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Expose: The Journal of Expository Writing

Expose Banner Spring 2024

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.

Spring 2024

The Creative Spark

“I started to think more about writing as a creative act and less of a transactional exchange. At Purchase, I practiced looking beyond what’s obvious, and discovering something new—not only in writing, but in thinking.”
―College Writing Professor and Purchase College alumnus Alexandra Dos Santos

With this issue, we are thrilled to launch a retrospective on the Durst Distinguished Lecture Series, which brings literary luminaries to Purchase College to share wisdom that students carry into their own creative processes. These visits build community at Purchase College as we gather to “Think Wide Open,” drawing inspiration from writers who’ve taken creative risks while expressing their ideas. Many College Writing students have shared “Reflections on the Durst” in this issue, revisiting recent guest lectures by Manuel Muñoz and Lynda Barry. A cartoon cat in a spacesuit, on a skateboard. Chris Kramer '27.

With gratitude to Chris Kramer ’27 for creating original, colorful, and surprising illustrations for this issue, and for reading each selected essay with care and attention. With special thanks to College Writing faculty members Professor Deborah Cooper and Professor Tessa Rossi for similarly reading and selecting essays with care. Thanks to Professor Emily Sausen for collaborating to host a celebratory launch for this issue on May 2, 2024 at 3:30 p.m. in The Red Room and to Professor Aviva Taubenfeld, Director of the School of Humanities, for supporting this publication project inexhaustibly.

Congratulations to this issue’s featured writers, Robin Adams, Riana Aquino, Nysine Ordonez Blanco, Adrienne Butler, Raneychka Cancel, Caroline Courtney, Sienna Cruz, Teresa Della Monica, Luca Dimnet, Professor Alexandra Dos Santos, Ash Flippen, Mariluz Garcia, Zane Grey, Timothy Higgins, Victoria Hines, Charles Ireland, Jaden Janowick-Cockrell, Ava Landreth, Chris Kramer, Sofia Nagle, Matthew Nielsen, Jordan Plange, Audrey Redmond, Anelise Rodriguez, Aiden Romano, Alina Stepanov, Kris Sorano, Alina Stepanov, Yanis Valderrama, Kaelin Viera, Alana Warnick, and Kate Wilson, as well as finalists Raina Wiley and Antonio Ortiz. Your writing, as Professor Dos Santos describes in her faculty interview for this issue, sparks a “flame of inspiration,” reflecting the essay form as a place for artistry, fearlessness, and excitement.

Amy Beth Wright, Editor


  • Frog standing atop a felled monster with the word trauma across his forehead.

    “The Act of Healing from Trauma Seen in Guadalupe Maravilla’s Retablos”

    “I believe that the retablos I am sending love to my eight year old self (2021) and On 12.12.13 I had a surgery (2021) encapsulate Guadalupe Maravilla’s thoughts about healing from trauma through art and spirituality.…”Read more

  • A dog getting a haircut surrounded by weapons.

    “More Than a Haircut: The Importance of Inclusion in the Barbershop”

    “As soon as I knew I was gay at the age of 12, I understood that the barbershop would be a struggle for me…” Read more

  • A human rabbit reaches into the brain of a mechanical rabbit.

    “The Disconnect in Embracing Technology: An Analysis of Alexander Weinstein’s Children of the New World”

    “In my close reading assignment, students pick a passage from one of the stories we’ve read together and unpack the words and phrases within it in order to discover more about the passage and the text as a whole…” Read more

  • Dog peering through a window.

    “Love: An Analysis of Mario Zambrano’s Lotería”

    “Luz uses lotería cards to communicate the traumatic event she experienced, written in second person. The lotería cards each connect to a different part of Luz’s story, where at the end, they all connect to convey her journey…” Read more

  • Cat in front of a car smoking a cigarette

    Advanced Critical Writing: “Intersectionality in Margaret Atwood’s Works Illuminates Patriarchal Subjugation of the Environment and Women”


    Through the use of intersectionality, Atwood draws a parallel to how women and the environment are simultaneously affected by the instruments of patriarchy such as capitalism, religious extremism, and a static gender binary…” Read more

  • Squirrel creature standing at a microphone reading.

    “Reflections on the Durst Distinguished Lecture Series”

    “…especially coming from a background of little to no hardship; it’s inspired me to write beyond my own experiences, and to write as far outside of myself as I possibly can and really place myself into the characters and setting that I’m writing about.…” Read more

  • Rabbit staring at two fish beneath a reverse exit sign.

    Page of Wands

    “Being the youngest child and having a large age gap between my siblings definitely made me take on much more responsibilities. On my 13th birthday I was watching tv with my mom in her room. The cable bill was due for months so all we could watch was Cake Boss…” Read more

  • A rabbit in a hospital gown holding an umbrella.

    “The Umbrella, the Siren, and the Hand: Trauma and Response in Zambrano’s Loteria”


    “In Loteria by Mario Alberto Zambrano, the author compartmentalizes the various aspects of trauma by designating a seemingly random Loteria card to each chapter. The entire novel is told through the perspective of a young girl, Luz…” Read more

  • Red and amber bedroom.

    “Places I’ve Belonged”


    “Despite knowing by my second year in Pittsburgh that it was time for me to go, I am so grateful for that Pittsburgh home of mine, the one I entered as a teenager and left as an adult…” Read more

  • Frog hard at work at a computer.

    “Gateways to Transformation: On Books, Writing, and the Power of Language”

    “What Didion did in her works was describe an event she saw someone else experience, then tell her own story about what she believed they felt or did. In this process, Didion makes the emotions of this stranger perfectly understandable and universal…” Read more

  • Sneakers hung from overhead powerlines.

    “‘Rainforest’: Noname’s Commentary on the Effects of Colonialism and Capitalism’s on the Black Community”

    “Noname calls herself “the emptiest hallelujah,” a vague and intriguing phrase that causes the listener to question exactly what she means…” Read more

Faculty Essay


  • A cartoon cat in a spacesuit, on a skateboard.

    “Writing as a Creative Act: An Interview With Purchase College Alumnus and College Writing Faculty Member Alexandra Dos Santos”

    “I started to think more about writing as a creative act and less of a transactional exchange. At Purchase, I practiced looking beyond what’s obvious, and discovering something new—not only in writing, but in thinking…” Read more…