Jess Smith

Hello, my name is Jess. I have been out of college for three years working at an animal hospital as a manager and Certified Veterinary Technician and have decided to go back to school to pursue my dream of being a Veterinarian. I love to mountain bike, play pool, and run. I moved to Colorado from Texas about five years ago after graduating high school. yeehaw:)

Final- What is good writing?

I can say that I was very nervous to take this course, “Rhetoric and Academic Writing”.  I tend to struggle in writing and wouldn’t consider it a strong suit of mine.  After taking a three year break from college, I think this course was a great introductory, back to school, class for me.  Each assignment given prepared me for the next.  In this course you will learn proper MLA format and citing your evidence.  You will be able to understand the meaning of rhetoric writing, academic writing, and discourse community.  You will learn effective ways of writing by means of persuasion with ethos, pathos, and logos.  And most importantly, the definition of good writing.


What is good writing?  Is your paper clear and interesting for your audience?  Ideas should be presented clearly and logically keeping the audience in mind with the appropriate writing technique.  Have you provided enough evidence to support your argument?  With every point made, you should provide a reputable source to support the argument.  If you aren’t comfortable or don’t remember how to cite your work in MLA format, this course will be a great refresher.


This class will guide you and help to fully understand the meaning of rhetorical writing.  In this class I did things that I have never done before like making an instructional video, which was surprisingly fun.  Not only did I conquer my fear of being on camera, but I also learned how to edit videos! Since making the video, I have started filming my daily experiences such as mountain biking, just so I can go back and edit them and have something cool to look back on.  The assignment given was to make an instructional video of your choice and demonstrate the concept of a rhetorical situation.   I highly recommend watching this video on how to make a better video,


Here is the video I created.


Means of persuasion.  You will learn how to use and define ethos, logos, and pathos and what role they play in rhetoric writing.  These all can contribute to great writing and will help you create a successful argument.


Ethos:  The credibility of the author; what type of expertise do they have on the subject and why you would trust their argument.  As an example from my academic writing assignment, “Man’s Search For Meaning: The Case of Legos they provide a professional background on the authors at the very beginning of the academic study by showing the schools attended for each author.  By using ethos, the authors have now gained the attention from their readers by stating their reputable background and enticing them to continue reading.”


Pathos:  The use of emotion to persuade the reader’s.  From our “public argument” essay, we were given the choice of a controversial argument to demonstrate how ethos, pathos, and logos can persuade your audience.  From my essay “Marriage Equality” I used an example of pathos, “He hopes that in the future, an increasing number of Christians will read the scriptures regarding homosexuality as all Christians today read the Bible’s passages on slavery.  Sermons being preached today about the illegitimate rights of homosexuals will be thought of by future generations with the same shame and regret which today’s generation feels toward the pro-slavery sermons of the past (Hamilton 2013). This is an emotional and relatable use of pathos, demonstrating the parallel between how slavery was once considered acceptable and the condemnation of homosexuals.”


Logos:  To persuade logically or with facts.  To support your argument with a factual statement or quote such as in my essay for “marriage equality,” the writer from the article I was quoting, supported his evidence from the bible.  “Steve Beard challenges Hamilton’s argument with a very thorough and logical rhetorical style.  He refutes Hamilton’s slavery comparison on the grounds that “the Bible never commands the practice of slavery, but regulates (in the Old Testament) a practice that was already embedded in the culture.”  He uses the example of Moses telling Pharaoh, “let my people go!”(Beard 2013).”


Discourse Community.  Defined by Linguist John Swales is, “groups that have goals or purposes, and use communication to achieve these goals.”  We were given a fun assignment to share an example of our personal discourse community. For this assignment I chose to write about mountain biking for beginners.  I created an outline for the most important steps needed to be a successful and safe rider.  It’s great to write about something you are very passionate about and that’s what this course offers.


Rhetoric writing is not just about text on a paper.  You can expand your argument with video or images.  One of my favorite assignments was to create a visual argument.  For this I created and edited a photo (as best as I know how) to demonstrate how second hand smoke affects our pets too.  When people think about smoking and whom they are affecting, we often think of children first.  I have never seen an ad for our pets so I created one.  Here is a link to my visual argument.


Overall this course has been extremely helpful to prepare for future classes.  I recommend allowing plenty of time for editing.  Create outlines and rough drafts for  the important points and then piece them together for your essay.  Lastly, edit your work and read it out loud.  “Every good writing has a good editor” (Handley).

Dear Beginner Mountain Bikers!

