DRC Fellows End-of-Year Reflection

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As their time with the DRC draws to a close, the 2017-2018 DRC Fellows offer reflections on their experiences, what they’ve learned, and where they go from here.

A group picture of DRC fellows at Computers & Writing 2018! Left to right: Adrienne Raw, Lauren Garskie, Jason Tham, Lauren Brentnell, Naomi Silver

DRC at Computers & Writing 2018! Left to right: Adrienne Raw, Lauren Garskie, Jason Tham, Lauren Brentnell, Naomi Silver.

Jason Tham

It’s a privilege to work with Naomi Silver, Anne Gere, Adrienne Raw, and the DRC Fellows this past academic year. Through the various projects we have undertaken and collaborated on, I have expanded my personal learning network immensely.

The DRC has given me a platform to share my perspectives and ideas. More importantly, being a DRC Fellow lets me connect with scholars in the field who are doing very interesting work. I appreciate every opportunity I had at conferences and informal meetings last year to get to know researchers, teachers, graduate students, and other digital rhetoric super stars whose work I follow closely.

I also enjoyed meeting with previous DRC Fellows who gave me valuable advice on tackling the job search process. I can see how the DRC Fellows program is slowly creating a community of scholars who aren’t just focusing on their individual projects but are willing to share intellectual resource to support those who are coming behind them.

I cherish all the connections I have made and look forward to new ones this coming academic year as I return for another term in the next DRC Fellow cohort.

Lauren Garskie

As someone deep in her dissertation, I have naturally become very focused on a specific area of research. I don’t think being a DRC fellow could have come at a better time in my graduate student career. I wanted to be a fellow to the have the opportunity to collaborative with fellow graduate students. Being a part of the DRC has done that and more. It has allowed me the opportunity to not only work with the other fellows but to learn from them and to learn from all those who contribute to the DRC.

As a returning fellow, Brandee’s advice was that if we had idea or wanted to do something that we shouldn’t be afraid to share it. That really was perfect advice to hear during our first meeting (thanks Brandee!). There have been times where there were projects where I did not know much about the content, but I was interested to learn about it. That curiosity has led me to learn more than I could have imagined in just one year. I think of those initial projects where I took that advice to heart: the Webtext of the Month about Just Not Sorry by Brandee and I or The Virtual Roundtable on Wearable & Embodied Technologies that Jason and I hosted.  I have especially enjoyed working on blog carnivals, which truly showcase the collaborative efforts of the fellows and allowed an opportunity to work with those in the digital rhetoric community. With the many parts required for a blog carnival, they demonstrate how integral flexibility is to productive collaboration. To all the contributors to our blog carnivals, thank you! I’ve so enjoyed the time spent with your posts.

Most of all the DRC has made me more confident. More confident to throw an idea out there, to try something out, to approach someone in person at a conference who I have only worked with digitally. I am excited as I begin to look towards my future as an instructor and a scholar. I know the DRC will not only be a resource, but a community that I can continue to come back to and can continue to share all that it has to offer.

Thank you to everyone at the DRC for such a wonderful year.

Kristin Ravel

One of my main motivations for applying to be a DRC fellow for a second year came from looking back at my first year and realizing how much I had neglected to pull my knowledge of feminist theory and its intersection with concerns of digital rhetoric. My hope this last year was to amend this by developing a feminist-focused blog carnival (with the help of the other DRC fellows of course) and highlighting the diverse work of feminist authors in the field.

With the Material and Digital Rhetorics: Openings for Feminist Action blog carnival, the DRC featured topics tied to feminist theory and practice, digital rhetoric, and new materialism. The main priorities for this carnival were to better understand current feminist digital rhetoric concerns and to consider what feminist new materialist perspectives offer to how we think about and define the work of digital rhetoric. The editors (Lauren Brentnell, Brandee Easter, Carleigh Davis, and Lauren Garskie) and I made an effort to prioritize the feminist goal of inclusivity in this blog carnival by inviting and prioritizing the work of early career scholars and graduate students. I look back at the collaborations of this blog carnival fondly, especially as I grew to know many of the contributors via email and social media as time went on.

