3690: A Journal of First-Year Student Research Writing

Author Image

Kara Woglom Photo


MLA, American culture, Writing


Overview: Segregation is a battle this nation has been fighting for centuries, and the fight still carries on to this day. The effects of segregation are vast; however, its presence is particularly apparent in the United States’ education systems. From the start of our nation’s history, black individuals have faced segregation and discrimination in the academic world. In the past, it was illegal for black individuals to even read or write. Today, even though a great deal of progress has been made to improve the academic standards and opportunities of black individuals, academic segregation still exists and has given rise to an academic achievement gap between white and black students. Issues within school settings, the archaic nature of the education system, and the crossovers between racial socioeconomics and education are the major catalysts of academic segregation and the achievement gap, which have downstream effects on higher education and the labor market.

Author's Reflection: My name is Kara Woglom and I am a sophomore service scholar at St. John Fisher College. I plan to graduate in 2021 with a bachelor's degree in Nursing and a minor in Spanish for the Health Care Professions. I am one of five children; I have three older sisters and a twin brother. As my first official extensive research paper in college, I viewed the 199 final research paper as an onerous task. I was intimidated by the amount of work I had to do and the intellectual level to which I hoped my paper would reach. The jump from a blank page to writing is always scary. However, I found that utilizing the preparatory assignments from class, such as the cubing activity and synthesis paper, eased the stress of starting my paper. With these assignments and a logically organized and detailed outline, when I sat down to write my paper, to my surprise my thoughts flowed naturally. As a result of this class, I am more confident in myself as a writer. I have a better idea of how to analyze and compile research. Most importantly, I have realized how complex and multifaceted controversial issues are. I now know the importance of being educated about an issue before forming a solid opinion.

Professor Regan's Reflection: Our primary class readings focused on works of fiction and nonfiction that depicted social and cultural issues regarding race in the U.S. These provided an environment for students to generate papers across diverse areas of inquiry based on their individual interests. Kara’s choice of examining how race impacts learning in public schools stemmed from a personal connection to the topic. Her mother’s vocation as a teacher in a socio-economically challenged school system in Binghamton motivated Kara’s passionate inquiry, and she delved into a variety of sources to discover and illuminate her argument. In her research, Kara effectively used the scaffolded assignments to develop a substantial, coherent argument. Ultimately, she shed light on an important American issue, highlighting some lingering effects of historical segregation in schools and exposing evidence of persistent segregational practices. Importantly, she also looked ahead and explored the collateral professional impact for graduates of color entering the workforce.

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