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Connor Rice ’17 Building Critical Thinking, Writing, and Project Management Abilities

While undertaking my research internship with Professor Sara Drury, I found myself developing as both a writer and in my critical thinking skills.  These developments are exactly the reasons I applied for this internship.  My goal was to hone my writing skills, gaining precision.  Throughout my time at Wabash, the papers that I have written usually have a great thesis, but being able to be efficient with my writing to prove my points was a challenge.  I would often say to myself, “Oh, that sounds good, I’m going to put that down.”  I’ve learned this summer that method is not the way to write papers on any level.  I therefore had to develop my critical thinking skills to ensure that my writing was efficient and that I was clearly answering the research questions.

During this internship, my colleague Jack Kellerman and I analyzed deliberation transcripts that were conducted in a Biology class on the topic of climate change. We applied Goodnight’s theory of spheres of argumentation to form our thesis and analysis.  We were constantly referring to scholarly articles dealing with understanding the spheres of argumentation and their role in deliberation and diving into these transcripts to prove our arguments.

I learned a great deal throughout the duration of this internship.  As previously mentioned, this internship has given me the ability to write effectively and to think critically, which in the future I will apply to other professional and academic experiences.  Additionally, I developed my time management skills.  I learned how to effectively manage my time to ensure that I am meeting my deadlines.  As I mentioned earlier, Jack and I were constantly in the transcripts, and in the early part of the internship it was challenging to form a clear thesis and find evidence.  Professor Drury kept challenging us to create better arguments and prove our points.  I believe I can speak for Jack and say that we both were able to increase our ability to read and use what we read to interpret the deliberation texts.

This internship had both rewarding and challenging aspects, but what surprised me the most, was how quickly we were able to write 30 pages. The research position has also taught me to think differently in comparison to the CIBE internship I did earlier this summer.  I learned how to analyze texts and draw conclusions, which is a skill I can take with me wherever I go.  I am grateful to have had this opportunity, and the skills that I have learned in this internship will be used for the rest of my time at Wabash and in my professional career.

**Thanks to Wabash College and Division II for sponsoring this internship**