Where are they now? Elizabeth Cook: Called to Academia

Jun 22, 2023 | Posted by Cynthia

From dealing with blank-page anxiety to preparing for a dissertation, IEW has helped a number of students in their personal, academic, and professional development. This blog post features another graduate of IEW, Elizabeth Cook, who is currently working on her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Developmental Psychology as well as providing academic support for undergraduate students at Liberty University.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am one of six girls in my family, and I was homeschooled from pre-K to my senior year of high school. However, I did not begin an IEW program until high school through various homeschool venues. I graduated with my undergraduate and master’s degrees from Liberty University, and I am now beginning my PhD at Liberty University in psychology. I love reading, education, camping, hiking, and spending time with my husband.

What do you do now?

I currently work for Liberty University in the College of Applied Studies and Academic Success as a Professional Advisor. I offer personalized advising for residential freshmen, sophomores, first-semester transfer students, and students in academic difficulty. I effectively communicate Liberty policies, procedures, and graduation requirements. Additionally, I assist students in developing decision-making skills and assuming responsibility for their education plans and achievements. I also assist students in reaching their spiritual, educational, and professional goals as well as help them find the major that best utilizes their passions and talents for the Lord. My assigned student population is residential students in the School of Behavioral Sciences. Within my current position, having strong writing and communications skills is essential as I am constantly interacting with students, faculty, and staff via email, phone, and in-person meetings.

How old were you when you used IEW?

My first experience with IEW was in high school, where I learned inventive writing as well as worked through the other units within IEW. As this was more than ten years ago now, I mostly remember that we focused on prompt writing. The first prompt that my teacher had me respond to on the first day of class was extremely intimidating. I remember that my teacher gave me a prompt and then set the timer for a few minutes and left. I just stared at the page, panicking because I had no idea what to do. I think I was able to produce a few sentences before the time was up. My teacher was so kind and assured me that I would be able to write more than just a few sentences by the end of that course. She was right. On the last day of class, she gave me a prompt, set the timer, and left. I remember being able to fill at least two to three pages of a response to the given prompt before the timer went off. I was so proud of myself for the growth I had experienced in my writing because of IEW. In addition, I continued to utilize the IEW method in my Challenge courses through Classical Conversations.

What was your favorite part of IEW?

IEW gave me the confidence to write without hesitation. Before completing any kind of IEW curriculum, I struggled with not knowing how to start a paper and not even knowing what to say. As I progressed through the curriculum, I gained confidence in my writing. A prompt or a research paper assignment did not feel as intimidating to me anymore. My mom would (lovingly) say how annoying it was that I could write a ten-page paper in a day in one sitting!

Did you notice that IEW helped you in college and how?

IEW tremendously helped me in college. Even though I did well in high school, I was still nervous about college-level classes and assignments. I went to Liberty University for my undergraduate degree, and I remember being so anxious for my English 101 class. When we went over the syllabus for the course and the assignment instructions, I was shocked to see that I had already learned this information through IEW. I ended up tutoring my classmates as they all seemed to be struggling with the concepts. I received an A in both English 101 and 102 in my freshman year of college. I continued to utilize the skills I learned in IEW throughout my undergraduate degree.

Do you have any plans for the future where writing and communicating will be needed?

As of the spring 2023 semester, I was accepted into a doctor of philosophy program at Liberty University in developmental psychology. I plan to continue using the skills I learned from IEW throughout my classes as well as the dissertation process. Completing a dissertation is still intimidating; however, I know that relying on the foundational skills I learned from IEW will help me achieve this goal. After completing my doctoral program, I hope to become a professor and instruct our younger generation in the setting of higher education. I also plan to continue my current position as an academic advisor. The skills I have learned from IEW help me every day when I email students, work on projects for our department, and collaborate with other academic departments.


Elizabeth found that IEW provided the foundation that allowed her to pursue her academic goals. Whether it is preparing for the SAT, simply passing English 101, or starting a dissertation, IEW provides students with a curriculum that chases away writing anxiety and instills confidence and pride that they will carry with them throughout their personal, academic, and professional careers.

Cynthia has been homeschooling since 1993 and is currently teaching IEW to her grandchildren. In 2008 she began her IEW adventure teaching an Essentials class at her local Classical Conversations Community. In 2011 she started teaching IEW classes to the homeschooling community in Northern Virginia. Cynthia’s greatest joy is watching students gain confidence in themselves and their writing. Her hobby is talking to whomever will listen and telling them that they can achieve anything they put their minds to. She is a graduate of Liberty University with a degree in history and currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina, along with her husband, Bob, three cats, and two of their six daughters.

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