Texas A&M University at Qatar celebrates the official release of its first anthology of student writing yesterday 9 September.

The publication, Best Writing, is a collection of writings from an array of genres, from poetry to personal essays, short stories, technical papers and research reports.

Best Writing — the brainchild of Dr Mysti Rudd, visiting assistant professor in the Liberal Arts Program at Texas A&M at Qatar— demonstrates the variety of genres in which engineering students write and showcases the talents of Aggie engineers who excel at thinking and writing critically as well as creatively.

Dr Rudd said:

Best Writing is a celebration of student writing. Our students are engineering majors so they’re often stereotyped as being interested in science and math at the expense of creativity, reading and writing. But we received such a wide array of submissions that really run the gamut, and we need to celebrate that.’

The Best Writing committee, led by Dr Rudd and Dr Amy Hodges, received more than 150 submissions representing 47 different Texas A&M at Qatar students, writing alone or as part of a team.

But the total number of submissions was a surprise to the committee.

Dr Hodges said:

When we started, we were worried about making 100 pages, but we ended up with 224. It was clear that some students felt so strongly about what they’d written and that they had something important to say, that it was only natural that they would seek out a larger audience beyond just their course instructor.’

Rudd said that the faculty instrumental in supporting students to contribute to the volume.

The success or failure of this project depended on the relationship teachers developed with their students. I encouraged other faculty to get their students to submit work from the past few years.

Many students said they were honoured that we remembered them as students and that we remembered their work. And even if they didn’t submit, they were grateful to have been asked.’

Flush with the success of the inaugural edition of Best Writing, Rudd said she is already looking forward to the next issue.

Rudd added:

At Texas A&M at Qatar, we create well-rounded engineers and we see Best Writing as championing that.’

Hodges also added:

Best Writing shows that Aggies are not just engineering students but also students of life.’