Perfect Essay 101: Professor Szalay

By: Joshua S. Proud


Professor Tina Szalay is an amazing educator in the Cal U English department. She has taught at Cal U since 2005 and adores it. Szalay says that her students often inspire her. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in English and French, then later pursued her Master’s in English. At Cal U, Professor Szalay teaches 100 level comp classes, Business writing, and 100 level literature classes, which is her favorite subject of all.


The Writing Center: Overall, what makes a good paper in your class? What is the most important aspect of a thesis?

Tina Szalay: A good paper is thorough, honest, well-researched, and free of grammatical errors.  There are three essential aspects to a thesis statement.  It should be clear, straightforward, and narrow in scope.

Joshua Proud: I agree, something that is honest is going to come off as genuine and pure. Avoid adding extra words, but do not allow it to be so simple. There is a balance we writers must achieve.


TWC: What should students know before writing a paper in your class?

TS: Students should know not to plagiarize.

JP: Ooop. I have Professor Szalay in class and this is something she is very adamant about, and she should be. If you plagiarize in her class she will know! Just don’t plagiarize. Do your own work and be proud of it. If you’re stuck on your writing, don’t cheat and click here to make an appointment with us so we can help!


TWC: What do you define as a credible source? What makes a source not-so-credible?

TS: A credible source is unbiased and supported by evidence. A non-credible source would lack the aforementioned qualities, thus rendering it totally unreliable.

JP: If you can’t find a source to back up your ideas, then you need to just change your topic. A credible source will make or break your paper. Imagine someone says something to you, and then you ask them how they know and they say “well someone said that someone else said it to a friend of a friend.” Probably not gonna come off as credible.


TWC: How do you incorporate feedback and edits into your students’ work?

TS: Through written comments on their papers and verbal advice in my office.

JP: Do not be afraid to ask for help. Your professors want you to succeed. Go to their office and talk with them, chances are it’ll make the outcome of your work improve.


TWC: In one or more sentences, what makes a good writer?

TS: Most people can become competent writers through hard work, dedication, honesty, and adherence to their professors’ advice and suggestions.

JP: Professor Szalay is so right here. Nothing is going to be successful without a little hard work. Dedicate yourself to your writing and focus on everything one step at a time. Ask for help!


If you have Professor Szalay, I would take all this information in. She sets her students up to do well, listen to her and you will succeed. Even if you don’t have her in class, I promise that all the information she shared is valid for other professors as well. Finals are around the corner, papers will be assigned soon. All of this information is for sure going to help you. Work hard, stay focused and things will go in your favor!

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Perfect Essay 101: Professor Szalay
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