Call for Papers: Outsiders in the Human(ities) City: Using STEM Principles to Teach Composition Classes

deadline for submissions: 
April 1, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association
contact email: 

118th PAMLA ConferenceLas Vegas, Nevada | November 11-14, 2021Sahara Las Vegas Hotel
Hosted by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas
 Visit sunny Las Vegas and present on a cutting edge topic within the humanities! This session will focus on ways to engage STEM students in core composition courses. Papers that highlight practices for employing STEM principles in composition are preferred, but anything in relation to STEAM will be considered. The goal is to illustrate ways to transform STEM majors' preconveived notions regarding 'writing' in the context of composition. How can we make these self-thought outsiders in composition courses feel more at home? What STEM practices can be utilized in composition so that such students feel welcomed while the course still achieves its learning outcomes? Some ideas-

  • Ways to increase the perceived value of composition to STEM majors
  • Comparing writing code to composition course writing
  • Illustrating written collaboration in the medical fields (or other STEM fields) as writing
  • How composition can aid engineering students' communication skills
  • Video game narrative structure and traditional texts


Since most STEM students must take composition courses regardless of their interest in them or perceived purpose, they often feel alienated in such classes. This session will illustrate strategies for engaging these self-perceived outsiders. Methods may include reverse-engineering narrative, teaching writing as code, user design as audience analysis for writing and more. With the increasing popularity of STEM career paths and the current goals of adding the ‘A’ (arts and humanities) to create STEAM, this session will offer presenters and attendees a chance to explore this nascent landscape and help create a curriculum geared toward an ever-changing student population.


Many STEM students choose their paths to avoid the skills learned in humanities classes only to find they need such skills in their major courses. Composition serves as the entry point for all college students and, as such, is the perfect place to utilize students’ existing proficiencies to build others. Rather than have STEM students plod through courses they (incorrectly) see little purpose in, presentations in this session can highlight the intersection between STEM and the arts to build research on the more inclusive STEAM movement. This should be a full panel which explicates technological interventions to increase student engagement in composition skills acquisition. Hands-on presentations will take first priority to mimic the effect these practices have on student engagement and investment in the course.

Presentations will be 10-15 minutes. Use of technology is encouraged as this session intends to be interactive and illustrative more than one to present research findings through paper reading. The conference session that predicated this one was consistently well-attended for its interactive elements. Of course, if your preferred delivery modality is presenting a paper for feedback, your submission will still be considered.

Please feel free to contact John Misak ( with any questions.