This thesis explores the potential applications for 3rd generation activity theory in writing studio spaces, using the Undergrad Research and Writing Studio at Oregon State University as a focal point. David R. Russell, Nedra Reynolds, and Deborah Brandt have all investigated systemic and communal elements in student writing processes, while Cydney Alexis and Hannah J. Rule have focused on the material culture of writing as the context that foregrounds student writing habits. The asymmetrical exigencies of that material culture of writing can provide the data-rich empirical ground for investigation that Pamela Takayoshi speculates about, especially when this culture of writing is examined with particular focus on the public spaces in which students undertake academic writing tasks. The Undergrad Research and Writing Studio, at Oregon State University, is one such public writing space. Activity theory is a valuable lens for such an investigation; using Clay Spinuzzi’s “pulse” can help to articulate the human burden, for students, of navigating the gap between expectations of writing and resources of space.