MA Graduate Committee Candidates

Sidney Turner, Florida State University

A picture of candidate Sidney Turner
My name is Sidney Turner and I am a first year MA student studying Rhetoric and Composition at Florida State University. I plan on pursuing a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition after completing my Masters. My research interests include visual rhetoric, identity and archival studies. I have been tutoring since I was an undergraduate student at FSU, and within this role I realized that I enjoy working with students and helping them grow as writers and thinkers. I recently presented at SWCA on writing center research regarding student-athlete identity in academia. As an English Graduate TA I have had the opportunity to tutor in the FSU Reading Writing Center, develop my own syllabi, create class activities, and gain exposure to the workings of a writing program from the perspective of an active member of the instructing team. I am currently teaching for the first time this semester. Teaching my own section of ENC2135 Genre, Research and Context has solidified my theory that I would love being an instructor, and I am thrilled to be developing my teaching persona. Read Sidney Turner’s application responses here.

PhD Candidates (Can Serve 2+ Years)

Megan J. Busch, University of South Carolina

A photo of candidate Megan Busch
Megan J. Busch is a composition and rhetoric PhD candidate at the University of South Carolina studying the intersections of Southern dialect, business communications, and writing pedagogy (both digital and traditional). Theoretically rooted in translingualism, her research navigates the contact zone of Southern language varieties and Standard American English in the composition classroom and in the practice of business writing and communications. Busch had the honor of presenting facets of her overall research at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Convention in 2018 and at the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) in 2019. Before pursuing her PhD, Busch earned her MA in English at College of Charleston, and she served as a professional writer for eight years in publishing and advertising. Other academic interests include digital curriculum development, document design, and the rhetoric of marketing communications. Read Megan Busch’s application responses here.

Claire Jackson, University of Louisville

A photo of candidate Clare Jackson.
Claire Jackson is a second-year PhD Student in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Louisville. Her research interests include writing program administration, teacher development, writing assessment and pedagogy, and transfer. Before beginning her PhD, Claire was a high school teacher in rural Maine, an experience that led her to realize how institutional structures constrain what is possible in writing pedagogy and assessment, which led to a commitment to developing more equitable writing programs. When not working, she spends most of her time spoiling her elderly cat. Read Claire Jackson’s application responses here.

Gabrielle Kelenyi, University of Wisconsin-Madison

A photo of candidate Gabby Kelenyi.
Gabrielle (Gabbi) Kelenyi is a PhD student in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Composition & Rhetoric Program. Until recently, Gabbi served as a 9th Grade Composition Teacher and a Class of 2018 Advisor at a charter school in Chicago, where she enjoyed coaching the school’s Cross Country and Track teams and sponsoring a variety of after-school clubs. She concurrently earned her MA in Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education. Before becoming an educator, Gabbi earned her BA in English and Spanish at Pomona College in Claremont, California, and participated in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program as an English Teaching Assistant at a private university in Panama City, Panama. Gabbi is interested in writing program administration, writing development across the lifespan, and researching best practices for teaching writing effectively at all grade levels. She enjoys reading and writing, running long(ish) distances, exploring new places, and cooking (and eating) delicious meals! Read Gabrielle Kelenyi’s application responses here.

Roberto S. Leon, University of Maryland College Park

A picture of candidate Roberto Leon.

Roberto is a Ph.D. student in the Language, Writing, and Rhetoric program at the University of Maryland College Park. He has previously taught in Hawai’i and Utah, and has experience in online and blended writing instruction. His interests include history of rhetoric, professional/technical writing, second language writing, and writing program administration. Read Roberto S. Leon’s application responses here. Read Robert S. Leon’s application responses here.

Heather Listhartke, Miami University

A photo of candidate Heather Listhartke.
Hi, I’m Heather Listhartke. I’m a first year PhD at Miami University in the Rhetoric and Composition concentration. I have interested in digital literacy and composition, classical rhetoric, access and user experience, and cultural rhetorics. I also have interest in pedagogy and WPA with a focus on curriculum development that addresses WAC/WID principles and writing. My final interest is related to my intersectional identity as a single mother academic and how it relates to the overall narrative of the rhetorics of motherhood. I’ve served on the WPA-GO sub committees for two years and see this as a natural progression of professionalization and role for participating and advancing the community for graduate students as a whole. Read Heather Listhartke’s application responses here.

Laura Hardin Marshall, Saint Louis University

A photo of candidate Laura Hardin Marshall

Laura Hardin Marshall is a PhD student in Rhetoric and Composition at Saint Louis University. She received her Master’s degree from the University of Oxford in English Language and Literature, after which she accumulated experiences at various universities and community colleges in her area. During that time, she taught developmental writing, first-year composition, and entry-level literature courses as well as collaborating one-on-one with students (face-to-face and online) at different writing centers and online writing centers. It was through such work that she began asking questions and exploring research on responding to student writing and feedback uptake, which ultimately led to her desire to continue her education in the ways students develop as writers and how writing programs and support services like writing centers facilitate that development. Read Laura Hardin Marshall’s application responses here.

