Inver Hills Community College


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Click on any  part or section below:

Part I. Basics/Process

  A. Chapters 1-6: Start

  B. Ch. 7-13: Organize

  C. Ch. 14-20: Revise/Edit

Part II. College Writing

   D. Ch. 21-23: What Is It?

   E. Ch. 24-30: Write on Rdgs.

   F. Ch.31-35: Arguments

  G. Ch. 36-42: Research

  H. Ch. 43-48: Literature

   I.  Ch. 49-58: Majors & Work

Part III. Grammar

 Study Questions




Sample Resumes, Cover Letter,
and Personal Statements



All samples in's chapters are by students, unless otherwise noted.  They are examples of "A" level undergraduate writing or entry-level graduate or professional work.  If more than one sample is provided, be sure to read all samples.  Then compare each to what the "Basics" section says for this type of paper. 

If you do not have time to read every sample below, word for word, then use a form of skim reading: read the entire introduction and conclusion paragraph of a sample, and then read just the first and last sentence of all the other paragraphs in the sample.  This method of skimming often provides an understanding of the basic contents and of the paper's form or structure.  Another method of faster reading is to choose just one or two of the samples that are most like the paper you will be required to write; then read, either fully or using skim reading as described here.

Unless otherwise noted, sample papers do not necessarily meet all requirements an individual instructor or professional supervisor may have: ask your instructor or supervisor.  In addition, the samples are single spaced to save room.  However, a proper manuscript given to an instructor or supervisor normally should be double spaced with margins set at or close to 1" unless another format has been requested.

The authors of all sample student papers in this Web site have given their permission in writing to have their work included in WritingforCollege.orgAll samples remain copyrighted by their original authors.  Other than showing it on this website, none should be used without the explicit permission of the author.


Sample One: Resume by Psychology Specialist

SPECIAL NOTES: This strong, detailed resume was developed for getting a job in psychology with just a bachelor's degree.  It is brief (one page) and to the point.  It does not list all of the candidate's job experiences, just those that are strongest--and are strongly related specifically to the field of psychology.  (Using a second major, in English, she developed an entirely different resume just for looking for tutoring jobs in English/literacy.)  Since writing this, she has gone on to a PhD program in psychology.  Her personal contact information has been removed for privacy.

NOTE: The formatting for this has been changed to fit this web page.  Initially, she used what is sometimes called a "two-column" method: in a narrow left column, she had her name and address, with nothing but white space under it; then she had a vertical line separating the two columns; and finally, her wider, right-hand column gave the details of her resume, as below.  The purpose of the "two-column" resume is to narrow the length of the resume's lines, which, according to research, makes it easier and faster for readers to read--as in newspaper columns.

Tamara C. Hill   

[Street Address]   

Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403   

[Phone Number]   



University of Minnesota – Twin Cities


College of Liberal Arts

Graduated Dec. 2011

· Bachelor of Arts, Psychology and English major

· GPA 3.67

· Dean’s List

· Independent research and studies

Sept. 2009-Dec. 2011

Inver Hills Community College

Inver Grove Heights, Mn

· Associate of Arts

· GPA 3.63

Graduated May 2007

Aug. 2005-May 2007

· Phi Theta Kappa member


· Gay-Straight-Alliance Club member and treasurer


Professional Development/Volunteer Experiences

Neighborhood Involvement Program

Minneapolis, Mn

 Rape and Sexual Abuse Center Counselor

Sept. 2011-Present

· Alleviate a multitude of crisis situations ranging from individual to familial or systemic-based issues

· Perform client intakes for mental health programs and therapists

· Extensive knowledge of community resources and have utilized those resources to connect my clients with the appropriate intervention and care

· One hour of weekly supervision by a M.A. level psychologist



Minnesota Department of Corrections

St. Paul, Mn

MnCOSA support group

Oct. 2011-Present

· Useful insight into the process of corrections with an aspect of mental health

· Weekly support group meetings with sexual offender offer 

           experience with group therapy

KBD Investments

St. Paul, Mn

Community Coordinator

Dec. 2010-Present

· Coordinate community engagement plan for low income
neighborhoods and minority populations

