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Walden University Writing Center

Where instructors and editors talk writing.

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AWA Student Spotlight: Valamere Mikle

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The Writing Center’s Administrative Writing Assistants (AWAs) are at the front line of the writingsupport@waldenu.edu inbox, performing necessary tasks to make the Writing Center run smoothly. Writing Center AWAs are an integral part of the Writing Center as they communicate regularly with students. But, the AWAs are also Walden students, and thus integral to Walden University itself. That’s why we’d like to share some of their stories of academic success, professional accomplishment, social change work, and advice for other Walden students. In this spotlight series, we show our appreciation for all their hard work so that others can be inspired by their stories as well.   

Today's spotlight is on Valamere Mikler, a student in 
the College of Social and Behavior Sciences
AWA Spotlight Series

Residing in Florida, Valamere is a PhD student in the Organizational Diversity and Social Change specialization of the Masters in Industrial and Organizational Psychology program who began her dissertation during the fall quarter in 2017. Valamere advocates for social change in her community by serving on the Opa-Locka Community Development Corporation’s Community Advisory Board and Citizen’s Advocacy Group where she strives to ensure people in urban areas, such as youth in Miami-Dade County, Florida, have access to quality job placement, education, and training opportunities. She chose Walden because of Walden’s social change mission. Specifically, she believes that her degree will support her as a candidate to continue addressing challenges in her profession, where she lives, and in the world around her.

We asked Valamere to share Writing Center resources she values, writing- and student-related struggles she faces, and her career plans after Walden. 

Photograph of Valamere Mikle
Valamere Mikle
Walden University Writing Center (WUWC): What are the most common questions you find in the writing support inbox and what feedback do you provide?

Valamere Mikler (VM): The most common questions I find in the writingsupport@waldenu.edu inbox are APA citations, reference list entries, and questions about paper review services. For APA citations, I like to provide students with a link to the In-Text & Parenthetical Citations page, and for reference list formatting questions, I like to provide the link for the page on Common Reference List Examples. If a student is interested in paper review services, I provide the myPass website and encourage the student to make an appointment as well as view the videos and tutorials to walk them through the process. 

WUWC:  How have you struggled as a writer and how have you overcome that struggle? 

VM: I have always had a passion for writing; however, I struggle with grammatical errors and sentence structure. It is a paradox that English is my favorite subject, but I have trouble with the mechanics of writing; however, that did not discourage me from trying to seek ways to improve my writing skills. Over time, my writing skills developed because I used the feedback and support received from paper reviews and continued to practice writing skills

WUWC:  As a Walden student yourself, what academic advice would you give other Walden students? 

VM: Take full advantage of all the writing resources, such as paper reviews and webinars, to help you achieve your writing goals.

WUWC:  What challenge have you faced as a student and how did you face that challenge?

VM: During my master’s program, it was difficult to excel when my mother became ill and I had to take care of her while also working full-time. Overwhelmed with personal responsibilities, my grades suffered. However, I did not allow this to deter my desire to obtain my masters degree and move on to a PhD program. To overcome challenges, I manage time by goal setting and planning my schedule, and allowing time for writing, researching, and personal responsibilities. I also take advantage of Walden University’s support services and resources, such as the library and the Center for Research Quality. I don’t quit, regardless of personal crisis, problem, or frustration may occur.

WUWC:  What work do you plan to do after you graduate from Walden?

VM: I plan to provide consulting services for organizations regarding best practices for measuring human behavior to improve employees' work satisfaction and employers’ ability to select and promote the best people within firms, leadership centers, corporations, universities, and companies. I also plan to facilitate workshops on corporate social responsibility, diversity initiatives, and how to make the workplace better employees.

Thanks, Valamere! We at the Writing Center appreciate your dedication to and support of students—you are a true asset to us as part of our support team, and we know that students appreciate your work as well.  



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 The Walden Writing Center provides information and assistance to students with services like live chat, webinars, course visits, paper reviews, podcasts, modules, and the writing center webpages. Through these services they provide students assistance with APA, scholarly writing, and help students gain skills and confidence to enhance their scholarly work. Students can email WritingSupport@waldenu.edu and expect a reply from one of our expert AWAs. 


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Dig into Development with our New Module!

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The Walden University Writing Center has some exciting news to share! We recently released a new module: Introduction to Paragraph Development. This module will join our existing modules related to grammar, plagiarism, and APA style.

