Michael Shirzadian Wins Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Community Service

September 20, 2018
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Michael Shirzadian—Assistant Coordinator of the Writing Center and English graduate student—has been awarded the Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Community Service.

Shirzadian is a PhD student in the Department of English studying rhetoric, composition and literacy. His research interrogates the material-discursive construction of race, disability and political economy. He is also interested in ambient rhetoric, specifically, how radical justice movements mobilize ambient or ecological factors as corrective to traditional strategies of resistance operating within liberal justice frameworks. His interests as a composer are twofold: (1) he interrogates the prevalence and violence of neoliberalism within academic institutions, and (2) he theorizes strategies of resistance via anti-racist and collaborative pedagogies.

The Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Community Service is presented by the Office of Student Life, the Office of Outreach and Engagement and the Office of Service-Learning to recognize students at Ohio State who have rendered exceptional outreach and/or engagement within Ohio's communities through their personal commitment to service. This award is given to a graduate student that has truly distinguished themselves through individual community service efforts or efforts made as a member of a group or society. The recipient of the award has made a significant contribution to our institution's culture of service, further establishing and strengthening Ohio State's commitment to supporting the communities we serve.

Shirzadian received the award for his role in establishing—through the Writing Center—the Columbus Global Academy Writing Studio and co-establishing—with Sherita Roundtree, also a graduate student in English—a partnership between Ohio State English's First-Year Writing Program and the Karl Road branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library. 

  • Columbus Global Academy Writing Studio: In an article published earlier this year, The Lantern described the Columbus Global Academy Writing Studio as “a collaboration between the Ohio State Writing Center and Columbus Global Academy, a middle school and high school the educates refugee and immigrant students that are new to the United States. This collaboration is a weekly writing workshop that is facilitated by Ohio State graduate and undergraduate students. Each week, the Writing Studio brings together CGA students…with the goal of improving their English language skills.”
  • Karl Road Library/Ohio State FYW partnership: As graduate student writing program administrators for the department’s First-Year Writing program, Shirzadian and Roundtree, along with FYW Director Eddie Singleton, co-founded this ongoing outreach program. As part of the program, graduate students from the Department of English visit the branch once a week to work with local middle school and high school students on their writing. Singleton particularly credits Shirzadian and Roundtree with developing a program model that would be sustainable beyond their involvement. In fact, just last week, the program resumed under the leadership of Samuel Head and Jackie Kauza, who work at the Writing Center along with Shirzadian. The winter of 2019 will mark its two-year anniversary, at which time the mantle will be passed to Bonnie Opliger and Cristina Rivera. Read more about the development and implementation of the project.

By Michaela Corning-Myers