The Masters program in Applied Language Studies played a pivotal role in launching my academic career, and represents a positive turning point in my life. I came to Carleton from Detroit after finishing my Masters in Education, hoping to build a theoretical knowledge base to support my experiences as a writing instructor. During my two years in the program, my general interest in written communication blossomed into very specific goals for research and pedagogy. The classes were compelling and challenging, encouraging me to reflect on my own knowledge and assumptions. I began to conceptualize and re-conceptualize writing in new and interesting ways, expanding my notion of what it means to write. The ALS faculty were simply wonderful – knowledgeable, accessible, and unequivocally supportive. Even now, years after completing the program, they continue to advise me, both personally and professionally. With their help, I developed the confidence to join professional conversations, presenting at international conferences and submitting work for publication. Through the ALS program, I became a more effective instructor and researcher, a teacher-scholar for whom theory and practice directly inform one another. Within weeks of my graduation, I landed a full-time position at a university writing centre. Today, I move towards completion of a Ph.D. in Literacy, Rhetoric, and Social Practice at Kent State University. I can honestly say that I found my direction through the Applied Language Studies program; it was, for me, a formative experience.