Carnegie Mellon University
July 27, 2015

Laura Pacilio Wins Erwin R. Steinberg MAPW Scholarship

Laura PacilioLaura Pacilio

Laura Pacilio (MAPW’16) was selected as the 2015 recipient of the Erwin R. Steinberg Master of Arts in Professional Writing (MAPW) Scholarship. The award recognizes a third semester MAPW student who has excelled in the program’s Style course and exemplifies the values that characterized Steinberg’s career in scholarship, teaching, and administration at Carnegie Mellon. Those values include integrity, intellectual curiosity, and citizenship.

The scholarship honors Dr. Erwin R. Steinberg, who founded the department’s professional and technical writing programs and for many years taught the required Style course for MAPW students.

“I have worked with some of the brightest, kindest, and most creative people I have ever encountered while in this program, so I am incredibly honored to have been chosen for this award,” said Pacilio. “The MAPW program has been so rewarding for me personally and professionally, and I am continually grateful to be here.”

Pacilio manages a research lab in CMU’s Department of Psychology by day and is a part-time student in the MAPW program by night – making her the first staff member to win this award.

“The MAPW has a history of welcoming excellent Carnegie Mellon staff members into our program as part-time students,” said Necia Werner, assistant teaching professor of English and director of the Professional and Technical Writing Programs. “Talk to any of them, and they’ll tell you how juggling work and school is a labor of love. As the first part-time student to receive this award, Laura exemplifies the high standards of academic and professional excellence that Erwin Steinberg both lived and expected of his students."

Pacilio is using what she’s learned so far from the MAPW program on the job. She recently contributed to the department’s newsletter, #CMUPsych, with an article titled, “The Mind-Body Connection.” Honed skills like document design, instructional writing, and clear writing have also helped Pacilio to write scripts for experimental studies, advertisements, and manuals about how to use various software programs.

She even used some of her design training to create the lab’s website and is now the “go-to” in her lab for designing figures or other illustrations for scientific papers.

The design component was one of the many reasons that drew Pacilio to the MAPW program. 

“I really appreciate the design component,” said Pacilio. “I was totally foreign to InDesign, Illustrator, etc. before I started, but the Adobe Suite is so useful and I feel like I can do so many more things now that I've learned those programs.”

Pacilio also liked how the core writing and design courses complimented each other, as well as the intimate size of the MAPW program, which allowed her to get to know her professors and classmates – even as a part-time student.

As a MAPW student, Pacilio is especially interested in technical/medical writing. She also holds a bachelor of science degree in psychology from CMU.

Pacilio, who was chosen by a committee of MAPW faculty, will receive the $1,500 award to be used towards the fall 2015 semester. The Erwin R. Steinberg MAPW Scholarship has been given annually since 2007.

Learn more about the Master of Arts in Professional Writing Program.

By Amanda King