Sakura Tomizawa: 2017

Krista Kennedy (Director of the Major and Minor), Carol Lipson, Sakura Tomizawa, Lois Agnew (Chair)

Krista Kennedy (Director of the Major and Minor), Carol Lipson, Sakura Tomizawa, Lois Agnew (Chair)

September 1, 2017

Outstanding Major"I’m so grateful and honored to have won this award. This award is also really a celebration of all the faculty and staff in the Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies department who provide all these opportunities for their students to thrive and learn! I admire and look up to each and every one of them, and it’s a department that I’m proud to represent. I switched over to the Writing & Rhetoric major my sophomore year.

To be honest, I was feeling a little lost after finishing my freshman year as a film major, and uncertain of what kind of career I wanted to pursue. I chose the Writing and Rhetoric major because I knew I liked to write, but I didn’t feel that majors like journalism or English were really for me. I liked how the major was a broader approach to writing, and that choosing this major didn’t mean that I had to commit to a specific industry of work. Everyone says that writing is crucial in every line of work, so all I was hoping to gain from the Writing and Rhetoric major was some practical writing skills that would help me get a job after college. I sure learned how to write, but I also gained so much more; because of the major’s humanities approach and focus on human culture, the major really helped me become a more reflective, empathetic, and critical thinker--both in and outside the classroom.

I’m thankful for each and every professor I had in the program, but in particular, I’m extremely thankful for Professor Patrick Berry who was my academic advisor, faculty advisor to the WRSO, and also the professor in a few of my writing classes. It was also his WRT 205 class that really cemented my decision to switch over to the major."—Sakura Tomizawa

In nominating Sakura Tomizawa for the 2017 Carol Lipson Outstanding Writing Major Award, Professor Rebecca Moore Howard writes, “Sakura was one of only four students who qualified to pursue Distinction in Writing this year, which places her in a rarified group. Within that small group, I have arrived at a deep respect and admiration for her social commitments and intellectual tenacity. Her Distinction project is a rhetorical analysis of a Presidential speech—Obama's speech on military intervention in Syria. She began the fall semester wanting to understand how Presidential rhetoric operates in times of crisis, and she gradually came to focus on this particular speech. Much of the winter was devoted to her researching and trying out various techniques of rhetorical analysis, finally settling on pentadic analysis. I'm not sure I've previously encountered an undergraduate so engaged in issues of research methods.”

Associate Professor and Director of the Major and Minor Krista Kennedy adds, "Sakura’s intellectual curiosity is one of her most striking attributes. Whether she was working on topics related to ethics and automation in my Rhetoric and Robots class or learning to do voter recruitment talks for NYPIRG, Sakura always digs into the ways that arguments function and can be both persuasive and ethical.  The depth of her inquiries always surprise me in the best ways, as does the sophistication of her writing. It’s been a pleasure to work with a student who both wants to know how the gears turn and then makes them turn through the strength of her own work."

Sakura's NYPIRG internship supervisor comments extensively on her excellent contributions. In particular, he notes that “Sakura is a phenomenal addition to any team. She has worked hard every minute of every day working with our organization. Sakura is extremely active participating in numerous groups on campus and is able to juggle all of her commitments perfectly without sacrificing quality. I can always trust Sakura and have the utmost confidence in her work.”