Student Spotlight

Emilie Mathura, OMS I

Class of 2023

  • Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Undergraduate Studies: Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology
  • Clubs and Activities: Student Government Association, OB/GYN Club, American Medical Women's Association, and Medical Students for Choice.

Why did you choose RVUCOM? The Urban Underserved Track and the sabbatical program which will allow me to complete my Master of Public Health...
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Faculty Spotlight

Cathy Ruff, MS, PA-C

Program Director and Chair of Physician Assistant Studies
Associate Professor of Physician Assistant Studies

  • Hometown: Dearborn, Michigan
  • Undergraduate Studies: Bachelor of Science degree in Cellular Biology
  • Graduate Studies: Master of Science degree in Cellular/Molecular Biology. Physician Assistant Training at the University of Colorado Health Science Center.

What class/classes do you teach? I teach professionalism topics, Physical Exam, and small group skills. Why did you choose...
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Writing Center

The RVU Writing Center integrates with the curriculum through written assignments and reflections. On an individual basis, the Center supports faculty and students alike through 1-on-1 and small group meetings, offering guidance across all stages of the writing process. Through audience and genre centered instruction, specific feedback, and access to resources, the RVU Writing Center assists writers in the development of effective written communication, assignments, and professional documents.


The RVU Writing Center employs collaborative discussion and writing instruction to guide writers through all stages of the writing process and to equip writers from all backgrounds with the agency and writing skills necessary to enhance their careers and lives.


Writing as a means to communicate, advocate, and understand ourselves and the world
Autonomy that comes from education and empowerment of students
Collaboration with students and faculty to improve writers, not simply writing
Respect for students, faculty, and the writing process, which develops through practice and commitment
Diverse ideas and the impact of individual life experiences on one’s perspective
Dedication to achieving excellence in all aspects of writing


Facilitating achievement of competencies related to attitudes, skills, knowledge and behavior

Leading the way in osteopathic medicine curriculum in writing incorporation and assessment

Horst_Alexis_CroppedAlexis Horst Previously, Alexis worked as a supervisor at the Writing Center at CU Denver, consulting and presenting at the Anschutz Medical Campus. She has extensive training and experience developing and teaching CVs, personal statements, science writing for research and publication, and other related genres.

One-on-one and small-group sessions, directed by the Writing Center Instructor, are tailored to support students and build more accomplished writers. We assist writers of all levels on any type of written work, including

  • Reflective writing
  • Proposals, reports, and reviews
  • Abstracts and manuscripts
  • Personal statements
  • CVs, resumes, and other professional writing documents

Sessions are designed to help students:

  • Understand assignment expectations
  • Generate, organize, and develop ideas
  • Analyze, synthesize, and argue
  • Summarize, paraphrase, and document sources
  • Recognize and revise issues with grammar and syntax

The Writing Center serves RVU faculty via professional-development seminars, custom in-class workshops, and course support focused on

  • Incorporating written components
  • Scaffolding writing assignments
  • Creating effective rubrics and methods for writing assessment


What to expect:

  • 1-on-1 and small group meetings
  • 30-60 minute appointments
  • Writing instruction to apply to future texts
  • Access to resources designed to enhance learning and understanding
  • Specific feedback on text
    • Audience and genre-centered instruction
    • Focus on higher order concerns like analysis, organization, synthesis
    • Lessons on lower order concerns: grammar, punctuation, proofreading

What to bring:

Class notes, assignment prompt/rubric, rough draft/outline/ideas

Student FAQs

Do I need an appointment?

To keep things running smoothly, the Writing Center operates on an appointment system. You can schedule an appointment by going to or by clicking on the schedule button on the Writing Center webpage at

I don’t have anything written yet; should I cancel my appointment?

No way! The Writing Center can help at all stages of the writing process, whether you’ve got a solid draft or are still in the brainstorming stage. Plan on bringing any notes, teacher feedback, or ideas you’d like to incorporate into your writing. Otherwise, just show up!