What can you expect to learn in the Introduction to Paragraph Development module? Throughout the tutorials, students can learn:

  • What makes an academic paragraph
  • How to use topic sentences
  • The importance of sticking to one idea per paragraph
  • Ways to wrap up paragraphs


Modules: multimodal, self-paced, interactive

All of our modules are fully-interactive and self-paced. After you take the pre-test, you will have access to all of the tutorials. This means you can work on them as you wish. After you finish a module and take the post-test, you will earn a certificate of completion.

If our paragraphing module sounds like something you are interested in, you can access the Introduction to Paragraph Development module here.

Also feel free to explore:


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The Walden University Writing Center is committed to helping students develop as writers. Our staff of dedicated professionals supports students in building and applying their writing skills as scholars, practitioners, and agents of positive social change.

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AWA Student Spotlight: Sohna Shook

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The Writing Center’s Administrative Writing Assistants (AWAs) are at the front line of the writingsupport@waldenu.edu inbox, performing necessary tasks to make the Writing Center run smoothly. Writing Center AWAs are an integral part of the Writing Center as they communicate regularly with students. But, the AWAs are also Walden students, and thus integral to Walden University itself. That’s why we’d like to share some of their stories of academic success, professional accomplishment, social change work, and advice for other Walden students. In this spotlight series, we show our appreciation for all their hard work so that others can be inspired by their stories as well.  

Today's spotlight is on Sohna Shook, a student in the College of Social and Behavior Sciences 

AWA spotlight series


We asked Sohna to share Writing Center resources she values, writing- and student-related struggles she faced, inspiration that keeps her on track of her goals, and how her Walden degree connects with her social change mission. 



Photograph of Sohna Shook
Walden University Writing Center (WUWC): What are the most common questions you find in the writing support inbox and how do you provide feedback?

SS: During my shift, the most common questions I find are usually regarding assistance with in-text citations.  I usually respond to questions by providing an example of, for instance, a citation or reference list entry, then I provide additional resources from the Writing Center website

WUWC: What Writing Center sources have you used that you found helpful?


SS: I love the Writing Center website which provides resources for APA, such as citation and reference list examples. I have attended webinars which are helpful for a bit more hands-on training. As well, I have enjoyed using the paper review service which provides writing feedback.  

WUWC: How have you struggled as a writer and how have you overcome that struggle? 

SS: My biggest struggles as a writer have been sentence structure and the fact that what I am thinking and what I write down on paper tend to be two different things. I have successfully been able to work with writing instructors on forging the two.

WUWC: What other challenge have you faced as a student and how did you face that challenge?

SS: I am used to the "brick and mortar" college and face-to-face setting, so the challenge I faced as a student has been attending an online school. It has been a challenge for me to not having someone to talk to; however, I have been able to develop friendships at Walden residencies and in the classroom which helped establish a support system for me.

WUWC: Whose story inspires you to keep reaching for your goals?  

SS: Both my parents are immigrants from Gambia, West Africa, and came to the U.S. to obtain their education. They divorced when I was 13 years old and my mother raised all 5 of us by herself. She did not obtain her college degree, but rather worked 2-3 jobs to make sure we had our basic needs met. Her hard work has inspired me to continue working on obtaining my degrees as a testimony to her hard work raising us.

WUWC: How does your degree at Walden connect with your social change mission? 

SS: After graduation, I plan to utilize my professional experience along with my doctorate degree to collaborate with schools in developing stronger programs that work for students with behavior issues and/or mental health diagnoses to include helping teachers develop curriculum to better accommodate these students. I would also like to strengthen counseling programs in higher education.   

Thanks, Sohna! We at the Writing Center are glad to have a colleague such as you and appreciate your dedication to supporting students by providing resources and responding to student questions, and we know students appreciate your support as well! 



Walden U Writing Center logoThe Walden Writing Center provides information and assistance to students with services like live chat, webinars, course visits, paper reviews, podcasts, modules, and the writing center webpages. Through these services they provide students assistance with APA, scholarly writing, and help students gain skills and confidence to enhance their scholarly work. Students can email WritingSupport@waldenu.edu and expect a reply from one of our expert AWAs.


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Thursday Thoughts: Tips for Overcoming Writer's Block

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One of the most frustrating elements of writing is when the words just aren't coming. You've done the reading, you know the assignment, and yet you still just can't make those ideas swirling around in your mind come out onto the page. Writer's Block can be a serious issue for Walden University writers who are asked to produce a great deal of writing in a short amount of time. Since we regularly get questions about overcoming Writer's Block, today's Thursday Thoughts post is dedicated to sharing the Writing Center's top resources to help you Break the Block

Break the Block: Smash through the wall of writer's block


Here's a list of resources you can consult if you ever find yourself standing behind a wall, looking through a glass, or trying to draw water from the well that's gone dry:

The Writing Center's Website Overview of Overcoming Writer's Block: Check out this compendium of strategies you can employ in your writing process to develop a well-rounded writing process that contains safeguards against Writer's Block. 

