Meet the Editors

Posted by Andrew Wei and Joanna Haug (blog editors)


Joanna: Hi friends! I’m Joanna and I am a 2015 McDermott Scholar from New Orleans, Louisiana, majoring in Sociology.

Andrew: Hi! I’m Andrew, 2013 Scholar from Plano, Texas, studying Electrical Engineering.

Joanna: And we’re the editors of the McDermott Blog! We wanted to give y’all an inside look at what happens behind the scenes here at the blog.

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Andrew: Starting with a bit of history: back in April of 2015, Lindsey Ward ’12 and I were asked by the McDermott Council1 to start a blog that would capture what day-to-day life in the McDermott Program is like. The hope was that we could feature a different Scholar each week and give our audience (potential applicants, parents, counselors, YOU) a look at what we’re all up to. To kick things off I wrote this rambly post about the McDermott kitchen, and we’ve been publishing ever since.

Joanna: In August of 2015, I wrote about the freshman trip to Santa Fe. A few months later, the editors and staff asked if I would be interested in being an editor for the blog.

Andrew: Because we thought you were cool.

Joanna: I thought that was why. As an English teacher’s daughter and writing enthusiast, I had been waiting for this moment my entire life. The first post I ever edited was written by Rachel Kyes ’15 about an event called Dressember. I was very nervous but once I got into the routine of editing, I started really enjoying it.

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Andrew: Our most important responsibility as editors is to find writers and guide them through the process of coming up with an idea, putting it into words, and getting it submitted for review.

Joanna: “Recruiting writers” is a lot of us harassing our friends as soon as they tell us that they’ve done something fun or interesting lately. Once we get a post out of them, we work through minor edits but we try to keep the writer’s voice as authentic as possible.

Andrew: It’s important to us that the blog remains a (mostly) unfiltered outlet where Scholars can talk directly to you all.

Joanna: To me, one of the most valuable things about the blog is the way it transforms us from the abstract “scholars” to real people.

Andrew: Yeah! We get a lot of opportunities at events like Sneak Peek and Finalists’ Weekend to talk about our professional selves — our achievements, study abroad experiences, and so forth — but the blog also gives us a chance to write about some of the more personal aspects of our life at UTD.

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Joanna: On a logistical note, the blog helps friends, family, and applicants stay informed about what Scholars are up to.

Andrew: And the two of us also get to keep up to date with what cool things our classmates are doing. It’s always exciting going from a first draft of a post to watching it get published on the blog a week later. And while we like all of the posts, there are some we come across that really speak to us personally . . .

Joanna: I have too many favorite posts to discuss, but Daniel Rodricks ’15 wrote one about playing piano that literally brought me to tears. Elyse Mack ’14 wrote a post about studying art history as a student at a STEM university that stood out to me too. Science is obviously so important at UTD, but it’s always really refreshing and comforting to hear from people who have ventured off the beaten path in one way or another. I also really like one by Emily Fine ’15 about journaling. I appreciated it because it was funny and about something very relatable that people don’t discuss a lot. Journaling pretty much keeps me sane and it was fun to read about one of my friends having a similar experience.

Andrew: I really loved an early post by Arden Wells ’12 for Arden’s awesome storytelling and just the sheer magnificence of the first paragraph. That was a fun one to edit. Another post that really spoke to me was a reflection on traveling written by Nina Haug ’12, especially after I went on to study abroad myself and found myself feeling many of the things she described. More recently, Logan Harless ’16 wrote about biking, which was a fun look at his unique commute around campus.

Dear readers, we want to hear from you! Comment on the blog, comment on our Facebook posts, comment on our Instagram posts! What do you want to read about?


[1]: The McDermott Council represents the interests of the Scholars to the McDermott Program and university administration, and it also has a role promoting Scholar interactions.

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