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Westfield State University senior Ashley Linnehan of Merrimac presents research at Conference on College Composition and Communication

CONTACT: Troy Watkins,, 413.572.5523

Westfield – Ashley Linnehan of Merrimac, Mass., a Westfield State University senior majoring in English, presented research with three University faculty members at the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) in Pittsburgh March 13–16, 2019.

Linnehan collaborated English Department faculty members Professor Jennifer DiGrazia, Ph.D.; Associate Professor Catherine Savini, Ph.D.; and Assistant Professor Paige Hermansen, Ph.D. on a panel presentation.

“A central theme of this year’s CCCCs [was] social justice at the intersection of college composition and communication,” said Dr. Savini, director of the University’s Reading and Writing Center.

Their panel was titled, “Responding to Racism in the writing classroom, the writing center, and through WAC: from thoughtful inaction toward purposeful performances.” Linnehan’s presentation was titled “We are not doing enough: operationalizing dialectal and linguistic diversity theories in writing centers.” It explored the theory of “code meshing” and its role in writing centers across the country. The presentation was part of her senior honors project.

“It was such an incredible experience, undoubtedly one of the best I’ve had academically, professionally, and personally,” said Linnehan. “After I presented, it was such an immense feeling of accomplishment. The fact that writing center professionals were actively listening and taking notes while I was speaking is still something I’m trying to wrap my head around.”

The conference took place throughout the course of three days, highlighting workshops and presentations dedicated to performance rhetoric and performance composition. The presentations and workshops tackled various topics, from the effects of contemporary social issues to the instruction of grammar in classroom settings.    

“We all left inspired to work toward creating a more equitable campus through our pedagogy,” said Dr. Savini, “Ashley will take this experience with her into the high school classroom and my colleagues and I will continue to integrate these theories into our practice in the college classroom.”   

Founded in 1839 by Horace Mann, Westfield State University is an education leader committed to providing every generation of students with a learning experience built on its founding principle as the first public co-educational college in America to offer an education without barrier to race, gender or economic status. This spirit of innovative thinking and social responsibility is forged in a curriculum of liberal arts and professional studies that creates a vital community of engaged learners who become confident, capable individuals prepared for leadership and service to society.

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