Alexander's Final Portfolio

Cover Letter

With any body of work, it can be difficult to find a definitive theme that runs through it. Last semester, the theme that evolved was the "necessity of revision"—the recognition that writing is more than just a first draft, but a process of writing and rewriting. To me, it seems that this semester the theme that emerged through my writing was less about the "mechanics" of writing, and more about discovering/developing my ideas and interests through writing, and understanding the place of the engineer in the world. (Although that sounds a bit too grandiose…)

At the beginning of the semester when we introduced ourselves to the class, I remember mentioning my interests saying something along the lines of "Uh, I'm interested in politics." And while this statement has been true for some time, I wasn't yet sure of how to reconcile my interest in engineering and my interest in social and political issues. In my first piece I discuss how I am not yet sure what it means to write like an engineer (there was even some conflict as to whether engineering was the correct choice of major); I sought to try and answer my questions through my writing. Similarly, in my Swales v. Mirabelli blogpost I used writing to try and understand to a greater extent what a discourse community was (a concept which I was able to truly understand by writing my midterm). And in my freebie assignment, I returned to my questions about engineers' roles in society, and what it meant to be an engineer (morally).

Throughout this time, I've tried to use writing as a method to not only organize my ideas, but to explore new ones (most notably through my midterm and revision, getting to understand a community that many are ambivalent about). In the end, my writing successfully allowed me to "condense the firestorm in my mind"—to some extent.

Note: The headings below are links.


Midterm Project

Original Midterm

Revision and Associated Writing


Research Report


Three Pieces

Blog Post 1: Versatility

Swales v. Mirabelli

Freebie: Iron Man and the Ethical Implications of Engineering

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