PhD Student Profiles
I received my B.A.s in English and Theatre from Dickinson College and my M.A. in Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse from DePaul University. Primarily, my research focuses on the globalization of English, multilingual speakers of English, and the role language plays in individual and group identity. I am also interested in writing center theory and pedagogy as well as the contributions of humanities research centers in the field of Rhetoric and Writing. My work as a graduate assistant in the Center for the Study of Rhetoric in Society (CSRS) allows me collaboratively to research and explore the role of language and rhetorical issues in social action and change.
I earned my Bachelor's in Literary Studies and my Master's in Rhetoric, Composition, and Technical Communication from Eastern Washington University. My current interests include genre theory, composition pedagogy, and the intersections between the two. Specifically, I'm interested in studying how genres work to help and to limit our communication practices and how writers work to navigate between and within different genres. I'm fascinated by the study of whether genre knowledge can transfer between different activity systems and whether genres can be effectively taught outside of activity systems. Specifically, I want to know whether the genres we ask students to write in freshman composition help them to master other genres within their own disciplines. I currently teach two sections of freshman composition with a disciplinary approach, meaning we study how writing is used in the students' own disciplines, and students are required to research how writing functions within their chosen field.
Cynthia Fields received her M.A. in Writing and Rhetoric from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research interests include narrative, creative nonfiction, cultural identity, the South, South Africa, tourism, museums, and Civil War battlefields. Her teaching interests include Writing Center work, first-year composition, and community writing projects. Fields sees rhetorical analysis as a means to develop usable knowledge about identity formation and community development that challenges dominant discourses.
I earned my MA in English from Virginia Tech in 2005 and have taught a wide variety of courses for the university, including composition and professional writing in the English Department and courses in rhetoric and communication for the university's interdisciplinary undergraduate program in Leadership and Social Change. I previously held an assistantship in the Center for the Study of Rhetoric in Society, where I collaboratively researched and wrote on issues of rhetoric, public policy, and social change, and helped develop Virginia Tech's new National Writing Project site. My current research examines the concept of reflexivity in the discourses of composition studies, community literacy studies, and critical pedagogy. I am interested in using these understandings of reflexivity to theorize the ways that feminist or activist research methodologies might shape writing pedagogy.
Before coming to Virginia Tech, I received my B.A. in Social Relations and my M.A. in Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing from Michigan State University. I am also proud to be an alumna of the AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer program. I am primarily interested in visual rhetoric and the rhetorical study of comics. My work asks the question: what are comics for? In order to theorize this, I use an arts-based methodology, as well as historiography, cultural rhetorical analysis, and remix. In other words, I make comics in order to better understand how they work and what they can do. I enjoy the challenge of navigating the space between the typical genres of humanities scholarship and those of the underground comics scene. Aside from comics, I am also interested in the relationship between composing in human languages and computer languages, disability studies, the canon of memory, and decolonial histories of rhetoric and writing.
I earned a BA in Russian Studies from the University of Maryland, an MBA from Loyola University in Maryland, and an MA in English from the University of West Florida. My research interests are directly related to my professional experience in the federal government, where I served as a program analyst in the U.S. Department of Justice and as a Foreign Service Officer in the State Department. I am interested in rhetorical representations of human rights and how these representations influence governments' human rights policies and practices as well as how governmental policies and practices influence global publics' understandings of human rights issues and priorities. I am also interested in how culturally specific modes of thought, rhetorical traditions, and communications paradigms influence representations of human rights. My specific research goal is to examine rhetorical representations of women's rights in the context of Iraq's constitution-drafting process.
I earned my B.S. in Electronic Media and Film Studies in 2006 and my M.A. in Written Communication in 2009, both from Eastern Michigan University. The intersection of media -- particularly new media -- and rhetoric has been a constant theme throughout my graduate studies. My current research interests are situated in multimodal composition, digital/visual rhetoric, and digital writing environments. Particularly, I am interested in the ways writers in digital environments negotiate modes of communication that converge with traditional texts. While my current research includes a rhetorical and ecological examination of digital video compositions in the writing classroom, I am also interested in public writing that takes place in digital spaces, particularly sportsmen forums. Additionally, I am currently the graduate assistant to the Director of Composition, and I teach courses in first-year composition at Virginia Tech.
