inquired about the associate position and the application process. Ryan said, “I asked a professor that I knew well to write me a nomination, and I ended up getting the job. I was really proud of that accomplishment.” When asked about her early experience with the Writing Center, she acknowledged how excited she was to get the chance to be an associate and felt like she was joining a good group of co-workers and people. She also spoke more about her first experiences working as an associate and remembered it being “interesting to get the instructor’s mindset and help people explain their writing.”
Taking both scheduled appointments and walk-ins, Ryan works with students that are sent to her at different stages of writing and completion. She claimed that “We really try to advertise that it’s a collaborative process, and that people can come at any stage of the writing process.” She went on to say that “People come with nothing and we brainstorm and outline things,” and that “it’s a different challenge each time.” Ryan said that she enjoys working with different ideas, writing processes, and stages, and continued to say, “It’s kind of fun starting with a blank slate and having them leave excited for what they’re going to write. Of course we do read-throughs, but we think it’s important for people to know that we still do collaborative stuff.” Ryan noted that the writing associates can handle any type of writing in any subject, saying, “I’ve looked at lab reports, computer science, creative writing, it can be anything. Yesterday I looked at a research proposal. There’s really no boundaries.”
When asked what her favorite part of being an associate is, Ryan answered, “It’s really cheesy, but I love meeting new people. It’s nice to have a greater connection to the campus besides my friends.” She went on to say, “I meet people I wouldn’t have known otherwise, like a lot of upperclassmen which is nice, and I can definitely see myself doing it in the future. It’s nice to have people I can wave to on the long walk or in Mather. You feel like you have some sort of connection to the student body.”
Taking this into consideration, if any student needs any kind of writing assistance, make sure to stop by the Writing Center!