SAFE Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Melissa Stone

Dr. Melissa Stone, Assistant Professor, Department of English
Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Fund Recipient: Fall 2022

Project: "The Technology of Cooking: Teaching Graduate Students Technical Writing Practices Through Home Cooking"

Dr. Stone received a Fall 2022 Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) grant to fund projects and activities for her ENG 5500 course. The course demonstrated technical writing in action through a concentration on the challenges of recipe writing, the usability of kitchen-oriented technologies, and the analyses of digital technologies like mobile recipe apps.

"In the course, students came to learn that everyday activities like home cooking rely heavily on well-written and clearly-communicated technical documentation...Ultimately, through the lens of home cooking, students were able to explore what it means to be a good technical communicator," wrote Stone.

For one project in the course, students wrote and tested recipes for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to learn about the intricacies of technical writing. "The students expressed how helpful it was to be able to literally sit down and write a recipe with the ingredients in front of them. They said the ability to taste and experiment with the ingredients helped them to better write technical instructions...For me as an educator, it was the first time I was able to see a 'spark' of learning in the classroom. It is often hard to come up with hands-on activities in the classroom like this due to lack of funding," shared Stone.

For another project, students used ChatGPT to write recipes, tested those recipes, and then rewrote the recipes with a human perspective. Stone explained, "The point of the assignment was to encourage students to think about the differences between machine learning and human learning. I wanted them to see ChatGPT as a useful tool in the technical writing world, but one that is at its best when it has human intervention."

To reduce the financial burden of buying the recipe ingredients, Stone allowed each team to use some of the SAFE grant funding to purchase the items they needed. According to Stone, this was greatly appreciated by her students: "They expressed that if they would have had to pay for ingredients with their own money, their recipes would have been much more simple and basic. Overall, I was thrilled to have this funding to help enhance the classroom experience for my students."


About the SAFE Fund
Initially endowed by Hughlene and Bill Frank, the College of Arts and Sciences Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Fund provides resources that can be used to support undergraduate, graduate and faculty experiences. The SAFE Fund provides funding for college priorities and opportunities that arise throughout the year. These unrestricted funds support student and faculty travel, publication support for faculty and student research opportunities. Learn more at:

About the Department of English
The Department of English at Appalachian State University is committed to outstanding work in the classroom, the support and mentorship of students, and a dynamic engagement with culture, history, language, theory and literature. The department offers master’s degrees in English and rhetoric and composition, as well as undergraduate degrees in literary studies, film studies, creative writing, professional writing and English education. Learn more at

Written by Lauren Andersen
November 28, 2023

Dr. Melissa Stone
Published: Nov 28, 2023 8:20am