Q&A: English 102 Students Participate in Wildcat Writers Interview Day

March 21, 2024

The University of Arizona's Wildcat Writers program recently held an event aimed at fostering community engagement and addressing local issues

A group of students participate in the Wildcat Writers interview day

The Writing Program spoke with students from Senior Lecturer Nataly Reed’s English 102 class and Bethany Neumann, Director of Development and Communications for Youth on Their Own, about their participation in the Wildcat Writers community event hosted by Khylia Marshall and her Honors 9 English students at Tucson High Magnet School.

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.   

Which aspects of your experience speaking with community leaders and learning about real-world community initiatives did you find most valuable or insightful? 

LJ Moeschl: The most valuable part of speaking with community leaders was how well versed they were with local topics that relate to my research question. They were able to answer many of my questions and provide further information on things I would not have thought of without talking to them. I enjoyed how they focused on facts and statistics about the water supply in Tucson.

Skyler Fischer: I really enjoyed being able to meet experts in the field. It was really insightful to learn about their past education and current research/occupations. 

Roman Orozco: The aspect I found most insightful was the intersection of the law, academic freedom, and the question of Palestine. When speaking with the two graduate students I interviewed, I found their responses directly agreed with each other. This highlighted how limited the law is and how taking it as an approach to these issues is not helpful to the communities most impacted. 

How has your participation in Wildcat Writers this semester shaped your understanding of local community issues? 

Roman Orozco: Wildcat Writers has been beneficial to my development as an advocate for the Tucson community. As someone born and raised in Tucson, I’ve always been part of a bubble. Wildcat Writers has been a way to pop that bubble, allowing me to hone my writing skills along the way. I feel like I am making a difference just by being involved and caring about the various community issues. Because of Wildcat Writers, I can advocate for my community through my writing. 

Sykler Fischer: I learned a lot during the interview day about Tucson’s water issues and how to help with this local issue. The community partners gave us many resources and ideas about how to conserve water in Tucson and our hometowns. I found this very interesting, as I am brand new to Tucson and did not know about the importance of this local issue.

Mason O’Neil: The Wildcat Writers events provided good insight about what Tucson can be like outside of our little university bubble. For example, at the second event about water usage, I learned a lot because I had never considered this issue.

What specific qualities or skills did you observe in your interactions with students from Wildcat Writers that impressed you?

Bethany Neumann: The Wildcat Writers had very well-thought out questions, particularly around both how organizations like YOTO are funded and how youth homelessness impacts our community as a whole.

How does the involvement of students in your organization's activities and projects contribute to addressing community challenges and fostering positive change in Southern Arizona?

Bethany Neumann: The issues we face are complex and directly impact Tucson’s youth. Involving students in the process of addressing these challenges is not only important, but necessary. We need their opinions and ideas, as well as their engagement and buy-in if we’re going to truly engender positive change in our community.

For more information, please visit the Wildcat Writers website

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