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WRC Spotlight

Liz Lane: There’s No Denying Fate

Liz Lane“I fell in love with studying rhetoric, amazed at how language could harness the power of emotion.”

As Liz Lane ‘10 prepared for her senior year at Transylvania, she was focused on applying to law schools and eventually building a career in intellectual property and copyright law. She felt her studies in the writing, rhetoric, and communication (WRC) program had helped hone her communication and debate skills and prepared her well for the legal profession.

But, we all know what can happen to the “best laid plans.” During the early spring of her senior year, Lane presented portions of her senior thesis at an undergraduate honors conference. That experience made her realize how much she loved academia. She deftly switched gears and found a graduate program at DePaul University where she could study writing, rhetoric, and new media, pursuing her interest in the Internet’s effect on writing and “knowledge distribution.”

“When I finish this degree, then I’ll look into law again,” Lane thought.

While at DePaul, Lane taught an introductory rhetoric and composition class, tutored in the writing center (as she had done at Transylvania), and developed professional skills working as a graduate assistant providing technical support to the university’s faculty. By the time she completed her master’s in writing, rhetoric, and discourse in 2012, her fate was sealed.

“I simply could not get enough of the academic world and decided to continue in a Ph.D. program immediately after getting my M.A.,” said Lane.

Next stop: Purdue University, for a doctorate in rhetoric and composition. At Purdue, Lane is also teaching introductory composition and upper-level business writing courses in the professional writing program, a competitive position she was honored to be selected to fill.

Lane had little trouble choosing Transylvania as the first stop on her academic pilgrimage. “Upon visiting the campus and meeting the people, Transy stood out far ahead of other schools I visited. The amount of support and personal attention Transylvania students received was not simply a selling point—it was reality. I instantly felt comfortable with the faculty and staff I met at Transy and I never doubted my decision to study there.”

She continues to have a close relationship with the WRC faculty. “Transylvania faculty champion their students to an incredibly supportive degree. I experienced amazing one-on-one mentor relationships with professors Scott Whiddon, Martha Gehringer, and Gary Deaton.”

Each professor provided a unique piece of her developmental puzzle. Whiddon helped her find her passion for teaching writing. Deaton made her a confident public speaker and taught her how to craft an argument. Gehringer freed her to write from her heart.

When Lane traveled to Ballyvaughan, Ireland, with Gehringer for a May term retreat for artists and writers, she gained confidence in all facets of her writing.

“Professor Gehringer really encouraged us to explore our surroundings through language. Her approach to teaching is something I hope to imitate in my own pedagogy and use every day in my own writing process.”

While at Transylvania, Lane also completed two internships: one with the local public radio affiliate (WUKY), which led to a part-time job as a staff reporter, and one as an editorial intern with a Lexington-based music blog, You Ain’t No Picasso.

In 2008 while working for WUKY, she worked alongside national media when Hillary Clinton brought her presidential campaign to Transylvania.

“I feel that I learned how to write for any situation, using my rhetorical training to appeal to particular audiences and writing or communicating to fit the needs that were presented.”

Even outside the classroom, Lane had a rich experience at Transylvania. She served as a resident advisor; contributed to the student newspaper, The Rambler, as a staff writer and arts editor; served on the executive board of the student radio station, Radio TLX; and held several officer positions with her sorority.

All of these experiences helped prepare Lane to be successful both in academia and in the workplace.

“I am very grateful for the manner in which Transylvania prepared me for a career.”

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