Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
Lauren Brentnell
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Lauren Brentnell

PhD Student, ABD

Office: 301 Bessey Hall

Email: lauren.brentnell@gmail.com

Twitter: @RhetoricNSpice

Research Areas

trauma studies, writing program administration, cultural rhetorics, digital rhetorics


I am a fourth-year PhD student in cultural rhetorics. In my disseration, "Responding to Sexual Violence Through Care-Based Practices in Writing Programs," I evaluate departmental responses to sexual violence at MSU and make suggestions for how writing programs can incorporate trauma-informed, care-based practices in our research, teaching, and administrative work. Other projects I have been involved with include the Corpus and Repository of Writing (Crow), the Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative (DRC), and Writing in Digital Environments (WIDE). I am currently the editorial assistant for constellations: a cultural rhetorics publishing space.


The University of Oklahoma | M.A. in English (2015) | Area of Concentration: Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy
The University of Oklahoma | B.A. in English (2012) | Honors: Summa cum laude
The University of Oklahoma | B.A. in Political Science (2012) | Honors: with Distinction
The University of Oklahoma | Additional Major in Psychology (2012) | Minor: French

Representative Work


Brentnell, Lauren. “Living Oklahoma: A Memoir About Trauma and Rebuilding in Academia.” Intermezzo. 2018. Forthcoming.

Baldwin, Dianna, Lauren Brentnell, Elise Dixon, Jerrice Donelson, Kate Firestone, and Rachel Robinson. “Big Happy Family: Constellating Writing Center Stories.” Special issue on Writing Centers and Relationality in The Peer Review. 2018. Forthcoming.

Gonzales, Laura, Liza Potts, Heather Turner, and Lauren Brentnell. “Working with Ladies that UX: Building Academic/Industry Partnerships for User Research Projects.” ACM SIGDOC. 2017.

Lauren, Ben, Stacey Pigg, Lauren Brentnell, Howard Fooksman, and Kristen Mapes. “Investigating a Common Trope in Technical Communication: Are Academics and Practitioners Researching in Different Communication Design Spheres.” ACM SIGDOC. 2016.

Selected Presentations

Brentnell, Lauren, Everardo Cuevas, Elise Dixon, and Wil Flores. “Queer Eye for the Theory Guy: Storying Queerness through Debate.” Cultural Rhetorics Conference. November 2019.

Brentnell, Lauren. “Responding to Sexual Violence Through Care-Based Practices in Writing Programs.” Thomas R. Watson Conference. October 2018.

Brentnell, Lauren. “Remixing the Self, Collaging Trauma.” Popular Culture Association. 28 March 2018.
Brentnell, Lauren, Elise Dixon, and Rachel Robinson. “#ShameSpiral: Vulnerability in Writing Center Work.” East Central Writing Center Association. 25 March 2018.

Brentnell, Lauren. “Trauma and Queer Excess: Practicing Research as an Embodiment of Care.” Conference on College Composition and Communication. 17 March 2018.

Brentnell, Lauren and Kate Firestone. “Re/Visioning Protest as Cultural and Academic Practice.” Feminisms and Rhetorics. October 2017.

Brentnell, Lauren, Tania deSostoa-McCue, and Elise Dixon. “Bisexual Ephemera and the Queer Archives: Vignettes of Destabilizing Identities.” Queer Conversations. April 2017.

Brentnell, Lauren. “Mentorship Across the University: Facilitating Interdisciplinary Pedagogy.” Thomas R. Watson Conference. 20-22 October 2016.

Brentnell, Lauren and Evin Groundwater. “A Delicate Balancing Act: Graduate Student Assistants in the First-Year Composition Office.” Thomas R. Watson Conference. 17 October 2014.

Sample Courses Taught

WRA 150: The Evolution of American Thought  (Fall 2015, Spring 2016)

Awards and Recognitions

Dissertation Completion Fellowship (Spring 2019)
Digital Publishing Lab Research Fellowship (Spring 2018)
Sweetland Fellowship, Digital Rhetoric Collaborative (2017-2018)
Inside Teaching Fellowship (2016)

Research or Academic Affiliations

Constellations: a cultural rhetorics publishing space
Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative (DRC)
Corpus and Repository of Writing (Crow)
Writing in Digital Environments (WIDE)