In “When Awareness Is Not Enough” Meghan Robbins explores a weighty problem: Why are women still dying of heart attacks at a higher rate than men, despite the success of recent awareness campaigns educating women about symptoms? The explanation Meghan offers for this persistent gender gap is a fascinating example of the ways biology and culture interact. She wrote the essay as part of a semester-long independent inquiry in WR 150: “Representing Illness,” which is part of the Genre and Audience cluster.

Though Meghan’s essay is driven by passion, even outrage, her argument is precise and carefully supported. It was hard for Meghan to achieve this balance as she drafted, but a series of opportunities for peer review, including a cross-section exchange with Gwen Kordonowy’s students, helped her refine her rhetoric in a way that satisfied the expectations of the kind of academic reader WR 150 students are learning to become. Meghan’s essay offers an inspiring example of how the best academic writing marshals passion to serve logic and marshals logic to serve passion. It also shows that Meghan’s high school English teacher is right: Aspiring doctors should keep writing!

WR 150: Representing Illness