Elevating Writing and Communication Across the Corps

Categories: Philanthropy & Donor Profiles, Grad News
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Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the West Point Writing Fellows Program develops clear, thoughtful, and effective communicators across every domain and discipline at West Point, ensuring that our Army and country have the leaders they need to meet any challenge.

The program uniquely blends scholarship and service; it insists on a version of academia that is resolutely multidisciplinary and committed to applied, impactful learning—to academic action. It enables cadets who have demonstrated superior performance in writing-intensive courses to undertake advanced study in critical thinking, academic argument, writing within the disciplines, college pedagogy, and professional communication.

The West Point Writing Fellows Program

Their study is supported by experienced faculty, with whom they engage in intensive mentorship and other forms of serious scholarly collaboration, including publication and presentations at academic conferences as well as other professional venues. Each of these initiatives grows naturally out of the primary mission of the Writing Fellows Program—to develop professional and imaginative cadet writers who empower fellow cadet writers across the Corps, particularly through individual consultations, group workshops, and special events. Since its inception, the number of one-on-one peer consultations cadet fellows perform annually continues to rise, from a little over 300 in 2013-14 to nearly 1,600 hour-long sessions this past academic year.

“These cadets work with each other, faculty, and their peers in the Corps to elevate writing education and proficiency across the Academy. They come from majors in every department: some are humanists, others are engineers or scientists, still others are social scientists. What binds them together? All will be Army officers, and all recognize that— no matter their academic major or future Army branch—clear, thoughtful, and effective communication will be critical to their success,” said Jason Hoppe, Associate Dean and founding Director of the West Point Writing Program (2016) as well as its chief supporting elements, the Writing Fellows Program (2012) and William D. Mounger ’48 Writing Center (2013).

Amanda (May) ’97 and Justin Coussoule ’97
Amanda ’97 & Justin Coussoule ’97

In recognition of the power and potential of its work, the Writing Fellows Program has been identified as a Margin of Excellence funding need for the West Point Ready Campaign. Amanda (May) ’97 and Justin Coussoule ’97, have stepped up in support of the program. “I believe that succinct, effective communication in writing is one of the most important skills an officer and a professional can have. The ability to communicate complex ideas, directions or requests through words on paper is foundational to success. Excellence in writing is, in my experience, also a rare thing. I see this as a program that helps set West Point graduates apart. There is nothing in my life that has had a more profound impact on who I am and on my professional success than my formative years at West Point. I am grateful every day for being a graduate and a member of the Long Gray Line, and by directing our giving to West Point, I hope to not only give back to the institution that has provided me so much, but to create opportunities for today’s cadets that will open doors for them, too,” says Amanda. “We are proud to support this program and see it as something that materially contributes to the world-class West Point education.”

Writing Fellow and Rhodes Scholar 2LT Kai Youngren, Class of 2023

While at West Point, 2LT Kai Youngren ‘23 was a law and legal studies major and terrorism studies minor. He was inspired to serve his country and attend West Point due to the death of his grandfather during the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. Youngren’s research examined the dynamics affecting executive power and foreign policy. His other interests include security studies and writing pedagogy. He has published in WLN: A Journal for Writing Center Scholarship, and has attended three conferences to present his research on the American Vice-Presidency. Youngren was awarded the Stamps Scholarship in 2020 and a fellowship with the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies in 2022. His past leadership positions include Cadet First Sergeant and Cadet Basic Training 1 Regimental Commander. While at USMA, he was also the cadet-in-charge of the terrorism studies minor, vice president of the National Honors Society, senior fellow in the Writing Fellows Program, and Deputy Brigade Commander of the Corps of Cadets. Youngren intends to commission as an infantry officer and plans to pursue a career in Special Forces. As a Rhodes Scholar, Youngren will earn a Master of Philosophy in Development Studies. His goal is to shape the military’s strategy in conflict resolution and investigate how the military and international institutions generate post-conflict stability.

“I am committed to becoming a soldier and leader of character for the U.S. Army. The Rhodes Scholarship is an opportunity to further my moral development and intellectual understanding of the causes of conflict so that I can provide safety and security for others around the world.” —West Point Press Release, November 14, 2022

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