I earned a B.A. in English at Mary Washington College and an M.A. in Professional Writing and Editing at George Mason University. My professional experience includes technical writing, editing, and proposal management primarily for Federal Government contracts in the Washington, D.C. area. My research interests include rhetorical theory and criticism of literary, public, and professional genres. Presently, I am examining how the moral, political, and other ideological messages of satire affect audiences and produce social change. I am currently a research assistant in the Center for the Study of Rhetoric in Society (CSRS), where I support projects that examine rhetoric in public contexts such as the environment, medicine, and the law. I contribute to grant writing efforts in support of this research as well. I am also currently a copy editor for Enculturation.
I earned my B.A. from the University of Southern Indiana and my MFA from Virginia Tech. Writ large, my research interests include new media, digital rhetoric, and the study of fan communities. I'm especially interested in Henry Jenkins' notions of participatory and convergence culture, and my current research projects explore the ways in which fans use complex composing practices as a means of cultural revision and resistance. Similarly, I'm also interested in the implications of our movement away from a print-based culture, and I'm exploring that question in a number of historical contexts--especially those of zines and comics. For more information, visit my website:www.timlockridge.com
I earned a B.A. in English and a Secondary Teaching Credential from Westmont College, and an M.A. in Rhetoric and Composition from Texas Christian University. My research interests are widespread, but include classical rhetoric, the history of rhetoric, Kenneth Burke, invitational rhetoric, genre theory, rhetorics of the body, and rhetorics related to athletics, specifically female athletes. I am particularly interested in the role of the body in the practice of rhetoric and how a bodily understanding of rhetoric might open up alternative sites of knowledge creation. While at Westmont I was also a track and field athlete, and my athletic experience continues to influence my teaching and research interests. In my non-academic life I enjoy sprinting, lifting weights, and riding horses.
My research interests include risk communication, crisis communication, and visual rhetoric. My dissertation will evaluate risk communication documents, interrogating the impact and usability of those documents for non-expert audiences. The technical writing courses that I teach reflect many of my research interests. Students assess ethical decision-making in their writing processes, as well as questions of usability and design. I also serve as the editor-in-chief for Public Knowledge, a graduate student journal that uses communication technologies to create a sustained, multidisciplinary conversation about issues affecting public groups. All of my current work is connected by a deep interest in how rhetoric and technical communication affect public groups, an interest that was shaped by my undergraduate programs in English and communication studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and my master's program in English (Technical and Professional Writing) at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
I earned a B.S. degree in Biology and a B.A. degree in English from The Ohio State University in 2004. I earned my M.A. in English from the University of Dayton in 2007. While at Virginia Tech I have taught courses in composition, technical writing, and cultural studies. I have also worked as an assistant to the writing center. My dissertation will focus on the rhetoric of institutionalized discourses, in particular those in the medicine, education, and social services, and how these rhetorics affect the lives of people with cognitive disabilities such as Down syndrome. My other research interests include genre theory, writing center theory and practice, writing across the curriculum, and workplace writing. I am interested in learning how language works, particularly in settings where power and agency are not shared equally among all speakers. I am also interested in helping others, through my teaching and research, to practice rhetorical awareness so that they can better assess and control the effects their words will have on others.
I earned M.A degree in Linguistics at the University of Louisville. I taught university-level Linguistics, EFL, and Communication for twelve years at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. During this time I also served as Deputy Supervisor General in the English Language Center and Director of the Human Resources. My research interests include Writing Centers tutoring approaches, Rhetoric and Communication for Leadership, Women and Leadership, Critical Theory focusing on religion and standpoint theory.
I received an M.A. in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Maryland in 2008. My research interests include visual rhetoric and discourse studies, both in the classroom and in extracurricular writing communities. My personal interest in comics has brought me to the study of dominant discourse and the rhetorical strategies employed by alternative discourse to challenge dominance through perspectival change. As a teacher of writing, I incorporate my research interests by introducing students to ever-broadening definitions of writing, literacy, and text. My current project includes research on the genre of comics journalism, photography theory, and the photodocumentary tradition, as well as myths and metanarratives of American culture.
