Undergraduate Research


The Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program (WSAP) supports undergraduate research in writing studies.

We offer several ways for undergraduates to get involved in research:

  • Take a WSAP course: Several undergraduate presentations and publications began as projects for upper-level WSAP courses and were completed with the help of a WSAP faculty mentor. See our courses page.
  • Pursue your own writing studies research project: We mentor and support undergraduate researchers who are developing independent research projects.
  • Apply for a research assistant position: Available positions are posted on JobLink and on our undergraduate employment page.
  • Apply for a Writing Studies Enrichment Grant: Writing Studies Enrichment Grants (Word) are suited to enhance our community’s knowledge of writing and the teaching and tutoring of writing. They provide support to faculty by creating funds for undergraduate research assistants to help on writing studies research or community resource projects, and also provide support for undergraduates seeking research experience in writing studies.
  • Apply for a Writing Studies Conference Presentation Grant: Present your research with the help of a Writing Studies Conference Presentation Grant for Undergraduate Students (Word).

University undergraduates have gone on to publish their writing-related research in publications like Writing Center Journal. Explore their publications and presentations.

Caitlin Davie '19 presenting at the Undergraduate Research Exposition
Caitlin Davie '19 presenting at the Undergraduate Research Exposition




Alessandra Dimauro, Agatha Milholland, Caitlin Davie, and Marin Takikawa coded student comments and rated paragraph flow as research assistants. Listed as authors with Deborah Rossen-Knill, Matt Bayne, Dev Crasta, Whitney Gegg-Harrison, and Katherine Schaefer on “Investigating Voice-Based and Rhetorical-Grammar-Based Approaches to Teaching Flow in Writing.” Conference on College Composition and Communication. Pittsburgh, March 15, 2019.

Beebe, John (’20) and Zammarelli, Miranda (’20). “A Physical Approach to the Writing Center: Spatial Analysis and Interface Design,” The Peer Review, Issue 3: Spring/Summer 2019 (Forthcoming). Extension of research project from Advanced Writing and Peer Tutoring, WRTG 245, taught by Stefanie Sydelnik. (URL)

Lenoe, Eleanor (’21) and Wang, Jingxuan (’20). “Perceptions of Non-Native English Speaking Tutors in American Writing Centers.”Faculty Advisor: Stefanie Sydelnik. To be presented at the International Writing Centers Association and National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing Annual Conference, Columbus, OH, October 2019.


Laurel Raymond and Zarah Quinn. What a Writer Wants: Assessing Fulfillment of Student Goals in Writing Center Tutoring Sessions. The Writing Center Journal, vol. 32, no. 1, 2012, pp. 64-77. (PDF)


Allison Goldstein, Meghan Gilligan and Steven Cybuslky. Listed with author Deborah Rossen-Knill. “Changing our Writing Realities through Rhetorical Grammar Instruction.” Conference on College Composition and Communication. New Orleans, April 3, 2008.


For questions about undergraduate research in writing, contact: 

Deborah Rossen-Knill, MFA, PhD
WSAP Executive Director
(585) 273-3583

Stefanie Sydelnik, PhD
WSAP Associate Director
Associate Professor
(585) 273-3584