ChBE Spotlight on Jacqueline Mohalley Snedeker

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I have been the Writing Program Director for the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering since May 2002. My main focus is on improving the written and oral communication skills of the School's undergraduates, with a particular emphasis on technical writing. Primarily, I serve as a co-instructor in the Unit Operations laboratory course, currently taught by Dr. Jeff Empie. I also co-teach a ChBE elective course, Effective Communication for Professional Engineering, with Dr. Mark Prausnitz.

In my efforts to improve the technical communication skills of undergraduates, I emphasize three major areas: coherence, clarity, and concision. Using interactive instructional methods, I teach students the best ways to improve in these three areas, as well as addressing matters of grammar, punctuation, and report format. I also require students to meet with me at least once during a semester to "workshop" a draft of a report. These individual conferences are the best way for me to address each specific student's needs, discuss methods of overcoming particular problems, and track student progress throughout the semester.

In addition to coherence, clarity, and concision, I also emphasize the importance of critical thinking and constantly encourage students to think beyond the "what" of an experiment to the "how" and the "why."

I followed a somewhat circuitous path to my current role as the School's Writing Program Director. I grew up mainly in the southeastern U.S. and actually went to high school in the Atlanta area. As a child, I always loved reading and writing and used to walk around the house with an open book at all times. Naturally, I majored in English, and took several fiction writing classes as well. After receiving my B.A. from Stanford University in 1992, I went on to the Stanford Teacher Education Program, earning an M.A. in Education as well as a teaching certificate. From there, I joined the Peace Corps and went to Lovech, Bulgaria for two years to teach English to Bulgarian high school students. After returning to the U.S. in 1995, I taught middle school in California for a while and then went on to graduate school at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where I received an M.A. in English literature.

In 1999, I moved back down to Atlanta and became a technical writer and instructional designer of Web-based training courses, dealing with subjects ranging from database administration to human resources law. Although I enjoyed my time in the private sector, I soon found myself drawn back to academia again, and was delighted to receive a call from the School to interview for the Writing Program Director position. I enjoy my somewhat "unique" role in the department. Most of all, I enjoy getting to know the students and helping them to improve their communication skills.

On a personal note, I am married to Ben Snedeker, a public relations consultant. We have one son, Andrew, who was born in February 2006, as well as two cats and one dog. In my spare time, I like to read, watch C-SPAN, go to the movies, and stock up on red pens.


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Eric Huffman
  • Created:02/16/2006
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016