December 12, 2018  

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Southern Miss English Major Selected as Naylor Scholar

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Leah Barnes

A University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park English Licensure student was recently selected to attend the Naylor Workshop for Undergraduate Research Writing Studies at the York College of Pennsylvania. Leah Barnes, a senior English education major from Gulfport, Miss., submitted a research proposal to the Naylor Endowment last spring and was selected from a national pool to attend the three-day workshop.

Barnes received a Naylor Scholarship and travel grant, and was assigned a faculty mentor from CSU-Denver to assist with the development of her research proposal.

“The main focus of my research is examining the identity and values that come from being in Advanced Placement courses, and the impact that these values have on how students view themselves in comparison to other students who are not in Advanced Placement courses,” Barnes explained.

Barnes believes her research is significant, because it explores how school settings are viewed as a community of learners, and how it is impossible to create a sense of community if students believe they are superior to others.

Students who attended the workshop learned a variety of research methods from national experts in writing studies, collaborated with small teams of faculty and students to advance their research projects, learned about available presentation and publication venues for their work, and built alliances and a network of faculty and students with whom to collaborate.

Barnes praised the Naylor Endowment for the opportunity to participate in the workshop, including its coverage of travel and housing expenses, as well as the support of USM faculty members.

“Attending the Naylor Workshop was a life-changing opportunity for me. Working with mentors and fellow students who have a passion for writing and writing instruction gave me the encouragement that I needed to move forward in my own research,” Barnes said. “The workshop was a great place to learn and ask questions without fear, which is something I think all students should experience.

Barnes plans to attend graduate school after completing her degree, and would like to work as a secondary education ELA.

For more information about the Southern Miss Department of English, visit