An Unfiltered Exchange: Amy Dunkle

Professor of Writing and Rhetoric, Amy Dunkle finds joy in teaching students how to hone in their writing skills. PHOTO CREDIT: Eddie Melfi | Staff Photographer

University of Rhode Island Professor of Writing and Rhetoric Amy Dunkle has been sharing her love of writing with students for the last six years.

When Dunkle was starting out her college career at Boston University, she wasn’t sure what career she wanted to pursue and started as a business major. However, she realized this wasn’t the right fit for her and transferred to the University of New Hampshire. There, she took a variety of classes to see what her interests were and discovered a love of journalism. 

“I liked the news so I took political science and I liked writing,” Dunkle said. 

She said she had not previously thought of a career in writing, but took a class in journalism and was hooked.

“Then, my creative writing professor asked if I had ever thought of news writing,” Dunkle said.

Dunkle graduated from UNH with a degree in political science, as there was no journalism program at the time. In her early career, she worked for newspapers in New Hampshire, and later on, was offered a job as managing editor at a newspaper in South Dakota, where she lived for 20 years and raised four children. 

Dunkle also did freelance writing work during her time in South Dakota, and was hired by the alumni association at South Dakota State University to write a book, “The College on the Hill: A Sense of South Dakota State University.” 

After two decades in the midwest, she said her husband’s job took her back to New England. Dunkle continued writing in Rhode Island as a science writer for URI under the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) grant. She explained that in her time as a journalist, she’s done all kinds of writing, but science writing remains her passion.

“There’s so much cool stuff going on in science,” Dunkle said. “And to be able to convey that and get other people excited is fun.” 

When the URI writing department was looking for someone to teach science writing classes, a colleague recommended her. Six years ago, a full-time position opened, and Dunkle has since been an associate professor for the department of writing and rhetoric. 

In addition to teaching public relations writing (WRT 331)  and professional writing (WRT 227), Dunkle continues to teach science writing (WRT 334) where students learn how to convey scientific information to a non-science audience. Her love of the course shines through as she talks about her students, many of whom are STEM majors with little college writing experience. 

“I love finding their voice and their style because everybody is so used to academic writing,” Dunkle said. “To break free from those restraints, you see the different personalities and voices and styles come through while they’re still telling the story. I’m an advocate that any type of writing will help you.”

 Dunkle encourages students of all majors to hone their writing skills and speaks to the benefits of having strong writing skills in whatever career they choose. 

In her time away from teaching, Dunkle enjoys walking her two rescue dogs, Lin-Manuel and Maria, whom she adopted from Puerto Rico after the hurricane in 2019.