· Experience lowered rates of crime and domestic abuse within
housing units



Minneapolis, Mn

English as a Second Language Adult Tutor

Sept. 2010-Jan. 2011

· One-on-one and group support for individuals with a paucity
of resources

· Had experience working with a wide variety of literacy
levels as well as cultural experiences (ESL Students)


One Village Partners

Minneapolis, Mn

Education Committee and Fundraising Committee

July 2008-Aug. 2009

· Supervised process for teacher’s applications for government payroll

Sierra Leone, Africa

· Managed the correspondence between three village schools

May 2009-June 2009

· Alleviated crisis and systemic issues within the community and
continued communication via telephone conferencing


Research Experience

Cognitive Neuropsychology Lab – University of Minnesota

Research Assistant 

May 2010-Dec. 2010

Undergraduate Presentations

University of Minnesota – Undergraduate English Conf.

Metro State University – Genocide Conference

April 2011

Nov. 2006


Collaborative Internal Review Board  (IRB) Training

Minnesota Literacy Council

CITI certification

ESL Curr. Develop.


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Sample Two: Resume by Education/Health Care Professional

SPECIAL NOTES: This is an equally strong resume--in slightly different form than the one above--by a professional education and health care coordinator at the University of Minnesota. Formatting, which originally was for an 8.5" by 11" page in MS Word, has been changed to the size and format of this web page. Her personal contact information has been removed for privacy. 

[Street Address] · Bloomington, MN 55437 · [Phone Number] 
[Email Address]


University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN

M.A., Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology, May 2004

Overall G.P.A.: 4.00/4.00

University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN           

B.A., Speech and Language Pathology, May 2000                          

Overall G.P.A.: 4.00/4.00


            University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN

            Coordinator, Admissions and Diversity, School of Dentistry,
            February 2007-Present.  Responsibilities:

·     Manage the recruitment and admissions process for the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) and Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene (DH) Programs.

·     Advise traditional, non-traditional, underrepresented minority, first generation, and low-income students about dental careers, job placement, and admissions.

·     Process financial transactions for the office using the Enterprise Financial System.

·     Prepare detailed admissions statistics for use in tracking application trends.

·     Edit and maintain the admissions web sites for the DDS and DH programs.

·     Create marketing materials designed to attract high quality candidates to the school’s programs.

·     Write various high-level communications to students, faculty, administrators, and dental professionals.

·     Facilitate an ethics and professionalism course for first year dental students.

·     Counsel applicants who’ve been denied admission to the School of Dentistry and are seeking feedback.

·     Oversee the peer mentor program, an effective tool to help entering students make a successful transition into their program.

·     Served as co-investigator in a study to determine ways to strengthen a peer mentorship program to better serve entering students and increase retention. 

·     Select and train DDS students to serve as Ambassadors and represent the School of Dentistry at recruitment fairs and events.

·     Present admissions and career information sessions to prospective students several times per month.

·     Collaborate with financial aid officer to ensure students understand the options for paying for their education and how to be fiscally responsible.

·     Organize and host interview days for applicants and oversee other large-scale School of Dentistry events (orientation, recruitment fairs, etc.).

·     Interview candidates for the DDS Program and provide feedback to the Admissions Committee.

Registrar and Advising Manager, Carlson School of Management,
           July 2004-February 2007:

·     Provided program advisement to 800 Part-Time Master of Business Administration (MBA) students.

·     Addressed student inquiries regarding academic status in program, professional portfolios, degree clearance, course selection, course waivers, and taking courses outside the program.

·     Trained new MBA students in how to use various tools on the Part-Time MBA and University of Minnesota web sites.   

·     Hosted MBA professional portfolio information sessions.

·     Maintained and developed the current student web site for the Part-Time MBA program.

·     Developed information on the Part-Time MBA web site that marketed the Carlson School’s diversity initiatives.

·     Collaborated with the Carlson School’s Marketing Services team to develop new materials to promote the services offered by the Part-Time MBA program to its students.

·     Managed the Carlson Company Scholarship funds for Part-Time MBA students.

·     Teamed with other Carlson School staff to plan and execute the annual graduation commencement and orientation.

