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Expose: The Journal of Expository Writing

EXPOSE header in white lettering with royal blue background.

Expose biannually shares a selection of noteworthy personal and critical essays that are created by students in College and Expository Writing courses at Purchase College.

Winter 2021

Finding Connection While in Isolation

“Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.” ― Susan Sontag

The Fall 2020 semester was unlike any we have experienced before. The magical, spontaneous moments of connection that happen in the classroom, unforced and unexpected, were sought in Zoom chats, breakout rooms, games, debates, peer review-partnerships, small discussion groups, and one-to-one conferences. Every connection we discovered in two-dimensional space felt valuable and precious. 

In this issue, Professor Ellen Brooks, Gianna Wainwright Milfort, and Lily Oyen bring us back to the early days of quarantine and track how we have bridged then, when we were blindsided by an absence of connection, and now, where we continue to tap into our creativity in new ways. Personal essays by Lotte Fincken, Angel Gonzalez, Julia Little, Clara-Hannah Sobouti, and Leanora Tapper remind us that writing and literature invite us to look within, in order to reconnect with ourselves and others. Jordan Moore and Henry Mosto capture an eerie unsettling tone that seems to fit this time of uncertainty, in essays that show their narrators on the brink of danger, on a psychological precipice, with each narrator recovering with greater self-awareness and strength.  Students in the College Writing Lab wrote profiles of teachers from their past who made an indelible impression, and informed the course they are on now. And, a few selections take us “inside the classroom” reflecting the critical thinking and rhetorical practices that occur in all College Writing courses; Jannessa Alexandre, Abigail Frederick, and Rebeka Sawka are each exacting in organizing evidence to form a compelling and profound argument, to express an idea that resonates beyond their initial sources and prompts readers to think in a new way about each source and its implications.

Many thanks to College Writing faculty for their time in nominating student work for this issue. Special thanks to Professor Dearing for writing a powerful faculty essay that distills effective and supportive ways to nurture student motivation. With gratitude to the readers for this issue,  Expose Editorial Fellows Sonnel Hill-Basora and Aaron Noriega, and Professor Morris and Professor Sausen. My heartfelt gratitude to sophomore Anna Brand for sharing a collection of paintings, pastels, and collage works that together create a vibrant, colorful issue of Expose. Onward into this new year, together.

Amy Beth Wright, Editor


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    Profiles: Remembering the Teachers Who Inspired Us

    This series of mini-profiles focuses on high school and middle school educators who made a lasting impression and awakened new possibilities of self-discovery. All were written by students in Professor Wright’s and Professor Dearing’s sections of the College Writing Lab, which meets once a week during the fall semester…Read more

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    Forward Cycling: Retracing My Path to Purchase

    You find determination within yourself when you’re fighting the heavy wind or getting back on your bike after falling on a slippery road. This is a part of my Dutch culture that I carry with me, wherever I go, steering me in the right direction. In a way, it is also what brought me from the hills of Rijssenseweg to a journey of self-discovery at Purchase College…Read more

  • Anna Brand ?23

    Just Like Jim

    The Office was a staple show in our relationship. On a good or bad day for us that show was always on. It started off as something we loved to do, a pastime that took away from the reality of what was going on…Read more

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    One With the Stars

    Ever since I was little, I have struggled to fit in places. I have never been super outgoing and making friends wasn’t the easiest thing for me. Because of this, I’ve spent a lot of my life feeling lonely…Read more

  • Anna Brand ?23.

    Elevators With Strangers

    Elevators feel endless with a stranger. You aren’t trying to be rude but you feel like you need to get out. Something on the floor is sticking to my shoes but I ignore it thinking this ride will end in a second…Read more

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    Literary Analysis: Tara Westover’s Educated

    As Tara’s journey evolves through her education, we grasp that the body represents a mechanism of control based on her loved ones desire for authority. Once Tara starts forming her own beliefs and cultivating an intellectual identity, she gains control over her voice, as well as her physical body…Read more

  • Yellow painting with swirls of other colors.

    After the shift to remote teaching last March, I noticed more late assignments and more students talking about lack of motivation, especially when it came to writing. In our conversations, students reported that what they needed most: connection…Read more

  • Anna Brand ?23

    Two Student Reflections on Quarantine

    Before quarantine, each day was a chore. Life was something I felt forced into and dragged through, every day being a struggle against myself. Yet, as I watched the world change, my views did as well…Read more

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    My Life Was On Paper

    I was a troubled kid. I wrote a lot about loss and depression, and I had recently lost an uncle in a car crash. My poems and stories were about that pain and figuring out how to cope. I wanted to gain control of my thoughts. I’d write and write for twenty minutes nonstop…Read more

  • Anna Brand ?23

    The Intricacies of the Mind

    Raskolnikov’s journey taught me, amongst other things, the fragility and intricate nature of the mind, the power the mind holds over the body, and the consequences, both positive and negative, of the things one manifests…Read more

  • Anna Brand ?23

    Finding Independence

    I crafted a long text message to my father explaining my reasons for leaving. I knew from that moment on why I always felt that Nora and I had a connection. We were two of the same…Read more

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    Passage Selection: Light-Skinned Girls and Kelly Rowlands by Alexa Arthurs

    Initially, I thought that this story was going to focus on the issue of colorism, based on the title, and there were still mentions of complexion and racial phenotypes throughout the story (Arthurs 1). The first paragraph introduces how darker-skinned black women are only praised if they meet certain beauty standards…Read more

  • Blue, turquoise, red, and yellow hourglass shape.

    Rhetorical Analysis: “Voices Are Power”

    Through the use of visual rhetorical strategies; such as symbolism, color and shapes, Favianna Rodriguez’s Voices Are Power, argues that women of color and feminists have important voices to be heard…Read more.

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    Faculty News

    This is a roundup of faculty highlights and publications from 2020, as well as a summary of opportunities for professional development and enrichment…Read more

Faculty Essay

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    Faculty Essay: Notes on Motivating a Student

    A student without motivation is like a car with no gas. They have all the necessary pieces to make the journey, but no fuel to get them anywhere. You cannot help a student who doesn’t complete the work, so the question becomes, how do you motivate your students? During my first couple of years teaching, it became clear that addressing motivation should be a critical component of my teaching philosophy…Read more