Peace, Krikac, and 4 Peer Mentors Receive Writing Program Awards

PULLMAN, Wash.—The Washington State University Writing Program presented Contributions to Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Awards to Cameron Peace and Bob Krikac at a spring event.

The program’s Writing Center also recognized four peer tutors with Harold and Jeanne Rounds Olsen Award for Outstanding Contributions to Writing Center Initiatives at the April 13 DAESA Awards Ceremony.

“We’re pleased to honor these faculty members and students for the difference they make to our program, and for the work they do to benefit so many,” said Lisa Johnson-Shull, program director.

WAC Awards for Student Impact

The Contributions to Writing Across the Curriculum Awards were sponsored by the Harold and Jeanne Rounds Olsen Endowment. They were presented by Lisa Johnson-Shull, Writing Program director.

Peace, faculty in Integrated Plant Sciences (IPS), received this prestigious award because of his consistent, dedicated work over the past five years to improve the teaching of writing in IPS to the benefit of his students and the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. This involved collaborating with Writing Program leadership to develop extensive coursework at the 100, 200, and 400 levels. He has also supported the program’s staff in learning to write grants related to teaching writing in the sciences. Peace is credited as being a dedicated educator who has worked tirelessly to develop a scaffolded IPS writing curriculum that prepares students for the workforce.

Krikac, faculty in the School of Design and Construction, received the award because he has spent the past six years working with a small group students—even beyond their graduation—to bring a product design into being. They call it “The Table of Belonging.”  This is an actual table specifically designed to foster collaboration. Every stage of this project involved the students producing written documents in service of the design and manufacture of the table. The award specifically honors his ability to help students make writing authentic and in service of a practical, tangible outcome. The Table of Belonging has won several design awards and is the subject of an educational podcast. The award for Krikac was sponsored by both the Writing Program and The Creative Corridor, which is a “maker environment” for students and faculty, located in the SPARK.

Student Contributions to Center Initiatives

Four Writing Center peer tutors—Aja Uesato, Gerome Dosono, Jamie Diamond, and Puneet Bsanti—received the Harold and Jeanne Rounds Olsen Award for Outstanding Contributions to Writing Center Initiatives. Presenting their award was Brooklyn Walter, center director.

Since spring 2019, Uesato has facilitated hundreds of writing consultations with WSU students over Zoom, through emails, and in-person. Her attention to detail, strong communication skills, and respect for all ideas were extended to each student writer she met. She has been vital in helping to mentor and train dozens of new writing consultants over the past several years, which spanned transitions across remote and in-person services. The Writing Center is a multidisciplinary group of student-employees, and as a civil engineering student, Uesato has shared important STEM communication knowledge to the team of writing consultants. She is this May and will return to her home-state of Hawai’i where she’ll work as an engineering technician at Pearl Harbor.

Dosono also joined the Writing Center in fall 2019 and helped to carry the Writing Center through the remote months of the pandemic and back to the CUE building when WSU returned to campus. He brought writing and communication knowledge from wildlife ecology to his role as a writing consultant; additionally, he brought his ability to make anyone feel comfortable and welcome, which proved invaluable in those months of masks and social distancing. The hundreds of students supported by Dosono felt welcomed and respected by him, as have the many consultants he’s mentored. After graduation, he plans to work in wildlife conservation in Washington state or Hawai’i.

Diamond might hold the record for longest-serving undergraduate writing consultant. She joined the program during her freshman year back in spring 2017 as an English-education student hoping to get some experience related to teaching. She quickly became an integral member of the Writing Center team because of her incredible listening skills, genuine curiosity, outstanding communication skills, and her dedication to supporting and building up the people she meets. She has consistently embodied the values of the center. Hundreds of student writers have worked with her, and upwards of 30 consultants have been trained and mentored by Diamond over the years. The culture of the Writing Center has been shaped by her dedication to compassion, acceptance, and positivity. She is now working with Alaska Airlines.

Bsanti joined the Writing Center team in spring 2021. As a double major in print journalism and English, she brought a love of language and excellent communications skills to her work with writers; at the same time, she recognized that not everyone feels confident in their communication, and so she extended deep consideration and care to those struggling with their writing. Whether a student was trying to clarify their ideas or working out a troublesome sentence, Bsanti dove in with them and offered personalized, responsive, and compassionate support. She is building a foundation for her career in journalism with an internship with the Bellingham Herald.