Graduate Student Academic Counselor, General College,
            June 2003-July 2004

·     Served as an academic counselor to 100 undergraduates from culturally and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds.

·     Developed an understanding of how academic and non-academic factors can affect student performance and used holistic advising approach with students.

·     Presented information to students regarding transfer, degree, and career planning.

·     Referred students to various resources as appropriate, including  
   Disability Services and University        
   Counseling and Consulting Services. 

·     Coordinated new student orientation and registration. 

·     Utilized effective retention interventions with high-risk students.

·     Advised students on academic probation and suspension.

·     Addressed unique advising needs of student athletes.

Student Support Services Assistant, School of Dentistry,
            November 2000-March 2003

·   Advised/counseled pre-dental students individually and in groups
    regarding their academic and career plans.

            ·   Recruited prospective dental students at college/career fairs.

            ·   Processed over 600 dental school applications per application cycle.

·   Provided presentation of dental career information to groups of
                prospective students.

·   Organized orientation sessions and graduation ceremony for dentistry
    and dental hygiene students. 


Proficient in the use of Excel, Word, Access, Power Point, PeopleSoft, Enterprise Financial System, Moodle, email, online calendaring systems, web content management systems, Macintosh, PC, and more.


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Sample Three (A): Application Letter #1

SPECIAL NOTES: The following is the printed portion of the application letter I used to gain my current position in 2001.  However, I have added photos to it—as I might do if I were applying now. --Richard Jewell

--- August 23, 2012

                                                                               January 26, 2001

Search Committee in English
Inver Hills Community College
Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota

To members of the search committee:

            I am interested in your full-time, permanent position in English.  I have quite a bit of experience in teaching English, and I deeply enjoy it.  I also have a strong background in working with diverse cultures, writing across the curriculum, and computer technologies. 

            I would like to start by describing a typical day in one of my classrooms in "freshman comp" or developmental writing.  I try to arrive at least five minutes

early.  When I enter the classroom, I say "good morning" to those already there.  If students have not already created a large circle with their chairs, I ask them to do so.  As I lay out my papers, typically one or two students will come to me and ask questions, which I always am glad to answer.  When the class begins, if it is the first or last day of the week, I will very briefly


My students working in pairs

review what is due during that week or the next, and I’ll ask if anyone has any questions.  If the students look unusually energized or tired, I will ask them if something special is happening or commiserate with their tiredness.  Often I pass a comic strip around.  After these first few moments, we may do one of two things.  If it is a group-activity day, I ask the students to number off into small groups of three to four people each.  (In a computer lab, I have three students in a group gathered around one computer.)  Next, I ask them to very briefly introduce themselves to each other and quickly choose their group roles (coordinator, writer, reader, and coach).  Then I give them an invented situation that is related to the kind of writing we are studying at the time, and I ask them to write about it as a group.  for example, I might ask them to imagine that they are the heads of several corporations who have come together to write a position statement on a pressing community issue, or to imagine they are speechwriters for a candidate running for office.  On the blackboard, I write several steps for them to follow in writing their document, and when everyone is done, each group's result is read to the class.  Finally, I offer a brief explanation of how the activity prepares them for an assignment.

            If, on the other hand, I devote the hour to discussion and lecture, I usually have one or two changeups.  I always try to present material differently than does the textbook, often in a visual manner.  I may talk for ten or twenty minutes about the next writing assignment or about writing style, critical thinking, grammar, research, or punctuation.  Sometimes I ask students to practice what we have discussed for five or ten minutes on notepads or computers, or I start discussions by asking students to write their own questions.  Several times per term, I use a kinesthetic technique that I call a human tableau of writing to introduce a new type of paper: I ask several students to stand in various positions.  For example, if we are studying argument involving two or even three opposing viewpoints, I will have two or three students face each other to represent the viewpoints, and I will ask three more students to stand behind each of the central students, to represent supporting information. In addition, once or twice per term, I will have a brief, casual evaluation activity in which students write or speak about what they feel is working and not working in the class, and what they would change or like to see more of.  

