WRAC Welcomes New Students to the Rhetoric and Writing Graduate Program!

In Fall 2020, WRAC is welcoming seven new PhD students and eight new MA students. Each of our new colleagues bring a stellar range of experiences, credentials, and scholarly interests, and we are fortunate to have the opportunity to work with them in the coming semesters and years.

New PhD Students

Roland Dumavor (He/His/Him) is a first-generation international student from Ghana, West Africa. He earned his BA in English and Psychology (as a combined major) from University of Ghana, Legon-Accra. His passion in teaching and research work influenced his decision to go for his graduate education in English – Writing, Rhetoric and Social Change. Before his graduate studies, he taught at high school level in Ghana for six years. Though he was a college composition GTA at Colorado State University, he engaged in a community literacy program which focused on creating space for the voices of underserved populations and empowering them through literacy. Specifically, he worked as a writing workshop facilitator in a county jail in Fort Collins for two semesters. While he hopes to continue to explore his interest in social justice and community literacy, he has interest in other research areas. These areas include Indigenous rhetoric (more specifically African rhetoric), Inter/cultural rhetoric, Decolonial rhetoric, Multimodal writing and rhetoric, and Writing Across Curriculum. Besides reading and writing which are his default hobbies, he cools off a hectic day by listening to pure country music, gospel music or reggae music.

Keaton Kirkpatrick (he/him/his) began his college education studying English at Lassen Community College in Susanville, CA. After graduating, he transferred to California State University, Chico and earned his BA in English Studies and MA in English (Language and Literacy). Primarily, Keaton is interested in researching undergraduate student support. His master’s thesis, titled “Understanding Embedded Mentoring,” examined a model of undergraduate support that placed experienced students in first-year writing classrooms to offer mentorship, which gave first-year students support that is rarely embedded into courses. While he wants to continue studying embedded models of student support, he is also interested in digital literacies and rhetoric, community literacies, and writing across the curriculum. Apart from academics, Keaton enjoys spending time with his wife, talking to his family and friends, practicing digital art, watching TV series, playing games, and (occasionally) trying new things.

Bethany Meadows [she/her(s)] earned her BA in English and BSEd in Integrated Language Arts Education (grades 7-12) from Ashland University. Recently, she finished her MA in Rhetoric and Composition from Ball State University. For the past few years, she’s been reading, writing, and researching three main realms: sexual assault rhetoric, trauma-informed teaching & tutoring, and writing centers. For instance, her MA thesis examined various universities’ student handbooks, specifically analyzing their sexual misconduct and violence policies for if they perpetuated and/or subverted rape culture. Outside of academic work, Bethany’s an avid hockey fan, particularly of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets as she is originally from Columbus, Ohio. Additionally, when there’s not a pandemic, she enjoys finding and attending live music performances and concerts. She looks forward to joining the MSU community, WRAC, and the Writing Center at MSU this fall.

Ruben “Ruby” Mendoza (they/them) is a first-year doctoral candidate studying queer, trans, and feminist rhetoric, as well as Writing Program Administration. Ruby, a California native, earned their BA at California State University, Chico in English Studies and recently completed their MA at San Diego State University in Rhetoric and Writing Studies, specializing in the teaching of writing. Although they have taught first-year writing and worked as an Associate Director of Lower Division Writing, Ruby’s thesis centered on queer rhetoric. They examined Hollow Eve, apoststructuralist gender non-conforming drag performer who defies RuPaul’s assumption about traditional drag through live and digitized spaces. To examine this digital/virtual archived performance, Ruby utilized José Esteban Muñoz’s theory on disidentification to extend and complicate how a minoritarian community disempowers subcultures within their own community. Additionally, they discussed Hollow Eve’s queering of drag culture by disrupting heteronormative spaces through Karlyn Kohrs Campbell’s idea on performative agency. Ruby is excited to continue working in these areas of studies at MSU’s WRAC department and to produce scholarship that focuses on queering systems of oppression: heteronormativity and white supremacy. Outside of academia, Ruby listens to Mariah Carey (obsessed fan) almost every day, reads queer texts, and watches Netflix on the regular while simultaneously eating pizza.  