Mountain biking can be an extreme, adventurous, and exhilarating sport.  If you are looking for a challenge, this is the sport for you.  Many people have picked up the hobby and created biking groups to join for fun or for learning.  I started mountain biking last summer, I bought my first mountain bike and have been actively riding ever since.  I joined a womens club called the “Mountain Biker Betties.”  We met up once a week and rode different biking trails.  It was the perfect way to get out there, meet new people, and learn how to ride effectively and safely.  There are many rules to riding that any beginner should know before taking your first ride, beginning with proper etiquette, safety rules, the proper bike, and important tools needed.  My favorite thing that I learned about mountain biking is the awesome and welcoming atmosphere and no matter what your skill level, you are always welcome.


  • How to join the community. I found the “Mountain Biker Betties” on  There are several groups for mountain biking specifically on this site, whether you are looking for a skills session, or just looking to meet new people to ride with.  It is a fantastic way to get started.

group photo


  • What type of bike to choose. There are several models of bikes to choose from, but it is important to learn which type of bike will be appropriate for you. The first question to ask is would you like to start with a hard tail or a full suspension?  A hard tail bike has one suspension fork attached to the front wheel only.  A full suspension has two, one on both wheels.  Full suspension bikes are typically more expensive but can be more comfortable and allow more control.  Although, some people will argue that starting with a hard tail is the best way to learn because you will learn proper techniques and skills with out getting “spoiled” with a full suspension.  Many people upgrade to a full suspension when they become more advanced.   The best way to decide which bike to choose is test ride them!  Many biking companies host events where you can ride any bike available to see which best fits you.  These can be found online.


  • The tools you need.  It is important to have a helmet, gloves, a camel back, a small portable bike pump, an extra tube for your tire in case of a flat, small first aid kit, and protein! Always bring some type of snack with you.  Mountain biking can be very difficult and if you allow your body to fatigue, you run more risk of injuries.

Camelback Mulehelmet


  • Share the trail and learn the proper riding etiquette.  There are a few simple rules you should know before heading to the trails.  Mountain bikers are usually a very friendly group of people and love to see other riders on the trail so we all want to practice these common courtesy tips.  Stay on the trails! Show respect for our land and animals.  This will also prevent flat tires from thorns, or running into large rocks or trees.   Next is “yielding.” Any time you are riding in a group, the leader should always stop at a split in the trail, to insure that all riders have seen which direction to ride.   When you stop on a trail it is important for not only your safety but for other riders or hikers, that you pull off to the side as much as possible.  You never know when a downhiller might be headed right for you.  When riding it is important that you stop for any hikers or uphill bikers, they always have the right of away.   And lastly, be courteous to the other people on the trails, we all deserve the right to enjoy the nature.


  • Bike signals. Unfortunately bikes do not have blinkers so it is important to learn the hand signals.  If someone waves their hand up and down starting from their head to their front bike tire, this means to slow down, something may be ahead.  A flat palm down toward your left leg means stop.  To make a left turn, just point to the left with a straight arm.  And lastly, for a right turn,  put your left hand up in the air by your head with a flat palm.
  • Learn your bike.  Before hitting the trails you should test your bike on the road or a flat area.  It is important to learn how to shift, know the proper height for your seat, and  the proper form when riding.   For instance, when riding uphill, you want to keep your weight forward and always looking up.  The last thing you want is to fall backwards.  When riding downhill you always want to lean back, and have your butt off of the seat.   Your hands should be at the end of the handlebars and elbows and knees should be slightly bent. This will prevent you from flipping over the handlebars.



  • How to find trails for your skill level.  It is always best to talk to someone who has experience riding in your area.  If you do not know any fellow riders, you can always talk to your local bike shop.  They may even know of some beginner groups you can join.  Not all trails allow bicycles, and some may be very advanced and not ideal for a beginner.


There is so much to learn about mountain biking so start slow, learn your bike before hitting the trails, and ride with a friend.  Keep your eyes and attention on the trail and stay well hydrated.  Now go out, meet new people, and fall in love with this awesome sport.


Academic Writing

Academic writing is usually a clear and structured outline that stays focused on the subject.  This creates an appealing read  for the audience versus some writing such as technical writing, which can be direct instructions or notes without evidence or reason.  Academic writing can be better because it provides a professional outline with factual statements.  As an example, in “Man’s Search For Meaning: The Case of Legos” they provide a professional background on the authors at the very beginning of the academic study by showing the schools attended for each author.  By using ethos, the authors have now gained the attention from their readers by stating their reputable background and enticing them to continue.

