Beyond Paper Initiative
By: Joseph Gallab and Vanessa Luk, BHSc (Honours), Class of 2023
Beyond Paper is an initiative based at McMaster University that aims to bridge literary inequities by providing undergraduate students with opportunities for free, individualized writing support, including writing workshops, writing tips, and peer-editing services.
The initiative was established by Vanessa Luk, a Health Sciences student, and Jonathan Monteiro, a Biochemistry student, who both recognized the difficulties that arise when learning literacy techniques and applying these seemingly ambiguous skills. Vanessa’s personal literacy journey has not been without obstacles (and of course, support). With lived experience, she recognizes the stress that accompanies writing, but also the value in building that skill. Jonathan has met many great thinkers who were unable to put their thoughts on paper. In a world where written eloquence is so important, he believes that early literacy education often shapes one’s ability to write, but does not want that to be a determining factor to success. As President and Vice-President, they created Beyond Paper to hopefully help others overcome similar difficulties in a stress- and judgement-free manner, as well as to help students realize their potential to be great writers.
Beyond Paper understands that students may come from different academic and literary backgrounds. Thus, the growing team of more than 20 Senior and Junior Editors also come from diverse programs and writing education. Students can submit rough drafts of written assignments from any course (provided that it is an assignment that is allowed to be shared and edited) and our team of experienced editors will communicate their feedback without making any direct corrections that attempt to “do the work” for the student. These strict editor guidelines ensure compliance with Academic Integrity Policies at respective universities and provide students with takeaways that they can use beyond their submitted paper.
In the future, Beyond Paper plans to establish chapters at other universities throughout Ontario. As of January, the initiative has been successfully implemented at the University of Toronto. No matter the location, Beyond Paper’s mission can serve as a bridge for all students facing challenges and uncertainties in their literacy journey.
If Beyond Paper’s goals or services are of interest to you, please follow @BeyondPaperTeam on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn for updates. For any inquiries or assignment submissions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Team Executives:
Vanessa Luk: President and Co-Founder (BHSc ‘23)
Jonathan Monteiro: Vice-President and Co-Founder (HBSc ‘23)
Sammi Yahya: Head of Internal and Co-Founder (BHSc ‘23)
Joe Gallab: Head of Outreach and Co-Founder (BHSc ‘23)
Nimmy Ayekun: Head of Media Outreach (HBSc ‘23)
Alicia Phen: Head of Design (HBIllus ‘24)
A little more about the team:
While attending schools across the province, Sammi Yahya has seen the consequences of literacy inequities across schools in Ontario. These inequities are highlighted in post-secondary school education as students begin to receive less support in their literary works. As the Head of Internal, Sammi works to match students to editors and creates workshops to provide a holistic literacy education to Beyond Paper’s following.
Joe Gallab hopes to support students from all academic and literary backgrounds. From a very young age, writing was a seemingly difficult task, but through practice and learning from those with experience, he was able to improve in his literacy and now aspires to carry this same torch of support. As the Head of Outreach, he serves to communicate Beyond Paper’s goals with like-minded organizations throughout Ontario, as well as create workshops for students.
Literacy and students supporting other students are two things that Nimmy Ayekun has always been extremely passionate about. As the Head of Media Outreach, Nimmy can promote a service that truly embodies these two important passions, and it has been an incredible journey ever since she started.
As someone who holds a fond history in writing, Alicia Phen values Beyond Paper’s mission to provide students with accessible literary support. As the Head of Design, she is excited to use her creative direction as an illustrator to help actualize the visual aspects of the initiative.