I have class during all the available appointments; how can I get help?

Face-to-face sessions are generally the most productive and useful; however, I do understand they don’t always work for everyone. If you are unable to attend a face-to-face session but you still want to get some feedback on your paper, your best option is to select an available appointment, attach your paper, and at the bottom of the appointment box, select “asynchronous” rather than “face-to-face.” This will reserve time to have your paper looked at. After your appointment, you will receive an update to your appointment. The update will include your paper with my comments and an explanation of the comments I made.

I’m going to be late for my appointment; is that okay?

If you’re running late, it’s no problem. Just call me at 720-875-2811 or email to let me know. If I don’t hear from you by 10 minutes after your appointment time, I will cancel your appointment.

I just need someone to edit my paper; can you do that?

The Writing Center seeks to improve writers, not just texts, so for that reason, is not an editing service. However, I can teach you revising, editing, and proofreading skills to give you the confidence to turn in your papers without needing to find an editor.

What’s the best way to improve my writing?

In short, practice! Good writers aren’t born that way; writing is a skill that can be developed and improved with practice. Reading a lot is also a great way to get familiar with what good writing looks (and reads) like. The Writing Center has many resources available to students: books to check out, handouts to refer to, and example papers from different genres. Students looking for general writing tips are also encouraged to bring in old writing to sessions to get tailored, specific feedback and instruction.

I have some writing I’d like to work on, but it’s not for an assignment; can I visit the Writing Center?

Absolutely! The Writing Center is available to help with all types of writing, whether that is personal communication, professional documents, or creative writing done for fun. Students and faculty should feel free to bring in any writing they want feedback on, regardless of the impetus for writing.

My friend/sister/brother/roommate needs help with some writing; can I bring it to the Writing Center?

Because of the Writing Center’s commitment to improve writers through instruction and collaboration, the writers need to be present in order to benefit from the session.


What to expect:

  • Individual appointments for assistance with grants, publications, abstracts, and responding to student writing
  • Guidance on crafting writing assignments for comprehension, reflection, communication, and professional development culminating in portfolio development
  • Support with:
    • Developing the necessary components in a writing assignment/assessment
    • Incorporating written components across the COM, MSBS, and PA curriculum
    • Scaffolding writing assignments
    • Creating effective rubrics and methods for writing assessment

Faculty FAQs

This is medical school and our students are already busy; how can I incorporate writing into my class without sacrificing their learning?

The students are busy, and I certainly understand the hesitation about adding more to their plates—especially because writing can be time-intensive. Learning outcomes can be achieved in many ways, and science-literacy is more than just rote memorization or regurgitating knowledge. Science-literacy means students can evaluate information and communicate their thoughts to others; science-literacy has an impact on the way students think, and can be promoted and measured by incorporating writing. To that end, faculty might consider including written reports, position papers, or research papers in the curriculum. The Writing Center can facilitate this by providing guidance on writing assignment prompts and assessment tools like rubrics.

Why should medical school curriculum include writing?

Medical students are future doctors and, as such, need effective communication skills. From a professional standpoint, writing skills are necessary to obtain grant funding, propose and publish research, and even communicate with patients and office personnel via emails and memos. Writing is also a knowledge-transforming activity; in order to write well about a topic, students need to really understand it, and the writing process itself helps students to engage in metacognition and transformative learning. Reflective writing promotes lifelong learning, helps curb burnout, and improves professionalism and patient care. Additionally, because most medical students’ undergraduate careers do little to provide them with writing instruction and practice, students who don’t engage with writing during medical school may never develop the skills they need to communicate or reflect in a meaningful way. Writing, like any other skill, must be developed and maintained with practice and support. Traditionally, students with a biology/premed background weren’t assigned much, or any, writing in their undergraduate careers. Fortunately, good writing comes from good practice; the Writing Center is here to empower students to communicate effectively.