Cover Letter

Dear UWP instructors,

Welcome to my UWP 1 final portfolio!

I am Yanan Zhang, a sophomore in Statistics major. In this letter, I will focus on the two assignments, Literacy Narrative and Research Paper, and explain how they demonstrate what I have learned in UWP 1 this quarter.

The first assignment in my portfolio is Literacy Narrative. For this assignment, I was asked to tell a story about an experience and how I changed because of it. I decided to write how an assignment about an advertisement from WLD 57 changed my mind about our environment. I knew my audience is my classmates and instructor, and I had to let them understand my experience as well as my changes. As a result, I used vivid narrations, including specific details and thoughtful analysis. For example, I described the advertisement in details, such as the green and brown colors, and the slogan “Before it’s too late”. These encouraged me to explore the severe deforestation problem in the world and realize I did not care about the environment. I also demonstrate concrete details about what I did to protect the environment, such as the native plant nursery event. I used “propagating, potting up, seeding, weeding, trimming, organizing, watering, and otherwise caring” to show my experience vividly to my audience. I found the examples of basic writers and advanced writers are very helpful for me. I analyzed them thoroughly with my peers in class, and I realized the difference by comparing those examples. Basic writes always use some commonplace. However, advanced writer would use effective narrative techniques to persuade their audience. For example, if they say that an experience changed their attitude toward writing, they will focus on how it changed their attitude. Similarly, they won’t just say they learned a lot from their experience. However, although I revised based on what I learned in class, I still have some problem in my final draft. My professor gave me informative advice on it. She said my introduction and conclusion are unrelated with my body paragraphs. The introduction and conclusion focused on writing, while the body paragraphs focused on environmentalism. As a result, I revised my introduction and conclusion to discuss environmentalism. In this way, the idea is controlling and it is easy for my audience to follow my experience and how I changed because of it.

The second assignment in my portfolio is Research Paper. For this assignment, I was asked to answer a focused research question with a specific thesis. It is different from literacy narrative, because the audience is academic audience who is interested in my research question. At the beginning of the writing process, I had a hard time to develop a research question. As a statistics major, I know that it is hard for me to find a job after graduation. So, I wanted to focus on the difficulties for science and engineering majors. However, it was so hard for me to find evidence online. After searching for the unemployment rate of engineering majors and social science majors, I finally realized that it was much harder for social science majors to find jobs. Then, I changed my research question to the heavy course loads in college and work-related difficulty and gender inequality in career facing by engineering millennials. In order to persuade and convince my audience, I had to use academic sources as well as other sources in my research paper. I found “Finding and Evaluating Sources” was very helpful. After analyzing it with my peers in class, I had a strong sense about what sources were credible to my audience. Besides, “Using Evidence” was also impressive. We went over every sentence in some paragraphs. Through the process of analyzing, I knew how to use evidence efficiently to support the arguments, which was important to write my own research paper. For this assignment, my professor also gave my sufficient feedback. She reminded me that I lacked analysis of my evidence and suggested me that I could address potential solutions to the issue. Finally, I added some solutions at the end of each body paragraphs, such as taking advantage of school counseling services and help from peers, increasing physical activity, using social media, etc.

It is also worth to point out the Language Development Project. This brand-new project helped me to know my strengths and weaknesses in language use. I chose subject-verb agreement, write conciseness, and parallel structure, which were most challenging and important to me. First, I found some examples of the specific issue in my own writing. Then, I completed some online exercise. When I got wrong, I checked the answer and explanation. In this way, I improved my understanding of my errors, and could correct my errors. Thanks to this project, I got rid of many bad writing habits.

Thank you very much for reading this cover letter. Hope you enjoy my portfolio!


Yanan Zhang


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