Jeanetta Mohlke-Hill (she/her/hers) earned her BA from the University of Toledo in Women’s and Gender Studies and MA from Bowling Green State University in Spanish. Influenced by her foundation in feminist praxis and translingual pedagogies, her work explores the rhetorical practices of marginalized communities and the way they resist and dismantle dominant cultural discourse and systems of power. Her master’s capstone explores the transformative discourse in protest graffiti that emerged in Oaxaca, Mexico after the teachers’ strikes in 2006 and continues to flourish in the city streets today. Furthermore, she seeks to use her scholarship to create spaces and facilitate opportunities for students to experience the power of crafting their voices and narratives for both personal and social liberation. During her doctoral studies, Jeanetta hopes to explore the intersections between social justice work and pedagogy in the classroom and help students do the same. Before beginning her path in Rhetoric & Writing, she was a college Spanish instructor, an advocate for the children of migrant farmworkers in Kentucky public schools, and a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay. In her free time, Jeanetta enjoys going to see live music, half-completing quilting projects, caring for her plants, traveling, and hiking remote trails.

Claire Oldham (she/her/hers) earned both her BA in English and her MA in Technical Communication from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Claire is interested mainly in researching Cultural Rhetorics as it manifests itself in the art, practice, and analysis of storytelling. She was first introduced to cultural rhetorics by studying maps (i.e. the relationship between rhetorical creation, story, place, artistic expression, color symbolism, and cultural identity) when she wrote a seminar paper about hand painted, customizable maps during the first year of her master’s degree. She taught First Year Writing at Texas Tech during her master’s degree as well and was very inspired by first year students – she looks forward to teaching First Year Writing at Michigan State. During her BA, Claire was very interested in intercultural communication education due to the three years she lived in Belize when she was in high school. Besides the brief stint of living out of the country, Claire has lived her entire life in Texas so for her Michigan is definitely a new experience, but learning about new places and meeting new people are some of her favorite things to do! Claire also likes music, art, and all different types of food. She collects maps and is currently learning how to sew.

Teresa Williams (they/them) is a 1st year PhD student here in WRAC. They received their BA in Writing from Grand Valley State University and recently finished their MA (also here in WRAC) in Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing. Currently, they have been reading about information design, multimodal consultations in writing centers, teaching professional writing, and genre theory. Their research interests also include writing with technology and experience architecture. Teresa is excited to continue studying and teaching in WRAC and working at the Writing Center @ MSU.

New MA Students

Adriana Aviles

Cadaxa Chapman Ball (she/her/hers) just graduated from the University of Oregon with a BA in English. She is excited to work at the MSU Writing Center this fall, and she hopes her experience working at the UO Writing Center will be useful. From her previous work, Cadaxa developed an interest in inclusive writing pedagogy and dedicated her undergraduate thesis to researching it. Currently, she has a broad range of research interests, including critical writing pedagogy, queer theory, critical race theory, feminist theory, disability studies, and affect theory. Her goal is to develop an approach to teaching writing which deconstructs and dismantles oppressive systems in an effort to serve the voices of all students, especially those with marginalized identities. Cadaxa has always prioritized social justice in her life, leading her to become an avid reader of progressive literature and philosophy. She spends her free time watching two-hour-long video essays about political philosophy and social issues, and she often tries to convince her friends and family to watch them too, much to their dismay.