Break the Block: A Three-Strategy Series on Writer's Block: This blog series dives deep into three strategies for overcoming Writer's Block. In this series, our helpful Writing Instructors have shared their best-practices for ensuring that you never get trapped in an avoidable situation. 

Writing Center Live Webinar Recording on "Developing a Paper From Discussion Post to Course Paper": This overview-look at the writing process of a Walden  writer can be helpful if you'd like to develop skills to make the transition between types of assignments smoother. 

We hope you use and enjoy these resources. 

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The Walden Writing Center is comprised of professional Writing Instructors and Dissertation Editors who would love to share their strategies for overcoming Writer's Block with you. We'd also love to hear from you. Post your questions, comments, and strategies for overcoming Writer's Block in the comments below. 



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Postgraduation Capstone Publication

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In the Writing Center, we are often asked about what students' options are for publishing their capstone after graduation and how to go about doing so.  There is no correct answer to how to proceed, as many aspects of the approach will vary on the type of degree, type of publication sought, and ultimate goal of the publication. 

Since early 2017, the Writing Center editors have created several Kits to help students while writing the different parts of the capstone document.  We have recently added the Postgraduation Kit, which is intended to guide students through the process of publishing one portion of their capstone or a revised, shortened version of the complete study.

Advice for writers on turning their Walden University Capstone documents into publishable work

Here are a few things students should consider when thinking about a postdegree, capstone-related publication:

A Chapter or Section as a Stand-Alone Document
Consider the publication type.  Many professional programs design their capstones so that one chapter or section is already intended as a stand-alone document.  Students should consider whether there is already a portion of the capstone that could be minimally revised and reformatted as a document.  Examples of this are the DBA Consulting Capstone Section 3, EDD Project Study Project, and DNP Section 5.

This approach involves removing the unnecessary chapters or sections and the Postgrad Kit has instructions on how to do this.  The end result here is often a white paper or a project that can be shared directly with individuals or organizations related to the topic.  The goal may be a white paper or project to disseminate among professionals in the field, and whether part of the capstone was designed as such, does not matter.  Any chapter or section can be made to exist as a paper on its own, with the appropriate introduction and conclusion added.

Peer-Reviewed Journals
If a white paper or project to be disseminated is not a desired outcome, students should consider revising the capstone for peer-reviewed publication format.  To begin trimming down the lengthy capstone into a shorter paper, in its entirety, we suggest first settling on a journal.  Then, students should review their References list and explore the most frequently referenced journals.  These should be a good place to begin. 

After a journal is selected, students should conduct some research on the journals, their style, and the submission process.  Publication will involve including all components of the capstone, but in a briefer version and without a lot of the exposition.  There is no need for development of and explanation of the different research methods and all designs that the student could have used.  There is a certain amount of knowledge assumed of the reader.  Generally, the headings included are: introduction, literature review, method, results, discussion and conclusion.  The Postgrad Kit also includes steps and instructions in more detail.

Other Options for the Capstone
If the student's goal is to raise awareness about their results, not necessarily aim for an academic publication, there are other options as well.  Trade journals may also be an appropriate venue.  Though they are not part of the peer-reviewed process and often do not follow the standard format of intro., literature review, etc.  These types of journals often accept articles that are written in a language that is more geared to professionals in the field than an academic audience.

A conference presentation may be another effective option.  Sometimes, the topic needs to be further developed, even after the dissertation, before it may be ready for a journal.  Presenting at an academic or trade conference may help test the ideas and allow the student/researcher to gain feedback on the interpretation of the results.  Seeking out a conference to present the material may be a goal, in itself, or a first step toward exploring publication.


For more information and tips what to do with the capstone after graduation and on how to develop the document into a working publication visit our Postgraduation Kit on the Form and Style website.  Direct questions about writing the capstone or potential revisions for publication to editor@waldenu.edu.


Kelly Chermack author picture

Kelly Chermack is the Manager of Editing Services in the Walden University Writing Center. She first joined the staff as a dissertation editor in 2012. She earned her PhD from the University of Minnesota in Sociology, and specializes in organization theory, workplace policy, and research methods. She is also a contributing faculty member in Walden's Human and Social Services PhD and Doctorate of Business Administration. 


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