Reginald Simmons Capstone

My Abstract: I’ve loved writing since I was very young. It’s a passion I’ve explored further in my high school career in different writing classes. In my junior year, I held an internship at a newspaper named The Philadelphia Tribune. Writing is a theme that I stuck with for my Capstone project. At the Tribune, I was writing articles about education-related things, and I decided that for my Capstone, I’d like to give other students to have their own articles published for everyone to see. Science Leadership Academy has a focus on science, engineering and technology, so I thought it would be fitting for these Capstone articles to focus on the same subjects.

I worked with several different students to co-author small, supplemental articles that explained some interesting scientific stories that are relevant today. One might read about a new computer technology, and another some new information on the Hubble Space Telescope. I learned that people, even those who don’t normally like writing, are eager to share with others the things the passionate about. My hope is that by creating these short articles, they found that writing is one of the best methods to use if a story needs to be heard.

In addition to writing articles with other students, I also created a few of my own to be grouped with them. My writings span across a few different subjects that hopefully will create in the reader’s mind a fuller picture of the purposes of journalism.

Here, you can see an easy to read layout of all the student articles, labeled by author and subject:

And below is my annotated bibliography:

Annotated Bibliography

Source #1:

Gonchar, Michael, and Katherine Schulten. "Google." Google. The New York Times, 6 Feb. 2014. Web. 30 Jan. 2015.

I used this New York Times contest website to get another possibility for where the work that’s created in my project can be hosted or shared. I talked with my advisor about some other possibilities, such as SLA’s writing group or class, whichever it is(I’m not too familiar with this, but it sounds like a pretty good possibility). I’d originally planned on creating my own website for the articles, but my advisor, and this is something I agree with, my advisor suggested trying to get it out there on a site a lot of people know to get some more publicity.  

Source #2:

Fong, Jing. "Spring 2015 National Student Writing Competition: Learning That Matters." YES! Magazine. Yes Magazine, 13 Jan. 2015. Web. 30 Jan. 2015.

This is a source similar to the previously listed one in that it is also a kind of writing contest. This is another suggested possibility by my advisor. It’s just another alternative to having work published on my own personal site. The one issue that I see with this is that the writing for this contest has to focus on a story that originates from YES! magazine, which takes away a lot of the creative freedom that I want for this project. This source does have some information on how to organize things, which I find a bit useful, but I don’t see myself pursuing this any further in the future.

Source #3:

Hacker, Diana, Nancy I. Sommers, and Marcy Carbajal Van Horn. A Pocket Style Manual. 6th ed. Vol. 1st. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins, 2013. Print.

This is a manual that details all the intricacies of writing a professional paper. I’ll use this book to refresh some of the writing skills that I’ve gotten a bit rusty on. Skills that will become very important as I’ll be helping other students write their articles. I’ll have to know exactly what I’m doing or none of this will work at all. It has sections on clarity, grammar, punctuation and mechanics, research and other extremely vital writing skills. I’ll continue to reference this book as I delve more deeply into writing articles with other students and the written portions / explanations for my project overall.

Source #4:

Cialdini, Robert B. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. New York: Collins, 2007. Print.

This book on the psychology of persuasion is one I started reading a while ago based on my interest in psychology and how it relates to everyday human interaction. I’m now seeing that the topics discussed and explained in this book are definitely applicable to writing news articles, specifically opinion editorial pieces, because they are written to try and persuade someone reading it to a certain point of view or idea. I can take ideas and methods from this book and explain them to the students that I help to write their own articles.

Source #5:

Irv Randolph, Managing Editor at the Philadelphia Tribune

Mr. Randolph is the man I originally worked with when I first went to the Philadelphia Tribune in the beginning of my junior year. He was an invaluable source to me and helped me a lot when I was in the process of getting my footing at the Tribune. I collaborated with Mr. Randolph on most of the articles I wrote during my time there to make sure that they were ready to be published. He also worked with me on coming up with important topics for me to write about in my articles, which helped a lot, because when you’re young sometimes you don’t have the same wisdom that people who write award-winning works have.

Source #6:

Meenoo Rami, Science Leadership Academy Teacher

Ms. Rami, other than being my mentor in this project, helped me last year to succeed in my internship at the Philadelphia Tribune, which helped in turn to inspire me this year to come up with my current idea for my Capstone project. Ms. Rami gave me guidance a few times when I struggled with where to go with my writing both inside and outside of class, recommended me certain texts to read to help me through the process, and put me in contact with someone who works as a professional writer to help me out with some ideas.

Source #7:

Shonda McClain, Philadelphia Tribune Magazine Editor

Shonda McClain is another invaluable employee at the Philadelphia Tribune. Last year, while I was completing my internship there, I ran all of my writing through her as well and received important guidance as to room for improvement and places to expand on. Dealing with the intricacies of writing a news article, I’ve found, is a pretty tough skill to master. Ms. McClain was very important to me in making sure that my writing was perfect and ready to be published (in addition to the help I received from Irv Randolph, the Tribune’s managing editor).

Source #8:

"Writing Your Article |" Scholastic Teachers. Scholastic, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2015.

This Scholastic site that explains how to teach to children how to write news articles is also very helpful to me in that it will assist me in implementing methods to do the same thing in my Capstone project. I’ve taught lessons in class to my peers before, but I’ve never had to teach writing to students below my grade level, and thus I’ll have to master how to present things to them in a way that doesn’t belittle them and at the same time encourages them to learn more; this project’s participants will need to be mostly self motivated to write these articles. I’m still working through this to come up with a solid lesson plan.

Source #9:

"All Issues." All Issues. Environment America, n.d. Web. 26 Jan. 2015.

This source gives a comprehensive list of some of the current issues in America that can be written about in the news articles for my project. I sometimes get ‘writers’ block,’ where I struggle to come up with good and interesting material that I know people will be inclined to read about in a newspaper. Having this list will help me to give guidance to other students who may run into the same problem. Who knows? Maybe they’ll be so excited and motivated that they won’t need guidance in this area, but I want to have a plan to deal with them promptly should they run into this problem.

Source #10:

"How to Design a Website Easily - No Experience Required." 2 Create a Website. 2 Create a Website, Jan.-Feb. 2014. Web. 30 Jan. 2015.

This is a site that explains to the user with little experience (criteria that I meet) in web design how to create a website that is clean, clear and concise, just like the articles that are created in this project should. I have created websites before, but they’re only been for classes. I’ve not had to create something that will be showcased in a public setting. I’m certain that there are skills I need to know in order to create the best website possible, and this website that contains a tutorial helps me in doing that. I’ll most likely look to a different source for this as well, since this website’s design is a little sketchy to me.