By Sarah Hill
This is the second part of a look at Baylor University’s professional writing and rhetoric major in the Department of English. The PWR major emphasizes the versatility of writing and the different ways it can be used in society.
To highlight how impactful Baylor’s PWR major is, we asked program alumni and current students to speak about their experience. The answers we received paint a picture of a major that is both professionally preparatory and provides an encouraging community of creative minds.
Katherine McClellanKatherine McClellan, a senior PWR major, wants to work in the editing and publishing industry.
“I am very grateful that Baylor offers PWR and that it is very writing-focused rather than literature-focused,” she said. McClellan also learned versatility in her PWR classes and was given the opportunity to try new ways of writing she would not have thought of before.
When asked what her favorite class was, she responded with “Creative Nonfiction,” a 3000-level class taught by Dr. Michael-John DePalma, associate professor of English and coordinator of the program in Professional Writing and Rhetoric.
“Creative Nonfiction opened my eyes to new ways of expressing myself and telling my story –– I had so much fun in that class,” McClellan said. “It really challenged me, it was frustrating at times, but ultimately incredibly rewarding.”
McClellan spent the summer of 2019 interning with a publishing house in New York, and plans to continue pursuing publishing jobs after graduation.
Chloe CaballeroChloe Caballero is a junior in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core as well as a PWR major with a minor in women’s and gender studies. She is also following a pre-law track and hopes one day to go into appellate law.
“As a pre-law student who hopes to go in to appellate law — essentially a law which relies on persuasive writing and logic — I thought that understanding the power of words via rhetoric would be beneficial,” Caballero said.
To Caballero, PWR means opportunities gained through the exploration of knowledge.
“The PWR major feels like it was so perfectly designed for me because of the wide yet niche topics that lie within it. It really is so difficult to pick a favorite class or teacher because they are all so incredible,” she said. “The PWR community is extremely close knit and it’s this sense of support and camaraderie which makes this major so incredibly unique.”
After graduation, Caballero plans to attend law school and put her PWR skills to practice.
We also asked graduates of the Professional Writing and Rhetoric program to describe their life after graduation, and discuss how the PWR major helped them reach their goals.
Chelsea Teague (BA ‘18) is law student at the University of Texas. Looking back on her undergraduate experience, she remembered the exact moment she decided to be a PWR major.
“I came to Baylor knowing that I wanted to be a lawyer. I was interested in PWR before, so when my advisor suggested it without any prompting from me I took it as a sign,” Teague said.
Teague plans on clerking for a judge after graduation from the University of Texas School of Law, and said the PWR major helped her adapt to new writing styles, giving her an advantage over her peers.
“It’s impossible to overstate the importance of good writing,” she said. “People you work with, your bosses, your clients — they’re all paying attention to how you communicate with them, and if you communicate well they tend to place more trust in you.”
Teague emphasized how important it is to take advantage of the PWR community available at Baylor, noting how helpful the PWR faculty can be.
Maxcey BlaylockMaxcey Blaylock (BA ‘13) works at Baylor’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary as the seminary’s media and communications specialist.
“My PWR courses taught me what writing looks like in a professional setting,” Blaylock said. “The wide variety of topics exposed me to the different types and styles of writing skills needed to work in the field of marketing and communications.”
Blaylock’s job requires her to both edit and write, as well as to manage the seminary’s social media accounts. She said until she entered the workforce, she did not fully understand how much good writers are needed.
“Proficient writing demonstrates intelligence, and skilled writing is needed in a majority of career fields,” Blaylock said.
When asked to give advice to current PWR majors, Blaylock reminds them of their greatest resource –– their Baylor instructors.
“I would be remiss not to mention the incredible faculty who lead the professional writing and rhetoric program. They served as advisors and encouragers throughout my undergraduate journey and even beyond,” she said.
Sarah Hill is a senior professional writing and rhetoric major at Baylor.