3690: A Journal of First-Year Student Research Writing

Author Image

Melissa Boehlert Photo


MLA, Environmental ethics, Philosophy, Sustainability


Overview: In 2015, a court in Bangladesh upheld charges against 38 people accused of murder. With a death toll of 1,135 people, and thousands more injured, few were able to escape the bloodshed unscathed. Years later, the bodies of 200 people remain lost. A manhunt for those involved lasted four days, as the accused attempted to flee the country. Those charged with murder in Bangladesh can face the death penalty (Calvo, Amanda). In America, people continued their daily lives unaware of the trial taking place. However, we were more connected to the trial than we could have realized or imagined, because the 1,135 people who were killed died while making our clothes (“Factory Collapse in Bangladesh”).

Author's Reflection: My name is Melissa Boehlert, and I am a nursing major. The hardest part of writing this paper for me was finding the best sources as basis for my arguments. There was so much information on the topic that it was hard to determine which would be the strongest resources to support my paper. As the topic is very complex and multifaceted, it was important to find a balance of perspectives. The most enjoyable part of this paper was continuously discovering more information about something I am passionate about. It was incredibly rewarding to write this paper, not only because I learned so much through my research, but also because it gave me an opportunity to discuss a topic that I believe needs to be addressed.

The process of writing this paper was meticulous but well worth it, as I believe it made me a better writer and the subject was something I was truly passionate about. Taking a 199 course helped me further develop my ability to articulate a point clearly while acknowledging all aspects of an argument. It strengthened my writing and gave me a much better grasp of researching a topic in depth. The class also gave me practice at citing information, which I can use as a foundation for any future papers I write.

Dr. Lowe's Summary: Melissa's research on the topic of fast fashion is deep and broad. This allows her to convey a nuanced understanding of what many might initially think is a trivial issue. Her paper is an exemplar for several reasons. First, it is deeply and carefully researched. The facts used are expertly chosen and blended into the text, adding both interest and credibility to her arguments. In addition, Melissa opens her paper with a case that readers cannot help but see the ethical relevance of and, because the case is powerful, are internally compelled to read on. Melissa also does a very nice job of addressing multiple perspectives on this issue, complicating the issue with and for the reader while also pointing to reasonable ways to move forward. This is an important paper as it calls on all of us to think more about our part in creating a sustainable future in all aspects of our lives, especially our fashion choices.

Additional Files