Mitch Carr (he/him/his) is a first year Masters student studying Critical Studies in Literacy and Pedagogy. Carr is no stranger to Michigan State University as he earned his Bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing in spring 2020. He works as a Graduate Lab Lead at the Digital Humanities and Literary Cognition (DHLC) Lab at MSU, and his research interests are interdisciplinary, colliding the humanities and the cognitive sciences. By doing this type of research he hopes to understand the way people indulge in humanities. He has shared the lab’s findings at a variety of undergraduate research conferences, and internationally at the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO) in a virtual research conference. In his spare time, Mitch enjoys outdoor activities and spending time in nature. His own creative projects question the ideologies of normality and attempt to mainstream stories that deserve a voice. His short story, “Lambda,” is forthcoming in a local publication, the Reo Town Reading Anthology.  

Sarah Hamilton (she/her/hers) graduated in 2017 from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids with a BA in English literature. Sarah will be studying in the CSLP program and working as the operations manager at the writing center this year. She looks very quaint and innocent, but she’s actually waiting to pick a fight about grammatical prescriptivism or Robert Frost poems. Though these days her time is often consumed with raising her two girls, she also loves exploring Lansing (preferably by CATA bus) and learning about its history, residents, architecture, communities, and vision. She hopes to carry this passion over into her work and studies at MSU. The end goal is to invest the knowledge she gains at MSU in Lansing’s communities and elevate the voices of the city’s residents. Her other academic interests include cultural rhetorics, library sciences, sustainability, Rasputin, and personal narratives. 

Emma (EJ) Harris (she/her/hers) joins the MSU WRAC community after earning her BA in English: Professional and Public Writing from Auburn University. She is an avid reader, runner, swing dancer, and knitter and loves any chance to get outside. Her first WC bio at Auburn was “equal parts Rory Gilmore, Hermione Granger, and cookie dough ice cream,” and she believes that stands to this day. At MSU, she will be a part of the Critical Studies in Literacy and Pedagogy MA program and working as The Writing Center graduate coordinator for STAF (Strategies & Tools for Teaching Across Fields). Her research interests include prison pedagogy, adult education, writing across the curriculum, and writing centers as sites for social engagement. She’s looking forward to being included in a community that values inclusivity and accessibility both within and beyond our program and sees MSU as an incredible place to gain more tools to empower students’ lifelong learning and agency.

Emily Kayden (she/her) earned her BA in New Media Studies and Communication from Alma College. She has also earned her Certificate of Achievement in Technical Writing from Delta College. At Alma, she participated in the concert and jazz bands as a trumpet player and competed for their Varsity Swim and Dive team. As an undergraduate student, her studies focused on media and communication theory, interactive media, technical writing, communication and disability, as well as the affordances of computer-mediated channels of communication (CMCs). Additionally, her honors thesis in Communication examined the impact of CMCs on young-adult romantic relationships. Emily plans to study and incorporate these same topics during her time in the DRPW program. In her free time, Emily enjoys spending time with her dog, Finnegan, as well as crafting, reading, and riding her bike.

Julia Ludovici (she/her/hers) is an incoming first year MA student in Critical Studies in Literacy and Pedagogy, and a Graduate Coordinator at the Writing Center. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2019 with majors in Writing & Rhetoric and Political Science, and a minor in Spanish. Although her future research interests are still quite broad, she is generally interested in delving into queer studies, embodiment, and multilingualism in writing studies. Her favorite undergraduate projects focused on professional communication, feminist theory, digital political discourse, and political participation among young women in Chile. She also has professional experience in digital content creation & social media management, secondary and middle school education, and writing program administration. In her free time, Julia loves cooking, hiking, road-tripping, watching police procedurals, and listening to folk music & true crime podcasts.

Imari Cheyne Tetu (she/her), a first-generation college student, earned her associate degree from Kirtland Community College in 2017 and graduated from Saginaw Valley State University in 2020 with her BA in Professional and Technical Writing. Imari’s involvement with the Center for Experience Research and Design at SVSU sparked her interest in usability studies. As a creative writing workshop leader and private consultant at the SVSU Community Writing Center, Imari developed an interest in community narratives and the politics of literacy and writing style. An active outdoorswoman in her limited free time, Imari enjoys kayaking, bicycling, and practicing dressage.