Academic writing can vary from other styles in several different ways but not necessarily negatively.  It is typically some form of essay or reports used to explain truth or an argument,  then supported with evidence by using cited work.  In Dan Ariely’s articles about his experiments, he represents the same story but has three different articles based around the same few experiments.  The first article “What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?” he demonstrates the power of meaningful work versus being “ignored”.  What makes people value their own work and remain motivated? “The good news is that by simply looking at something that somebody has done, scanning it and saying “uh huh,” that seems to be quite sufficient to dramatically improve people’s motivations.”  Similar to the other articles, he is demonstrating how we can improve employee’s productivity and happiness.  His argument is supported with the experiments and provides an interesting conclusion to make you think.  Comparatively to the Duke University press release “What Managers Can Learn From Legos,” he takes evidence from his own experiments and compares them to the overall objective he is trying to portray. “Adding to the evidence from the first experiment, this experiment also showed that meaning, even a very small meaning, can matter a lot.”

Unfortunately, academic writing can provide less emotion compared to magazines or a fictional story, which expresses a more free-form style.  Fictional writing allows the writer to express emotion and imagination.  It depends on the audience, or even the style sought out, but sometimes it’s nice to see something different than reality. It allows your mind to appreciate the creative imagination.

In conclusion, I believe that academic writing can be all three of these, better, different, or worse, and still have a necessary place in our world today.  Without it having these traits, it wouldn’t be good writing.

Literacy Autobiography

In my video I am trying to represent the most common forms of writing and reading that I use everyday.  I wanted the style of the video to represent how natural and frequently we use them.  Ultimately we may unknowingly rely on them. I showed my most frequently used forms such as emailing, Facebook, reading, writing school notes, and texting.  Social media is everywhere and has really advanced our writing.  It allows us to communicate quickly with many different styles whether it is an article, blog posts, or a personal profile.


As a kid I never really kept a journal or read books for fun.  I spent most of my time outside playing capture the flag or street hockey with the neighbor kids.  I tried to avoid teen magazines, I never really cared for the constant celebrity bashing or “what not to wear” but did occasionally read sports magazines.  In middle school, texting became very popular.  At first I didn’t really understand the fad, why would you not just call someone?  But sometimes it is much more convenient and now I use it everyday.   The next big thing was MySpace.  This was my first real exposure to social media.   The idea of being able to create an account online with pictures and have an “about me”  profile was intriguing because now you can create this more “appealing” image and portray your life to others with the positive experiences.  Then of course we now have Facebook.  I started using Facebook my first year of college about five years ago.  Personally, I love having one because it is easier to stay in touch with my family a thousand miles away.  I am the only one of my family in Colorado but I actually am able to communicate more frequently than before because of Facebook.  Even my grandmother has one!


Since technology has developed tremendously, sending letters in the mail has faded.  Actually, anytime I receive a personal letter in the mail I am thrilled.  So last year I made my New Years resolution, to send more letters.  Whether it be a thank you card or a birthday card, it’s always exciting to receive one so I bought multiple packs of cards and have been doing it ever since. I also used email as an example in the video.  Before I always thought emailing was for the adults and I never created an account until my senior year when applying for college.   Now, as an adult, it has become a bigger use in my life.  Sometimes it’s nice to just reach out with a personal and private message immediately rather than the wait of sending a letter.  Email is also very helpful when communicating with your teacher.


Social media has influenced my writing more than I realized.  I initially viewed the Internet as a waste of time or for procrastinating.  I never realized how much I actually depended on it and how it has affected me.  We can learn so much from it with IMG_0215the availability of reading and writing and the variety of styles and ideas.


Visual argument- Which life would you choose?

This is my baby, Henry as the model.  I chose to do this topic because I have actually never seen an advertisement for it before.  Working in the animal field, I have seen several pets come into the hospital reeking of a dirty ashtray.  It really makes me feel for the pets, and what breathing must be like for them. Second hand smoke can effect your pets just as much as humans.  They can even develop lung cancer, chronic allergies, or asthma, which can shorten their lives, and they don’t get that choice.

So which life would you choose for your pet?



Visual add 2

Pool For Beginners

I have always enjoyed playing pool for fun so I joined a league about a year ago.  I’m certainly not a professional but these are some important techniques that I learned when starting which made a huge improvement on my game.  I have never made a video before nor have I ever edited one but here it is!

Public Rhetorics

For each post, I had to consider my audience when deciding which persuasive methods would be most effective and adjusting my writing style to properly convey the intentions of the post’s.