         In 1983, I was a single father and freelance writer living in Little Falls.  Some of my income came from outside work, and when I tried teaching

Working with one of my favorite students

community education and teacher-training courses, I found I love teaching.  I enrolled at St. Cloud State for a graduate degree (my third), and I became a TA.  After graduating with a 4.0, I worked as an adjunct there.  Several years later, I met and eventually married my current wife.  She has a tenured position here in the Twin Cities, so my children and I moved here, and I worked at several colleges.  In 1996, the University of Minnesota English Department

hired me to a full-time, indefinite position teaching first- and third-year composition and an occasional literature course.  I like my work, but in the future my job category may be subject to budgetary whims.

            As an English instructor, I have taught a wide array of courses, especially in writing.  My teaching methods draw on many sources, both experiential and scholarly.  My beginnings as a social worker and a freelance writer have been especially helpful.  I teach, often in groups, using contemporary methods: process writing, writing across the curriculum, and critical thinking in writing.  I have, in fact, worked closely as a colleague with the person who was one of the strongest forces in Minnesota in introducing writing across the curriculum to the state—Chris Anson, formerly at the University—and I am a good friend of Susan Jensen, formerly of IHCC, who introduced WAC to MCCS.  I also have team taught with Joel Peterson, who introduced critical thinking to MCCS/MnSCU.  In the classroom, I use a relaxed, encouraging approach in which I try to help students have fun, work hard, and try a number of writing methods and skills.  My goal is to make them competent writers for other courses and for their professions, and to help them discover how to soar in their writing when they work hard.  My reputation is that I am tough, fair, and fun.

            Part of my strength in working with students lies in my early experiences in social work.  In my twenties, I directed a coffeehouse/drop-in center for young street people in Berkeley, California; I was a teen worker at Northeast Athletic Field in Minneapolis for East Side Neighborhood Services; I have also received professional training in working with teens and in underdeveloped communities.  In addition, I have taught multicultural writing at the U and developmental writing at two colleges.  Each fall, I continue to teach an overload course on "Becoming a Master Student" for Student Support Services at North Hennepin Community College.                                                                                     

            In addition, I have started teaching online as part of one class, and I take my other classes into the computer lab once per week.  I have my own extensive course Web site with a 400-page (if printed) textbook (  I also am the administrator of an extensive education Web site: the UM English Department's composition web site, which includes (among many other sections) an "Online Grammar Handbook" of URLs ( [Note in the Present: Several years after I left UM-TC, my version of this site was replaced by a newer version]).


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Sample Three (B): Application Letter #2

SPECIAL NOTES: The following is a cover letter as part of an application for a psychology job by a student who since has gone on to working on her Ph.D. in psychology.  Note that it contains all the elements recommended for a strong application, whether for a scholarship, a graduate degree, or a job: a strong story opening, then background details written in a personally meaningful but professional manner, and also a recognition paragraph that shows the writer has studied the company and understands exactly how and why she chose the company and can fit in well.


                                                                               August 23, 2012

The Hammer Company
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Dear Staff and Associates of Hammer,

            Every Monday I walk through the metal detectors, answer a series of questions for the watchmen on the other side of the glass, and hear the clanking of the heavy doors close behind me at the Minnesota, Faribault prison.  Reality really sinks in, as I fully comprehend that every human behavior has a consequential outcome, which can be positive or negative.  I go to the prison to meet with Jon, a level-two sex offender who has made decisions in his life that have landed him behind bars.  However, Jon will soon be released out into the general population, and he needs support and a model for appropriate human behavior.  I work with Jon so he can realize that he is a competent human being; I work with him to find the appropriate community resources to be successful once he is a free man. 


            People are constantly learning, even when not in a classroom.  Every life experience is an opportunity to learn and to teach.  I do the best I can to combine my educational knowledge and my life experiences, and I find that that philosophy helps me go the furthest in pursuing my goals.


            My desire is to help promote my environment whether it is at my workplace or community, which is reflected in my willingness to go beyond what is expected.  Being a part of several non-profit organizations, I have had the wonderful experiences of helping my local community and of traveling abroad.  Locally, I have been able to work with a wide variety of populations, ages, and ethnic backgrounds.  Vicariously experiencing the lives of many different cultures has been more than rewarding.  During my time in Africa, I was able to step outside of my comfort zone and learn how to live life a new way, from an entirely new perspective.  While in Santander, Colombia, I volunteered my time in a low-income, after-school program.  I now am able to connect with many different classifications of people.  


