My research poses questions about technology, writing, and public discourse that are increasingly relevant to rhetorical education in the 21st century. I have been awarded UMass Amherst’s Walker Gibson Prize for the best graduate essay on a topic in Rhetoric and Composition, the Rhetoric Society of America's Michael Leff Award, the Conference on College Composition and Communication's Chairs' Memorial Scholarship, and the Rhetoric Society of America's Gerard Hauser Award for the best paper presented by a graduate student at its biennial conference. Last year, I produced a piece of digital scholarship that was published in Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy. In addition, an early version of one of my case studies was published in a collection titled Methodologies for the Rhetoric of Health and Medicine (edited by Lisa Meloncon and J. Blake Scott, Routledge). I recently co-authored a piece with Matt Barton that considers the shifting landscape of the digital public sphere and its implications for the writing classroom (under review).
In my dissertation, I argue that an “infrastructural” model of public discourse lays the groundwork for writing pedagogies that engage students in meaningful reflection about the communicative dynamics of the digital landscape. Through two cases studies—one focusing on “old media” (the turn-of-the-century public lectures of sex educator Emma Elizabeth Walker) and one focusing on “new media” (the viral #blacklivesmatter rhetoric of spoken word poet Alexander Gray)—I develop the concept of rhetorical investment. I argue that this concept helps attune teacher-scholars to the ways that individual rhetors contribute to the building and maintenance of our rapidly changing digital public sphere.