In 2015, the English Department at Brigham Young University began an instruction-integrated Professional Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) Internship program to place students in meaningful work experiences with local companies while they received on-campus professional writing instruction. Since its inception, dozens of students have completed a professional writing internship, providing writing services to local companies while gaining in skills and valuable experience.
Perhaps one of the most valuable discoveries from this experience has been a revelation that professional writing is creative writing. . .
–Ellie Peak, English ’17
The PWI program was developed by Dr. Jon Balzotti, an Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition in the English Department at BYU.
About Dr. Balzotti
I’ve taught in a variety of English departments, and I am now in the unique position of coordinating our technical writing program here at BYU. This arrangement allows me to formalize what I have been doing as a professional writer into a program of study and mentorship for BYU students.
Before coming to BYU, I worked in an interdisciplinary research team on projects in augmented reality. At the time, I was also working as a proposal writer for a technology group in the Midwest. My time working for that company has helped shape much of my approach to teaching professional writing, as you will no doubt see from my use of case studies and client writing projects.
Like other scholars in professional communication (Bill Hart-Davidson, Carolyn Miller, and Charlie Kostelnick), I have come to realize that skills in professional writing are best developed through experiences in real world contexts—contexts with different people, personalities, goals, and professional genres. The practice of writing within these ecologies of practice is neither straightforward nor easy. But in the face of what Carolyn Miller calls “the world of work,” it is the only way I know how someone develops into a professional writer.