woman in blue blazer

Erin Schaefer

Ph.D. Student
Office: Bessey 280
Email: erinschaefer9@gmail.com
Website: www.erinschaefer.net

Research Areas

Emotion, Identity, Interpersonal Communication, Mindfulness, Digital Rhetoric, Interdisciplinary Teaching, Neuroscience, Embodied Rhetorics, Psychology, Community Psychology, Neurofeedback, Professional Writing


I am a fourth-year Ph.D student with a concentration in Digital Rhetoric & Professional Writing. I am interested in how narratives interact with emotion, identity, prejudice, and interpersonal communication. I study how these elements intersect in the public, the classroom, and digital settings. My goal in my research is often focused on the transformation of narratives through students’ inter- and intrapersonal communication and habits of attention. In other words, I believe that students’ way of relating to themselves (including their bodies) and others can transform core narratives to be more complex and open. Ideally, students will craft narratives that recognize the complexity of their own identities, while cultivating a desire to understand and empathize with the narratives of others. I see the transformation of narratives as inseparable from the transformation of people’s relationality, their ways of relating to other people and to the environment. I explore how mindfulness and interpersonal communication skills can support these processes. 

I consider myself an interdisciplinary scholar, exploring the intersections of rhetoric and writing with psychology, community psychology, communication studies, and neuroscience. Most recently, I have been exploring both the rhetoric of the neuroscience and the neuroscience of rhetoric (as Jack and Appelbaum have described it). I’ve focused on popular discourses on the brain, interrogating how the general public forms  understandings of identity and relationships with others. To do this, I’m focusing on neurofeedback discourses, as people’s use of this technology can involve both reductive and complex conceptions of self and society.


M.A. in Rhetoric and Writing, St. Cloud State University
M.S. in Information Media, St. Cloud State University

Representative Work

Schaefer, E. E. (in press). Using neurofeedback and mindfulness pedagogies to teach open listening. Computers and Composition. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compcom.2018.07.002.

Cundiff, Bailey, Leah Heilig, Erica Lange, and Erin Schaefer. “Publics/Counterpublics: Rhetorical Interventions to Oppressive Taxonomies in Health and Medicine.” RSA. Minneapolis, MN. June 1, 2018.

Schaefer, Erin. “Technological Tools for Research, Narrative, and Identity in the Classroom.” Teaching and Technology Seminar for MSU James Madison College Faculty. East Lansing, MI. March 24, 2017.  

Chaterdon, Kate, Yasmín Navarrete, and Erin Schaefer. “Contemplating Disciplinary Boundaries: Interdisciplinarity and Contemplative Practice.” CCCC. Portland, Oregon. March 17, 2017.

Schaefer, Erin. “Biofeedback Wires in the Composition Classroom: Evaluating Potential Uses and Contributions.” Computers and Writing Conference. Rochester, New York. May 20, 2016.

Schaefer, Erin. “Video Literacy Narrative Assignment: Discovering and Transforming Emotion and Prejudice.” CCCC. Houston, Texas. April 9, 2016.

Schaefer, Erin. “Imposter Syndrome: Responding to Internal and External Challenges to Our Identities as Teachers.” Minnesota Writing and English Annual Conference. Inver Hills Community College. Inver Grove Heights, MN. March 26 – 27, 2014. 

Sample Courses Taught

ENGL 232: Writing as Exploration

WRA 202: Introduction to Professional Writing

Academic or Research Affiliations

Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Teaching Fellow

University Distinguished Fellow