Megan Waterfield Places in First-Year Essay Contest

February 24, 2016

ALLIANCE, Ohio—Freshman Megan Waterfield ‘19 won third place in the Northeast Ohio English Department Consortium’s (NEOEDC) First-Year Student Essay contest for her essay “You’re Going to Regret Your Poor Grammar.”

Mount Union freshmen were encouraged to submit an essay written for a First Year Experience or writing composition course. Fifteen student essays were considered for the award. Waterfield is the second Mount Union student in two years to win an award from this contest.

Waterfield, a marketing and Spanish major of Warren, Pennsylvania, wrote a 15-page paper about the relevance of grammar in today’s society and its implications on both the educational and business world.

“I decided to write my paper on this topic because growing up, my parents, grandparents and even older siblings would always correct me whenever I misspoke. So, naturally, I became a grammar advocate myself—I feel like it’s a necessity to make you sound educated, both verbally and on paper.”

To obtain research for her essay, Waterfield asked her First Year Seminar professor, her mother, her grandfather and a friend their opinions about the importance of grammar.

“My favorite part of writing the essay was comparing each of their responses. The biggest difference was that my friend said that grammar isn’t too important because we have the technology to do it for us – spell check, auto-correct, the internet. On the other hand, my grandfather explained that grammar is evolving; we are now more lenient with our usage.”

Waterfield originally wrote the essay for Rhetorical Grammar, a humanities course offered as part of the integrative core. The requirements were to do primary and secondary research and write an 8-10 page paper about a topic related to grammar.

“The hardest part about writing this paper was actually starting to write the paper,” Waterfield said. “I had no idea where to begin. I visited Dr. [Rodney] Dick’s office and he helped me get started, and then the words just found their way to the paper.”

Outside of her classes, Waterfield is the historian and assistant vice president of finance for the Alpha Chi Omega sorority, the secretary of H.O.L.A. and is a member of American Marketing Association and Knitting Club.

“Because our curriculum provides students the opportunity to write in a variety of disciplines and for a variety of audiences, our students are well equipped to perform well in these kinds of writing contests,” said Dr. Rodney Dick, Chair of the Department of English at Mount Union. “They’re not limited to the kinds of topics and essays that many universities do as the foundation of a traditional college writing experience. Megan is a thoughtful student, and she’s a good researcher and writer. These skills and abilities will make her successful in college, in her major, and in the world beyond the university.”

The Northeast Ohio English Department Consortium consists of college English departments in the Northeast Ohio area, including Baldwin Wallace University, Malone University, Walsh University, Ursuline College, Lake Erie College and the University of Mount Union. For two years, it has provided students with various writing opportunities and events, including the First-Year Student Essay contest.

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