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Dawn Opel

Adjunct Assistant Professor
Director, Research & Strategic Initiatives, Food Bank Council of Michigan

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Research Areas

Digital Humanities, Experience Architecture, Participatory Culture, Disaster Communication


Dawn is an affiliate faculty member with WRAC and the MSU College of Law. She now directs the research agenda for the Food Bank Council of Michigan, the trade association representing the network of Feeding America food banks across Michigan. Her work focuses on improving food security for Michiganders through research and evidence-based public policy. Her current research to improve patient health outcomes through a food-as-medicine clinical intervention is funded by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.


PhD, Rhetoric, Composition, and Linguistics, Arizona State University (2015)

JD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law (2002)

BA, History, Wake Forest University (1999)

Representative Work

Rodriguez, E., & Opel, D. (2020). Addressing the social determinants of health: ‘Vulnerable’ populations and the presentation of Healthy People 2020. POROI: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Rhetorical Analysis & Invention, 15(1).

Novotny, M., & Opel, D. (2020). Situating care as feminist rhetorical action in two community-engaged health projects. Peitho: Journal of the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric & Composition, 22(1).

Opel, D. (2019). Improving technology-driven patient care coordination: Toward a techne for community-based organization involvement. World Medical & Health Policy, 11(4).

Opel, D., & Monberg, J. (2019). Mapping the network of the clinical trial: A toolkit for health equity activism. Enculturation: A Journal of Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture, 29.

Opel, D., and Simeone, M. (2019). The invisible work of the digital humanities lab: Preparing graduate students for emergent intellectual and professional work. Digital Humanities Quarterly, 13(2).

Opel, D. & Hart-Davidson, W. (2019). The primary care clinic as writing space. Written Communication, 36(3), 348-378.

Selected Courses Taught

WRA 878: Composition Studies: Issues, Theory, and Research
WRA 491: Medical Rhetoric and Science Writing
XA 333/AL 333: Researching Experience
WRA 331: Writing in the Public Interest

Research or Academic Affiliations

Affiliate Faculty, College of Law

Member, Board of Directors, Coalition for Community Writing