Resource center offers power of pen

The English department held an open house Wednesday in order to make more students aware of the Writing Resource Center, which re-opened almost a year ago.

The WRC, located in room 100 in Tucker Hall, was funded by a Title III grant, but once it lost its funding, it shut down, WRC Director Veronica Yon said.

“During that time, we noticed a decline in students’ writing skills,” said Yon, who wanted to re-open the center and make students from all majors aware of it.

“We’re looking to broaden the writing center beyond the English department.”

Noticing the decline in students’ writing abilities, Yon and Genyne Boston, the English department chair, decided to do what they could to bring back the WRC.

Yon’s work with Boston won another Title III grant, and in October 2004, the WRC was re-opened.

Due to the WRC opening bers to go up.”

The WRC has been equipped with 18 new internet and Microsoft Word connected computers, 16 of which are open to students of any major, English or not.

The book collection, complete with writing help books, English class books and Shakespeare, will continue to grow to accommodate the needs of more students.

Undergraduate, graduate and faculty volunteer writing tutors will also be available to help students improve their skill of the pen.

Tutors were chosen after they provided letters of recommendations from teachers, were interviewed and produced writing samples.

To further assist the needs of students, the WRC staff will host different workshops during the semester, some of which John Pickett III will direct.

“We have workshops throughout the semester,” said Pickett, assistant WRC director. “I will be doing a workshop on MLA and APA (writing styles).”

Pickett said that just because the center has its staff and volunteers does not mean that he will just sit and observe.

“Dr. Yon and I also assist; that’s what we’re here for,” Pickett said. “When I’m not teaching, I’m essentially here.”

Although the writing center is set up to help all of FAMU’s students, some believe they do not need it.

Soheyla Mahdavian, 21, who spends all of her school time in the Pharmacy building, believes her writing skills are “proficient,” so she does not need to walk over to Tucker Hall for tutoring.

“I am in the Pharmacy building and I don’t come up to the main campus much,” said Mahdavian, a third-year pharmacy student from Monticello. “If I needed writing help, I would probably go to someone in pharmacy.”

Students throughout campus are beginning to appreciate the benefit of the center.

“I would recommend the writing center to anyone,” Mahdavian said. “Any type of tutoring is good, especially if you need it.”

Yon plans on having the WRC tutor anyone, even if they are high school students.

Thanks to a grant given to her by the Faculty Reward Program, Yon is developing FAMU After-school Writing and Reading Enrichment Program (AWARE) for Leon County high school students.

Yon hopes to have FAMU AWARE ready for students soon.

The WRC is open from on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 a.m.

Contact Brandon D. Oliver at