Kalamazoo, MI
one-hundred-forty-one Years of Service to the Student

Senior Individualized Project

Q&A: An English Major’s SIP

Nicole Huff ’17 presenting her SIP at the Hillberry SIP Symposium. (Photo courtesy of Nicole Huff). Nicole Huff ’17 presenting her SIP at the Hillberry SIP Symposium. (Photo courtesy of Nicole Huff).

Q: Could you explain your SIP? What was your topic?

A: My SIP is a creative writing SIP that consists of 5 short stories all pertaining to black feminism and black womanhood. I did an extended preface so that I could do a critical analysis of Beyoncé’s Lemonade album.

Q: How did you decide on your topic? Why did you decide on it? What was your inspiration?

A: I knew I wanted to do a creative writing SIP, but all of the short story ideas I wanted to write came from my listening to the Lemonade album. Pretty much Beyoncé is the first part of the inspiration for why I chose this topic. The second inspiration was from my experience as a black woman and struggling with my mixed-race identity. Fiction allows me to make sense of my black female experience and my identity. So, I figured why not combine those two.

Q: What was your process like?

A: It went smoothly, for the most part. I worked on my SIP over the summer and had turn-ins every other week. Having them be every other week was nice because it gave me time to make up for the days I didn’t feel as inspired to write or couldn’t get in a groove. The only part of the process that was difficult for me was writing the extended preface. I had a hard time talking about myself as a scholar and referring to my own work in that manner. Shanna Salinas was my advisor and she really helped me through the process.

Q: How did the Symposium go for you?

A: I thought it went really well. I received a lot of positive feedback from my professors and fellow English SIP-ers.

Q: Did you achieve your end goal for your project?

A: Sort of. I wrote the pieces I felt were important and needed to be read. But I have a lot of fine-tuning and polishing of those pieces that I’m still working on. My end goal was reached in the sense that I received honors and was able to finish a longer piece of writing than I had ever done before, but I still have a little way to go before those long pieces are publishable.

Q: Do you have any advice for rising seniors who are starting the SIP process?

A: Focus on something you enjoy, as corny as that sounds. If you don’t love the work you’re doing you’re going to have a hard time staying motivated. I chose something I’m passionate about and it kept me going and excited to work.

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Q&A: An English Major’s SIP