My first two post’s about animal health and arthritis were grounded in reason, or logos.  For example, “The key to preventing arthritis is starting your pet on a glucosamine supplement,” is persuasive primarily because it is based in reason and demonstrates logically how one thing leads to another. I also used the element of kairos in formulating the statement, “Ideally we want to start treating for arthritis before the symptoms begin to show” as it leans on a sense of urgency. I am also attempting to appeal to the emotions of the audience in the statement, “Arthritis can be painful.  Pets cannot talk and naturally hide pain.  As owners, we have to be their voice.” so I am utilizing pathos as well.  For many families in North America, dogs are considered a member of the family.  I assumed my audience for this post consisted of both members of the veterinary community and any families who have ever had a pet.  Therefore, I tried to cater to the scientific community with logic while appealing to the families with emotion.

In contrast, my post on marriage equality is more heavily grounded in pathos.  I led off with a story to capture the reader’s attention.  The pathos element culminated in the statement, “Their relationship is one of the strongest, most selfless, and genuinely loving bonds I’ve seen.” I then transitioned to logos with the statement, “Amidst the norm of divorce and loveless marriages, how is it possible that so many believe the union of a same-sex couple in love shouldn’t be allowed?”  This rhetorical question was designed to challenge the ethos of the more conservative audience of North American culture.

The review (has not been approved on the website yet):

Our extended family stayed at the Bay Front Luxury Retreat beach house for the past week and absolutely loved it.  This house was truly immaculate and welcoming. The kitchen was well stocked with supplies and condiments.  We immediately felt at home. There was great lighting with several windows and an awesome view of the water. The house was neatly presented with a modern design and awesome features like a hot tub, heated outdoor shower, and a beautiful patio and fire pit. The owners were very personable and friendly and even equipped the house with three cruiser bikes.  We enjoyed sailing, windsurfing, and playing volleyball on the sand court located close by.  The beach was conveniently located only two blocks away and offered great waves for swimming, boogie boarding, and surfing.

Our family enjoys travelling together, and we usually rent homes whenever possible so we can be together for meals and relaxing.  This house is simply our favorite thus far. We had a wonderful experience and would definitely recommend this house to rent.


What do others say is good writing?

One of the most important and recognized aspects to writing is the audience.  First impressions will be made and you may potentially be overlooked if lacking a clear message.  As supported by Mathew Alanis’s video, “You need to stand out to the reader to ultimately have them commit to completing the rest of the document. Good writing is something that people want to pick up and read”.  (Alanis Business Academy).  Writing should have personality and be similar to how you would speak.  Give your readers an opportunity to relate to the story.

A valid opinion I enjoyed from Ann Handley was, “Every good writing has a good editor”. (Brand Driven Digital).  An outside perspective is essential to a successful story. The layout plays a large role as well.   The sentence structure needs to be clear and easy to read. “Instead of having one large block of information, you can separate the topics by utilizing paragraphs, bullet points, or headings to avoid intimidating the reader” (Alanis Business Academy).  You want to draw the reader’s attention to the things you find important and the message you are seeking to convey.





What is good writing?

Writing is not just about the proper grammar and punctuation, it is a form of expression that allows us to voice our opinions or ideas on any given topic.  Depending on your interests, a good read may be a non-fiction or some form of education such as a documentary, memoir, or biography.  There is the more fantasy aspect of writing with the fictional mystery novels or fairy tales.  As for me, I enjoy all of the above.  Typically I would confer good writing is a story created with a concise flow of words that is creative yet remains focused.  Ideas should be presented clearly and logically keeping the audience in mind with the appropriate writing technique.

As technology has developed, our styles of writing have transformed.  We now have the ability to communicate through blogs, emails, or online forums.  We can voice opinions to strangers by leaving reviews about an experience or a product.  Virtually our lives are greatly affected by writing and most people use this as the preferred form of communication.

About me

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I was born in Austin, Texas but spent most of my childhood in the Dallas area.  My family moved many times so I attended four different high schools, a new school each year.  I decided to move to Colorado five years ago after graduating to pursue my passion in animal science.  I graduated from Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology in 2010 and have been working in the field as a manager and Certified Veterinary Technician ever since.

I am finishing my bachelor degree at The University of Denver with a major in biology and an ultimate goal to attend Veterinary school at CSU.   My passion is not only working with animals but the medical aspect as well.  I am drawn to the challenge presented by the continuously evolving field of medicine.   I grew up playing multiple sports such as soccer, volleyball, and track because I am competitive and love to develop new skills.  I am currently on a pool league with aspirations of being a hustler.  I love to mountain bike and run, my most recent race was the Colfax half marathon.  I love living in Colorado and have no desire to move back to Texas, don’t tell the family.