            I have worked with many variegated types of populations, and the problems each person has faced differ greatly.  I have alleviated crisis situations including sexual and domestic abuse incidents.  The people I have interacted with comprise individuals who possess general mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and chemical dependency. I have worked with individuals while incorporating behavioral goals with their surrounding environments.  I have developed an ability to work well in high-stress situations at a very fast pace, and helping people is my motivation.  Through multiple experiences, I have accumulated over 4000 hours of supervising and counseling related services.


            Now that I have obtained my bachelor's degree, I am ready for my next venture.  I am certain that this position at Hammer will be the perfect step to continue my psychology career.  I know I have the proper skills and ambition to succeed as a Direct Support Professional, and that Hammer will contribute greatly to my repertoire of knowledge and experience.  One of the qualities that struck me about this program is that it maintains such a holistic approach.  People have the ability to receive assistance in multiple areas of their lives.  Hammer not only helps individuals in their professional hopes but also provides support for mental, emotional, and community health, allowing each person to become self-reliant and empowered.  Hammer seems to understand that systems work better when everyone is efficiently functioning within that system.  Overall it seems like a brilliant organization to both utilize and to work for.


Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you shortly.


Tamara C. Hill

[phone number]

[email address]


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Sample Four: Personal Statement

SPECIAL NOTES: An applicant to the University of Minnesota Medical School wrote this personal statement as part of her overall application.  She was immediately accepted, directly after receiving her bachelor's degree.  At the time of her application, her undergraduate GPA was slightly lower than the average for recent entering classes.  In addition, unlike perhaps a majority of those accepted, she did not first have to prove her interest by spending a year or more in a related job or another related master's degree program. 

While much of the credit for her getting into medical school at a young age was due to an otherwise excellent record, her personal statement, below, was a key part of her successful application.  She spent much time on it, both on her own and with her instructor (twice), who made suggestions for improvements.  Like the application letters above, it well demonstrates the elements of a good, strong letter of this kind: a strong story introduction, background details that show professional skills wedded to personal convictions, and a paragraph clearly showing she understands what the graduate program entails and how she is is a particularly good candidate for it.


Personal Statement: The Human Element of Medicine

by Anonymous

      "Success," someone once said, "is knowing you have helped one life breathe just a little more easily."  This quote is very meaningful to me because it uniquely exemplifies my motivation to pursue medicine. The experience that initially sparked my interest in medicine occurred when I volunteered at the Children's Variety Hospital. There I met an eight-year-old girl receiving treatment in the Pulmonary Unit. She was sitting in a wheelchair, bloated from medication, and crying. In between sobs, she was pleading, "I want to go home. I want to go home. Please, let me go home?" I struggled to fight back tears. She had been in the hospital for almost a month, and was in a great deal of pain. Her plea seemed like such a simple request, a freedom that most people take for granted. I distracted her from her unhappiness by engaging her in games and activities. It was rewarding to have helped in some way, but I longed to do more. I wanted to be directly involved in the process of helping her overcome her illness and go home. This interaction inspired my desire to become a medical doctor. Since then, I have pursued a variety of opportunities that have enriched my experiences within the medical field and the Twin Cities community.

        I volunteered with Sexual Health Awareness and Disease Education (SHADE) and the Minnesota Aids Project (MAP) because I felt I had the communication and people skills necessary to assist in disease prevention. My first hand experience with implementing and analyzing educational and behavioral intervention programs, as well as street outreach efforts, have exposed me to a variety of preventative approaches. As a sexual health educator for SHADE, I facilitated interactive presentations to students addressing issues of sexuality, HIV/STD protection, abstinence, and communication. I also conducted STD screening and HIV counseling for Minneapolis high schools. As Special Events Coordinator, I organized a weeklong effort (Safer Sex Week) to raise HIV/AIDS awareness on campus. My volunteer work with MAP included contraceptive and information dispersal, as well as recruitment targeting at risk populations for disease prevention programs. Working with people diagnosed with HIV and AIDS exposed me to the devastating effects of this disease on individuals, families, and communities. I encountered people from diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds and learned that concern, empathy, and a warm smile have a magical way of earning peoples' trust and making them comfortable when confiding their health concerns. My ability to connect with people and respond to their needs in a way that provided reassurance, support, and respect was extremely rewarding. I am hopeful that preventative approaches such as these have provided people with the skills necessary to protect themselves against the emotional and physical pain that accompanies an illness.

