University of Minnesota
center for writing

Center for Writing alumni—Stephanie Nero

read another alum's response

11 Questions for Center for Writing Alums

  • Stephanie NeroYour name: Stephanie Nero
  • Your email:
  • When did you work with us?  2004-2007
  • What were your roles? writing consultant, front desk/computer lab attendant
  • What education and/or occupation(s) have you pursued since working with us?
    • K-12+ Reading Instructor at the Institute for Reading Development
    • Consumer Marketing Intern at Weber Shandwick Worldwide (public relations agency)
    • Assistant Account Executive/Social Media Analyst at The Harrington Company (association management company)
    • Interactive Content Specialist at Life Time Fitness corporate
    • Contributer to Edina magazine

 Reflections on your center experience:

  • Did your work with us influence your educational or occupational choices? If so, how? It definitely shaped the type of environment I want to be in and made me realize that the way a job/workplace makes me feel (happy, balanced, valued, etc.) is one of the biggest factors for me when deciding to take or stay in a position. The writing center was a really rewarding environment, because as a student, you’re not used to being someone with professional expertise. It was great to be recognized for what I could offer, and felt very rewarding to help someone by sharing it. When you’re appreciated for your skills and intelligence, it really spoils you for fetching coffee. J Experiencing a challenging and rewarding work environment early in my professional development has made me seek out those traits in other workplaces.
  • What are the most significant abilities, values, or skills that you developed in your work with us? Working at the writing center got me out of my comfort zone in a lot of ways, and made me comfortable with speaking up and asserting myself professionally, because we had to be honest with students even if it wasn’t always nice. You also had to be able to articulate yourself clearly, and find ways to communicate that weren’t always conventional, particularly with non-native speakers. That made me more persistent in seeking out solutions than I realized at the time, because I learned how to be resourceful. You can’t really tell a student, “Sorry, this is difficult and I can’t do anything for you.”

And I can’t speak enough to how the diversity of students the writing center served really opened my eyes to the variety of paths people take to education. Meeting students who really valued their education and didn’t take it for granted made me want to put more into working with them out of respect for that drive. Seeing firsthand how much bigger the world is than my own situation showed me how many of the assumptions I had about things were wrong. That has definitely informed my values, and how I approach new people and new situations, after graduation.

  • In your personal and professional life today, how do you find yourself using what you learned from working with us? The biggest thing is probably the ability to take—and give—constructive criticism. That’s been so valuable professionally, because in every job I’ve had I’ve done writing and editing. You have to be comfortable asserting yourself and to be clear that it’s all about making the best finished product you collectively can. When you’re young and in an entry-level position, it’s important to have confidence in what you bring to the table, but also know that your approach isn’t the only (or right) one. Just being able to have constructive, respectful, collaborative dialogue and to be comfortable doing that has probably been the most valuable professional skill I’ve acquired through my time at the writing center. And that all applies to life after 5 p.m. as well.
  • Anything else you want to tell us and your fellow Center alums? I still get together with former coworkers over four years after graduating, and I count them among some of my best friends. And we always say how we know we’ve already had the best job we’ll ever have, because somehow we ended up working for a place that felt like home with people who became our university family. I’m just incredibly grateful to have worked for the C4W. I know for a fact that my college experience was better because of it. And the job itself was just so enjoyable (even when it wasn’t).