One of the other meaningful projects I worked on this year was my review of NYMG: Feminist Game Studies. At the time leading up to my review, I was making efforts to be more honest and critical of the conventions and limitations of traditional academic scholarship. After reading the first issue of NYMG, I immediately knew I needed to write a review for the DRC, but I didn’t just want it to be an impersonal review that summarized the features of the blog. Instead, I wanted it to merge together the journal with my personal histories and how we may rethink conventions of academic writing through practices related to digital publication. What resulted was not quite a review, not quite an essay, and not quite a personal narrative. I sincerely appreciated the freedom the DRC gave me in allowing this post to grow into what I wanted it to be—without concern for how it may fit with the format of previously published reviews on the site.

And I can’t leave this reflection without also talking about the DRC community. I could go on about this for some time, but for now I’ll just say I am continually thankful for everyone I’ve grown to know through the DRC. You have all helped me to remember the fun and joy that comes from collaborative knowledge-making, and this has been especially important considering this politically challenging time.

To the DRC fellows and folks at Michigan I’ve grown to know through our video meetings, emails, and conference presentations; to everyone who stepped up to the DRC table during C&W and CCCCs just to have a conversation; and to the folks I’ve worked with  as I’ve participated in publishing content for the DRC: Thank you. You are all so great!

Lauren Brentnell

What I’ve found most valuable about my time with the DRC is the collaboration that I got to engage in with other fellows, graduate students, and faculty in digital rhetorics. From getting to read through submissions for the two blog carnivals I co-edited (Material and Digital Rhetorics: Openings for Feminist Action and Rhetorics and Ethics in Smart Technologies and Artificial Intelligence) to getting to review Tim Lockridge and Derek Van Ittersum’s amazing book with Carleigh, I have loved the opportunities to engage in ongoing conversations in the field.

Outside of official DRC activities, I’ve also engaged with fellows at conferences, through social media, and in other spaces both formal and informal. As a dissertating student about to go on the job market, their advice and support has been so welcomed as we move through our graduate careers together. I know that I’ve not only met a group of people I have learned so much from this year, but will continue to learn from throughout our professional and personal lives.

Finally, I want to extend my thanks to Naomi Silver and Anne Gere—the amazing folks at Michigan who’ve helped us navigate our time as fellows and scholars. It’s been incredible to work with everyone, and I look forward to continuing to participate in this field with you!

Brandee Easter

It’s hard to believe that I’ve had the opportunity to be part of the DRC for two years. When I reflect on this time, I am proud of the work we’ve done. I continue to return to the blog carnival on “Teaching Digital Rhetoric after the Election” I co-led with Sara West because find its resources continually useful and important for teaching. I’m especially proud of the work we’ve done this year to build community across social media (Thanks, Jason, Carleigh, and Lauren G.!).

Something else that stands out to me about these two years is that I never felt like I was doing anything alone as part of the DRC. I am struck by how every DRC project was taken on by more than one contributor, sometimes all of us! This experience collaborating with other scholars—both DRC Fellows and the community more broadly—is an approach I hope to take with me into the next phase of my career.

To anyone reading this and considering becoming a DRC Fellow, you should do it! This experience has introduced me to a broader range of work being done in digital rhetorics, taught me ways to collaborate, and made me even more excited to be part of this field.

About Author(s)

Adrienne E. Raw is a PhD student in the Joint Program in English and Education at the University of Michigan. Her interests include fan studies, digital rhetoric, and composition pedagogy.

Jason is a PhD candidate in Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication at the University of Minnesota––Twin Cities. His current research focuses on making and design thinking in writing pedagogy, multimodality, and emerging technologies such as wearables and mixed reality.

Lauren Garskie is a PhD student in the Rhetoric & Writing Program at Bowling Green State University. Her interests include design, literacies, digital rhetoric, and multimodality.

Lauren is a doctoral student in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University. Her research is within trauma studies, particularly in how trauma survivors use nonlinear, multimodal, and digital forms of composing during recovery.

Kristin Ravel is pursuing her PhD in English with a concentration in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her research interests encompass multimodality, digital media studies, ethics in communication, and feminist theory.

Carleigh Davis is a PhD student in Rhetoric, Writing, and Professional Communication at East Carolina University. Her research uses Memetic Rhetorical Theory to examine the intersections between rhetoric and social justice in digital spaces.

Brandee Easter is a doctoral student in the Composition and Rhetoric program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on intersections of gender and digital rhetoric.

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