Jiani (Liz) Shen wrote this excellent essay for her final paper assignment in WR 098, a course for ESL students that asks them to engage in debates on a range of complex issues connected to the topic of globalization. For the first three units of the course, Liz and her classmates read and critically analyzed numerous essays that treated the themes of linguistic and cultural differences, multiculturalism and assimilation, and sense of self and belonging. In the final unit of the course, we shifted genres and discussed a novel, How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, which presented students with a (fictional) representation of one immigrant family’s experiences with many of the important themes that we had been exploring all semester. For their final paper assignment, the class was asked to pose a theme-related question about García Girls and to then develop an argument in which they also converse with two essays from units 1–3 for added dimension and support.
Throughout the semester, Liz’s writing repeatedly focused on issues related to the themes of multiculturalism and identity, and it was clear that her interest was academic as well as personal. Her proposal for this final paper was, therefore, a logical conclusion for her consistent critical and sophisticated questioning throughout the course. It was such a pleasure to witness Liz’s writing process and to discuss her successes and struggles with her as she thoughtfully progressed through (and revised) her argument. The result is a testament to her personal investment and intellectual curiosity, as well as to an impressive command of language and rhetorical strategies that anticipate alternate points of view while strengthening her own. I am so very proud of Liz and all of her accomplishments, and I wish her all the best in her continued studies at the University of Pennsylvania—they are lucky to have her!
— LESLEY YODER
WR 098: Academic Writing for ESL Students 2