Morgan McDougall, Bowling Green State University

A photo of candidate Moran McDougall
My name is Morgan McDougall and I am a first-year Ph.D. Student studying Rhetoric and Writing at Bowling Green State University. I also hold a B.S. in Education and an M.A. in English. I came to the field after teaching my first composition class in 2016 and discovered that teaching writing and working within a writing program are exactly where I am meant to be. After spending one year teaching composition, I have spent two years as a graduate mentor to new instructors within the writing program. I also sit on multiple committees: reviewing student writing for our undergraduate journal, WRIT, and coordinating our Undergraduate Writing Showcase. My research interests include writing program administration, writing transfer, and dual-credit participation in composition courses. My most recent article, “Expanding Horizons: Teaching Native American Multicultural Literature in the Secondary Language Arts Classroom” is published in the Virginia English Journal’s Winter 2019 issue. Read Morgan McDougall’s application responses here.

Amanda Rose Pratt, University of Wisconsin-Madison

A photo of candidate Amanda Rose Pratt.
Amanda Rose Pratt is a second year PhD student in English with a concentration in Composition and Rhetoric and a minor in Science and Technology Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She previously completed a Bachelor’s in Writing and Physical Geography at SUNY Buffalo College and a Master’s in Writing at the University of Nevada, Reno. She has been interested in WPA work since beginning graduate school, and held the position of the first Master’s Student Representative for WPA-GO from 2014-2016. In that role, she represented the unique concerns of master’s students on the Diversity and Outreach Subcommittee, and helped to develop infrastructure for master’s students on the Resources Task Force. In addition to writing program administration, Amanda’s research interests include: antiracism; assessment; contemplative pedagogy; community engagement; nonwestern and comparative rhetorics; rhetorics of science, health, and medicine; and environmental rhetorics. In the fall, she will begin a two year position as the Assistant Director of English 100 at UW–Madison. Read Amanda Rose Pratt’s application responses here.

Derek Sherman, Purdue University

A photo of candidate Derek Sherman.
Derek Sherman is a third-year PhD student at Purdue University who studies assessment, composition pedagogy, writing across the curriculum, writing program administration, and institutional critique. Specifically, he studies how institutional status impacts writing programs and their missions. In a current project, Derek has researched how the inclusion of intersectional research methods and pedagogy collide with his institution’s status and mission. Questions, however, pertaining to institutions outside R1s are still numerous. Additionally, Derek currently serves as the assessment research coordinator for Introductory Composition at Purdue (ICaP) and as a graduate research assistant with Purdue’s Polytechnic Institute. He will become assistant director of assessment in ICaP in Fall 2019. Besides his nerdy research agenda, Derek enjoys playing video games, reading young adult literature—a habit from his high school teaching days—and, weirdly enough, putting furniture together. Read Derek Sherman’s application responses here.

Brian Urias, Bowling Green State University

A photo of candidate Brian Urias.
After five years teaching English in South Korea, I returned to the United States and resumed teaching college writing—work I highly enjoyed while earning the MA I received just before going overseas. The work I did as an adjunct instructor, which included rewriting the course shell for online sections of first-year writing, prompted me toward doctoral studies for improving my own pedagogy and making worthwhile contributions to writing studies and instruction. My research interests are in online writing instruction, writing transfer, and writing program administration. Though I put artificial bounds around those three, I love learning from my colleagues about feminist rhetorics, assessment, language variation, popular culture, and much more. My interests outside of academia include playing board games, reading fantasy novels and comic books, jamming on my bass guitar, and giggling. Read Brian Urias’ application responses here.

Megan Von Bergen, University of Tennessee-Knoxville

A photo of candidate Megan Von Bergen
I am currently a PhD student in Rhetoric, Writing, and Linguistics at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. WPA work is one of my core research areas; last fall, I co-wrote a report on the value of mission statements in establishing writing program identity, and I am currently researching pedagogical responses to religious writing in first-year composition.  Prior to my doctoral work, I earned my MA (English Literature) from Kansas State University in 2010, then spent seven years as sole writing faculty and de facto WPA at Emmaus Bible College in Iowa. There, many of my students were evangelical, though I am not. When I rewrote the first-year writing curriculum to bring it up-to-date with best practices in the field, I also designed assignments to spark creative, empathetic, out-of-the-box thinking in my students.  I loved the work and it sparked my desire to return for my PhD.  When I’m not reading or writing, I like to go running in the Smoky Mountains. Read Megan Von Bergen’s application responses here.

Katie Walkup, University of South Florida

A photo of candidate Katie Walkup.
I’m a second-year PhD student in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of South Florida, where I do program work and study rhetoric of health and medicine and digital rhetoric. My WPA experience includes serving as the first year composition program’s Junior WPA and research assistant to the Director of Composition. My programmatic goals include orienting the first year composition sequence toward my institution’s general education curriculum, and increasing transparency between institution, program, and course-level goals. The theories and methods I use in my research inform my program work by helping me see writing programs as ecologies, and giving me the digital tools to examine these ecologies. Read Katie Walkup’s application responses here.

