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Work experience

Aug 2007Present


John Tyler Community College

I teach the following courses at John Tyler Community College: 

College Composition I; Preparing for College Writing I; Preparing for College Writing II; Preparing forCollege Reading; Reading in the Content Areas; College Composition II, both in class on online; Survey of American Literature I online.

I also recently received a Paul Lee professional grant to incorporate word problems into Read 05 and 06 and added a writing element via math journals, and I hope to publish my research once this semester is over. This grant fortunately translated to an opportunity to attend the VCCS Chancellor's Developmental Education Institute, which is a high honor. Furthermore, I co-facilitated two learning communities at JSRCC. I have presented research regarding the following topics at VCCS conferences: the use of audio clips in developmental courses, Weeblies in Eng 112 , and word problems in Read 05 and 06. I also co-presented tips for using Blackboard in lecture courses at a JTCC English faculty seminar. Please see resume for details.

Jan 2009Present


J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College

I teach the following courses at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College:

College Composition I; College Composition II; English as a Second Language: Composition III; Writing Workshop II 

I co-facilitated two learning communities, and I am currently participating in their Information Literacy Assessment Project for Eng 112.

Jan 2006Dec 2009

Student Athlete Tutor

Virginia Commonwealth University

I tutored student athletes, mostly from the men's basketball team, in a variety of liberal arts courses approximately 25 hours per week.

Aug 2006Dec 2007

Graduate Teaching Assistant

Virginia Commonwealth University

I served as a Human Societies and Globalization graduate teaching assistant for three semesters, which required essay reviews for approximately 150 students three times per semester, study sessions prior to each test and office hours weekly.  

Jan 2006May 2006

Aide to Del. Robert Wittman

Virginia 2006 legislative session

I served Del. Wittman primarily by drafting replies to constituent emails, responding to constituent email, tracking constituent opinions, answering constituent phone calls and performing whatever other tasks were required of me. I also witnessed many legislative debates and observed how Virginia politics work.


Aug 2008Present

M. Ed., Reading

Virginia Commonwealth University

Expected graduation is August 2012

Aug 2006May 2008

M.A. English

Virginia Commonwealth University

I completed a Master's thesis titled, Developmental Composition: A Return to the Reading/Writing Connection. I also finished with a 3.87 GPA.

Jan 2004Aug 2006

B.A. Political Science

Virginia Commonwealth University

I graduated summa cum laude, with a 3.892 GPA, and won an Outstanding Undergraduate Student award. I was also an honors student during my undergraduate tenure.


Current Resume


I am writing to you as a recent college graduate, current college student and academic professional seeking employment in education, politics, social services or government work. I would like to take the opportunity to introduce myself and explain what I could offer your agency.

I am a graduate student at VCU one portfolio shy of a M.Ed., Reading, and expect to complete all work for this degree by August 2012. I believe that my teaching and internship experience combined with my M.A., Writing and Rhetoric; my B.A., Political Science; my participation and service in numerous extracurricular professional activities; and my recent technology related coursework make me a strong candidate for a variety of positions.

        As my resume indicates, I started my academic and professional journey in politics, which I find fascinating and in which I remain engaged. I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to serve Del. Robert Wittman during the 2006 legislative session, and the experience was challenging, enlightening and rewarding.

        Currently, I teach a variety of reading and writing classes, many of which are developmental. I have also taught at least one online course every semester since August 2008, summers included.

        Additionally, I often participate in Virginia Community College System conventions, seminars and progressive programs, either individually or collaboratively, and I recently completed my first professional literature review for Bedford/ St. Martin’s press.

Though I have extensive professional experience, I am also a student, and this understanding informs my pedagogical practices. Every semester, I offer my online students Wix/Weebly and database training sessions at the college libraries during times that are convenient for them, as I understand the unique challenges online coursework and technology based projects present, yet realize that the ability to exploit Web 2.0, with its collaborative and dynamic features, renders students more marketable.

        In fact, much of my recent coursework relates to the integration of technology in the classroom. Last year, I completed TEDU 500, Workshop: Introduction to Technical Resources; TEDU 556, Advanced Computer Applications in Education; and TEDU 560, Instructional Strategy: Internet, all with an A. Furthermore, I continuously attempt to utilize my current coursework in the classroom. For example, I recently created a series of video tutorials for an online class, started utilizing wikis in Eng 112.  I also mandated E-portfolios in College Composition I and II, and I continue to require students to present their Eng 111 and Eng 112 research papers in Wix or Weebly formats.

        I would be happy to send you additional materials at your request. My professional email addresses are and . I thank you for your consideration and look forward to hearing from you.


Mary Downing-Gardner


My objective is to acquire a full time position in education, politics, social services or government work or to utilize my writing skills for any agency.