This is part one of a two-part feature about the 2012 R&W PHD cohort.
Les Loncharich’s passion for drawing has been an incredible influence on his writing, teaching, and research as a PHD student, and he describes drawing as, “an important part of my life; it seems as though there has never been a time when I wasn’t interested in making marks on surfaces.” Loncharich’s dissertation reflects his interest in “everyday practices and the visual artifacts produced [by them].” His study is focused on understanding how social action is expressed visually and analyzing visual artifacts as tools for identity building, group formation, and problem solving. Loncharich says, “In my dissertation, I look at what people do and the things people make, and I consider the intersection of visual knowledge and semantic meaning in everyday, visual things.” As he continues to finish his dissertation, Loncharich has applied to 60 jobs so far, and that’s just the beginning. He hopes that he will find an opportunity where he can implement “the unique training I received at MSU” and apply his passion for and interest in digital humanities and visual rhetoric.
Daisy Levy describes her dissertation, This Book Called My Body: An Embodied Rhetoric as, “a methodologically diverse project, locating the literal body in Rhetoric Studies.” It synthesizes her interest and experiences with dance, movement education, and writing,. In it, she details how the body is not only important as the main element of dance and movement education but is also crucial to the “articulation of meaning.” She seeks to demonstrate through her own experiences and research that the body and its expression is a source of knowledge that is much more complex than a rhetorical “text” to be analyzed. Levy has applied to about 35 jobs so far and hopes to find a position that appreciates “the interdisciplinary nature of my work – that I’m familiar with Rhetoric Studies, Writing Pedagogy, but also Performance Studies, [and] Cultural Studies/Theory.” Even though Levy has just begun the job application process, she describes what she’s learned so far: “the sooner and smoother you can transition how you think of yourself (as a colleague, rather than as a graduate student) the better.”
Matt Cox has spent his graduate school research focusing on how “rhetorical practices (such as storytelling) help us negotiate and form identity(ies),” which calls for new understandings about “identity-builiding practices in the workplace.” His research focuses mainly on LGBTQ professional identities and seeks to answer the overall question: is queer identity being professionalized or is professional identity being queered? Based on this question, Cox intends to analyze the rhetorical definitions and contexts of the term professional and how this impacts LGBTQ professionals in the workplace. This interest and experience has led Cox to apply to many academic job positions, focusing on jobs he can truly be passionate about . He says the key to a successful job search “has been about organization and chipping away a little at a time.” He concludes, “Being a successful academic isn’t really about being smart — we’re all smart or we wouldn’t be [in academia] — it’s about being the kind of colleague that can contribute [to a team of professionals].”