Stacy Wittstock, University of California-Davis

A photo of candidate Stacy Wittstock.
Hello! I’m a Ph.D. student in Education, emphasizing in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies and Learning and Mind Sciences. I received my B.A. in Music and English from Pacific Lutheran University in 2010 and my M.A. in English from Washington State University in 2013. My research interests include WPA, developmental writing and writers, and the relationship between race, language, and writing assessment, particularly for students deemed underprepared for college writing. My dissertation explores faculty and administrator experiences with and perceptions of change within an evolving developmental writing program. I hail from the land of flannel and grunge music—the Great Pacific Northwest. When I’m not teaching or grad student-ing, I enjoy good food, good wine, good friends, and good music. I first learned about WPA-GO at the CWPA conference in Boise, ID in 2015, and have been a member since 2016. Read Stacy Wittstock’s application responses here.

PhD Candidates (Can Serve At Least 1 Year)

Katie Beth Brooks, Virginia Tech

A photo of candidate Katie Brooks.

Katie Beth Brooks is a doctoral candidate in the Rhetoric and Writing program at Virginia Tech. She is currently the assistant to the Director of Composition where she works as an advisor for GTAs teaching in the first-year writing program and as an administrator for the program at large. She worked in the Writing Center at Virginia Tech as a writing coach for undergraduate and graduate students and as a writing workshop coordinator for the graduate school. She teaches composition, writing and social justice, and technical writing. Her research interests include place-based and cultural rhetorics, Appalachia, and composition. Her dissertation explores the connection between place and writing in a National Writing Project chapter using the theory of rhetorical regionalism. Read Katie Beth Brooks’ application responses here.

Susan Duba, University of Kansas

A picture of candidate Susan Duba.

Susan Duba is a third-year PhD student in Composition and Rhetoric at the University of Kansas. She previously received a Bachelor’s in English from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, followed by Master’s degrees in English Literature from Washington State University and Rhetoric and Writing Studies from San Diego State University. Her recent WPA work includes serving as Summer 2018 FSE (First and Second Year English, KU’s writing program) Intern working on the handbook, teaching manual, and organizing the GTA orientation. She currently serves on three departmental committees: the SAGE (Students and Graduates in English) Fundraising Committee working to raise funds for the graduate organization, the FSE committee as a graduate student member working on updating the textbook for FYC, and the SAGE Writers Faire Subcommittee where she chairs the committee arranging a Writers Faire to showcase student work. She has an interest in public rhetoric, rhetorical genre studies, and intersections of academic and public writing. Much of her experience is in teaching First Year Composition, but recently began teaching online courses in professional writing, leading to a new interest in workplace and technical writing. Her most recent research interests consider various contexts of academic and public writing and social media’s role in community building and rhetorical influence in social movements. She is a strong advocate for inclusivity in academic spaces and challenge barriers to access whenever possible. Her recent roundtable presentation at 4C18 focused on student performance of identity through proto-publics in a course exploring the influences of privilege and power. This work demonstrates her commitment to connecting social justice interests in WPA work with that in the writing classroom.  Read Susan Duba’s application responses here.

Edrees Nawabi, Washington State University

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I’m the current Diversity and Outreach Committee Chair. I have about a half-dozen projects in the work and would love the opportunity to see them through. I still have a lot more to give to WPA-GO. Read Edrees Nawabi’s application responses here.

Rebecca Petitti, University of Massachusetts Amhurst

A photo of candidate Rebecca Petitti
Rebecca is a PhD Candidate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is currently working on her dissertation, which connects research on writing program administration, first-year composition, and digital technology. Her dissertation is a study of how five US writing programs engage with disciplinary scholarship on digital technology and FYC in their programmatic and curricular design, paying close attention to the specific conditions and factors that allow for this engagement. Outside of her research, Rebecca has taught in the UMass Writing Program, and currently serves as both the Graduate Assistant to the General Education Council and the Coordinator for the Junior-Year Writing Program. This year, she is serving as the chair of the WPA-GO Planning Committee. When not doing graduate student things, she can be found in a rock-climbing gym or on the couch with her 2 cats. Read Rebecca Petitti’s application responses here.

Jessi Ulmer, Texas Tech University
A photo of candidate Jessi Ulmer.

Jessi Ulmer teaches hybrid and online composition, professional communication, and children’s literature courses at Midlands Technical College in Columbia, SC and is almost ABD in the Technical Communication and Rhetoric PhD program at Texas Tech University. She recently presented at the Conference on College Composition and Communication annual convention and the Council of Writing Program Administrators annual conference. Her dissertation research is in disability/deaf studies and other interests include two-year college pedagogy and digital humanities. Read Jessi Ulmer’s application responses here.