Michigan State University
Michigan State University
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Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
Department of Writing
Rhetoric & American Cultures

PWers Help CREATE for STEM

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Chris Reimann, CREATE Director of Communications, meets with PW student and CREATE intern Erin Surge.

The CREATE for STEM Institute, one of MSU’s premier interdisciplinary research units, is dedicated to improving K-16 education in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). While the organization is focused on science and education, it also offers fruitful opportunities for Professional Writing (PW) students in the form of paid internships.

Chris Reimann, the Director of Communications for CREATE, hires PW students to assist with various communication efforts for the organization. Reimann had worked with a PW alum in a previous position and was impressed by the skills and work ethic she demonstrated. When he moved to CREATE, he reached out to the PW program to help recruit students who could work as writers, editors, and designers.

Reimann believes that PW students have particular skill-sets well suited for this type of work. “Virtually everything we do goes out to the public. I have to have people with strong writing and editing skills,” he said. “It’s important to have people who can think and who can create.”

The first PW student he hired was Josh Anderson, who graduated in 2016. “Chris gave me ample room to build the skills I wanted to build and introduce projects that I thought would improve the institute’s presence online,” Josh said. “I wrote several feature articles about various projects, such as Teaching Science Outdoors, a professional development program at the MSU Kellogg Biological Station for elementary school teachers, and Interactions, an effort to test and improve instructional materials and methods in high school physical science classes.” He added, “I also led efforts to revitalize our social media presence, specifically on Twitter, and I ended up quadrupling our follower count by the end of my internship.”

Josh, who spent the year after graduation teaching in Japan, has no doubt that the experience he gained at CREATE will help him in his career. “My goal for the future is to find a job that combines UX/content strategy-type work with the international experience I’m gaining while living and working abroad,” he said.

After Josh graduated, Reimann continued to hire PWers. Erin Surge and Kristen Gmerek, two PW students who graduated this May, spent their senior years working for CREATE.  Erin noted that she especially enjoyed the wide range of tasks she worked on daily.  “I wrote project descriptions of funded projects that we have, which involves reading through grant proposals, talking to people on the projects, and translating it into something that the public will understand,” she said.

Josh Anderson strongly encourages PW students to check out internship opportunities at the institute.  “CREATE for STEM was an awesome place to work and grow,” he said. “Chris was a fantastic boss.”

The PW-CREATE for STEM connection will continue next year: PWers Darrell Williams and Kelsie Donaldson have been hired by CREATE and will begin their internships this fall. 


Written for WRAC by Nitish Pahwa