Michelle M.H. Seref
I have a Ph.D. in Operations Management and a Masters and Bachelors of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering, all from the University of Florida. My transition to the humanities is motivated by my passion for communication and the relationship of language to social behavior, especially in miscommunication. My research interests are based on I.A. Richards' definition of rhetoric as "the study of misunderstanding and its remedies." I believe that every individual has a unique cultural identity (that is, a unique combination of various cultural identities) which influences their construction of meaning (and therefore their perception of meaning) and their language. Such cultural differences may be more obvious in international or interreligious communication. In these situations, a translator may be necessary to explain differences in both literal and figurative meanings in order to clarify or prevent misunderstandings. I am interested in studying inter-"cultural" communication in situations where "cultural" differences in language and behavior may not be so easily recognized. I therefore plan to focus my study on inter-disciplinary collaborations. I want to understand how members of an inter-disciplinary project, with varying disciplinary and personal cultures, communicate in their collaboration (negotiate differences, clarify misunderstandings, and work toward a common goal). My research is based on historical theories and current literature from the fields of rhetoric, communication, sociolinguistics, cultural studies, sociology, social psychology, and education. Although related work on misunderstanding and collaboration has been done in each of these areas, I believe there is an opportunity to combine these ideas in a new way to offer new insight to interdisciplinary communication, behavior, and language from a rhetorical lens. If you would like to know more about my research or discuss any related ideas, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website at https://filebox.vt.edu/users/mmhseref/.
I earned a B.A. in Journalism in 2001 and a M.A. in Professional & Technical Writing in 2008, both from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Before pursuing the Ph.D., I had various positions in both professional writing and higher education administration. I am now a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the VT Composition Program, and my current research interests revolve around professional and technical communication and visual rhetoric, specifically within the sphere of the university. I?m interested in the ways that universities create and maintain unique and highly detailed visual identities, the messages embedded in these identities, the genres through which they communicate these messages to their many publics, and how these visual identities relate to other textual and perceived identities of the university.
I earned a B.A. in English from Queens University of Charlotte and an M.A. in English from the University of Maine. My primary research interest is in visual rhetoric and communication, though that interest has branches paths: visual representation, visual-digital rhetoric, the visual rhetoric of science, and comics. I'm interested in the types of writing and communication that occur in digital communities, especially how technologies afford certain kinds of writing communities. Along those lines, I consistently return to blogs as a space for writing, social networking, and intertextuality. I am also currently working on a research project looking at the end users and designers of web templates.
I hold a Bachelor of Humanities and Arts degree in American History and Drama from Carnegie Mellon University, an MA in Humanities from Marymount University, and an MA in English from Georgetown University. I've worked for a long series of non-profits, a (losing) Presidential campaign, an evil defense contractor, and a for-profit university. As an instructor, I've taught first-year writing at four very different institutions. Freshmen are always interesting, man. As a scholar, I'm interested in rhetorics of resistance and defiance: how they work; how defiance differs from resistance; and how these rhetorics are used, by whom, and to what ends. At the moment, I'm playing with these questions in relation to two distinct discourses: the historiography of writing studies and K/S slash fiction. Performance theory - and my tumultuous relationship with it - informs much of my work, as do the theories and practice of improvisational acting. I'm a nascent historian at heart, and my interest in public history keeps kicking around in my thinking as well. Finally, I'm exploring what feels to me like an uneasy paradox: teaching the abstract concept of "audience" to my students while simultaneously being an audience - attentive, open, and wholly present - to my students' writing.
I received a B.A. in English from Ohio University and an M.A. in Creative Writing from Hollins College. My work experience includes non-profit grant writing, policy research, and university level proposal development. My research interests at the moment are wide open although I have interests in the rhetoric of science and how interdisciplinary languages and discussions are formed. I am also interested in exploring the border between creative writing and composition and how the lyric relates to the available means of persuasion.