YSW Interns Reflect on Experience at Naylor Workshop
On the weekend of September 24th to September 26th, the 6th annual Naylor Workshop on Undergraduate Research in Writing Studies was hosted by York College of Pennsylvania (YCP). This workshop has hosted many researchers who would later be published in Young Scholars in Writing. After a year spent virtually, mentors and undergraduate researchers from all over the country, some as far as Montana or Texas—and some as close as York, PA—were able to come together and share their unique ideas. These undergraduate researchers were able to meet with fellow researchers and mentors to progress their research projects by exchanging ideas, discussing further avenues of research, and receiving feedback. Regardless of what stage researchers were in their research projects, they all were able to develop said projects and present them to each other by the end of the workshop. As interns for YSW, we—Jalil and Kameron—also had the opportunity to attend. All in all, it was a productive and memorable weekend for those involved, and certainly a re-welcoming to the in-person format of the Naylor Workshop.
On the first day of the workshop, that Friday, researchers and mentors traveled from all over the country to York, Pennsylvania, and settled into their hotel rooms at Wyndham Garden. From the get-go, YCP representatives were there to greet researchers and mentors as soon as 4 PM. That night’s event was held in the hotel’s outdoor courtyard where there was a vast selection of hors d’oeuvres before dinner was later served. At the event, Dominic DelliCarpini, the Naylor Workshop Founding Director and Dean of the Center of Community Engagement at YCP, started the night off with an introduction. The next speaker was Sheila Carter-Tod, the Plenary Speaker and Workshop Leader, who introduced and defined this year’s Workshop theme: “Embodied Social Justice Research.”
The second day was held at PeoplesBank Park, the home of the York Revolution baseball team. The event was all day but it was an action-packed day with provided meals and extensive hours dedicated to developing undergraduates’ research projects. It started at 8 AM and researchers and mentors alike were able to give introductions. For researchers, they were also able to describe their research project and what motivated them to devote their time to it. Everyone was soon sent off to work with their groups and discuss in detail their projects. This session helped researchers identify their projects’ strengths, weaknesses, potential directions, and key things to look at. In these small groups of approximately 6 to 8 people, everyone was able to discuss and exchange ideas. Throughout the day, researchers were able to meet individually with mentors who they felt had research focuses that aligned with their individual projects. After much time, dedicated to developing these projects, everyone was served dinner and was free to partake in the games at the stadium and overall have a fun time together.
The third day was held at Marketview Arts, a local art gallery owned by the college. This day was focused primarily on finishing the presentation aspect of the projects and then later presenting them to the workshop—science fair-style. Researchers and mentors alike were able to go around and look at the projects, ask questions, and leave notes. This worked to not only help researchers know additional steps pertaining to moving forward, but also to show the work they’ve spent the weekend working on: effectively serving as a conclusion to the workshop.
Undergraduate researcher, and YSW intern, Kameron Cherry shares his experience participating in this year’s Naylor Workshop:
The Naylor Workshop was focused on social justice and our role in research. The whole weekend we had to challenge ourselves and our research, whether that is through method, data, or relatedness. We met a lot of undergraduates and mentors that have been heavily involved in the sphere of some sort of research in their respective fields. For the undergraduates, we had to challenge ourselves to not just see our own research as something we create and are trying to prove true, but something that can change society itself. Throughout the whole workshop the mentors were pushing us to create and innovate the research we have because they knew soon we will be the ones who are finding new methods and research for society as a whole. The mentors were solely there for us and to enhance our understanding of our own research. This is one of the many reasons why the Naylor Workshop felt more than just a workshop, but rather a community to build ideas and get to know other researchers that can help our own research. Undergraduates from all over came together to share their research with others, which shows how impactful this workshop is. People's experience and other factors were not ignored because that experience helped drive you to your research and helped ask questions others were not answering. “Why research this?” That was the question every mentor asks to undergraduates and that is the point of research. Research never tends to stop. There will always be more questions they ask, but the fact these mentors trust undergraduates to answer them is such a powerful experience. The mentors, leaders, experts, professors, and everyone in Naylor knew that undergraduates are the future in any research field, and the world itself through social justice.
Jalil Dixon, another undergraduate researcher and YSW intern, also participated in this year’s workshop and would in short, describe the experience as “memorable”:
When I walked into the hotel that Friday night, I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t have my own research project at this point in time and I wasn’t positive on what to expect, but I knew something was different, but a good sense of something being different. When I saw all of the researchers and mentors who were so eager, friendly, and knowledgeable, I felt that these were people who were going to change the world. Every person had some stake, their own personalized interest, in what made social justice important to them. I could feel that everyone was passionate about their research projects and that passion shined through over the course of the entire weekend. When I talked with fellow researchers, I could just see how much they cared about the projects and it really inspired me with the development of my own project. When I talked with the mentors, I just felt how passionate they were about the role and how much they enjoyed working with the researchers; they just had so much knowledge and it really enlightened me when it came to how I should shape my research project. Through these conversations with these amazing people who are just as passionate about these writing studies topics, social justice topics, as I am, I was able to not only come out with a research project that I feel passionate about and willing to develop further, but also a memorable experience that will last through the people I was able to make connections and contacts with.
For more information about the Naylor Workshop on Undergraduate Research in Writing studies, go to: https://www.ycp.edu/about-us/offices-and-departments/center-for-community-engagement/workshop-for-undergraduate-research-in-writing-studies/