        Another area of medicine that I have explored is infectious disease research. As a Biology and Physiology major, I not only gained a solid foundation in the basic sciences, but also developed strong critical thinking skills. I sought opportunities that enhanced these skills. As an undergraduate, I became involved with a directed research project and studied virulence factors of E. coli strains isolated from canine fecal samples in order to test the hypothesis that dogs may serve as a reservoir of virulent E. coli strains that cause urinary tract infections in humans. I was also employed in a laboratory where I conducted a study comparing the in vitro inhibitory activity of different types of antibiotic coated catheters against susceptible and multidrug-resistant clinical bacterial isolates. Currently, I am working full-time as a junior scientist. My projects include a study examining the pathogenicity of bacterial strains isolated from supermarket food samples. In addition, I am studying the ancestry of virulence-associated genes in E. coli strains using PCR-based fingerprinting, gene specific PCR assays, and Dot Blot Probe techniques to target 29 different pathogenic factors. My research experiences have allowed me to become proficient in the scientific mode of inquiry and to attain valuable troubleshooting and technical skills.

        My other community services include volunteering as a Persian-English Translator where I have helped people communicate in settings ranging from hospitals to automotive dealerships. In addition, I have been involved with the YMCA Project Motivation program as a big buddy of an at-risk inner city child. Through these two activities, I have gained an understanding of how peoples' unique experiences have shaped their attitudes and perspectives. I realized that it is critical to take into account social and cultural influences when providing services and health care to varying population groups. During the last four years I have been employed at the New Student Programs Office at the University of Minnesota where I have held numerous positions ranging from orientating new students to hiring and training counselors to implement summer camps. These positions gave me the invaluable experience of working very closely with others in a group setting. I was put in situations working 18-hour days while living with the people I worked with and learned the importance of flexibility, open communication, and compromise. I also gained an appreciation for the unique style of group interaction and leadership of different individuals.

        I believe that I am an excellent candidate for your medical program, not only because of my experiences, but also because of my high level of passion and commitment. I am highly dedicated to all of the activities and organizations with which I am involved and to the goals that I have set for myself. Throughout the last five years I have worked to support myself through school, succeeded academically, and been actively involved in my community. I am confidant that I have the physical and emotional strength and self-discipline necessary to endure rigorous demands, such as preparing for and working in a medical career, because it was in extreme situations that I attained the most personal growth.

        Collectively my experiences have helped me perceive the human element of science. I enjoy working with people, and making a positive impact on the quality of peoples' lives gives me energy, motivation, and a sense of accomplishment. If given the opportunity, I believe I can make a significant contribution to the field of medicine.


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 49. Case Study

 50. IMRaD Science Report

 51. Magazine/Nwsltr. Article

 52. News Article/Release

 53. Story Writing

 54. Applying for Jobs

 55. Process/Instructions

 56. Professional Report

 57. Professional Proposal

 58. Recommendation Report


Related Chapters/Pages:

Details & Images

Creating Websites

Leading Writing Groups



 Related Links in

  16. Research Writing

  17. Citation & Documentation

  18. References & Resources

  19. Visual/Multimodal Design

  20. Major/Work Writing              


Updated 1 Aug. 2013

   also is at and

Natural URL:
Previous editions: Writing for School & Work, 1984-1998;, 1998-2012
6th Edition: 8-1-12, rev. 8-1-13.  Text, design, and photos copyright 2002-12 by R. Jewell or as noted
Permission is hereby granted for nonprofit educational copying and use without a written request.
Images courtesy of Barry's Clip Art, Clip Art Warehouse, The Clip Art Universe, Clipart Collection, MS Clip Art Gallery and Design Gallery Live, School Discovery, and Web Clip Art
Click here to contact the author: Richard Jewell.  Questions and suggestions are welcome.



















The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author.
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.