By Sarah Bergquist
Those who know Danielle (Dirksen) Alsky remember her quintessential Providence spirit when she attended from 2011-2015. The beloved alumna has returned as a faculty member. She’s coming with a new last name, but just as much love for the holistic learning and thriving community in Pasadena.
In 2015, she earned a B.A. with concentrations in Literature, Biblical & Theological Studies, and Humanities from Providence. She’s spent the last two years in a Master’s Program at Cal State Long Beach, and this past May completed her M.A. in English Literature.
During her second year in the program, she balanced a teaching position at a high school and a mentor job at the Engineering Department Writing Center. This Writing Center was a brand-new initiative, designed to increase student success and graduation rates at CSLB. Alsky laughed as she recalled the office space she shared with two other student workers, “They cleared out this room that used to be an aeronautics engineering lab, and so it always smelled like oil.” She relayed that many students had proceeded through years of the engineering program without having to write a single paper, and found themselves struggling to pass their final classes, which were writing-intensive.
As Danielle began to consider the next phase of her life after graduation, Professor Van Spronsen contacted her with the idea of starting a Writing Center at Providence. The Academic Resource Center, which Van Spronsen directs, will now work in conjunction with the Writing Center. Alsky, as Academic Success Director and Writing Center Coordinator, works closely with English 101 students, assisting freshmen in the foundations of writing with academic excellence. She spoke excitedly about her new job, and noted the contrast from the Cal State center:
“If you start with a writing center as something that helps students from the very beginning as freshmen, I think it’d be so much more beneficial than if you just throw it in to help senior students.”
Another aspect of her job is to teach a new Capstone course, created to provide support and accountability for seniors as they research and compose their final writing project. The thrilling news: her valuable skill set is not available only to freshmen and seniors! Any student may book a meeting with her and find advantageous resources and insight for any aspect of their writing!