This year, I’m participating in the HASTAC Scholars program as one of over 150 undergrad and graduate students who are part of the larger HASTAC community. This means I’ll be posting about conferences I attend, relevant news, my research, etc., here on my blog. I also get the opportunity to formally represent Michigan Technological University and the STC program, in addition to receiving a modest fellowship.
Considering I’ve been blogging about scholarly things for a while, not much is changing here. However, I will be cross posting to my blog on HASTAC. That doesn't mean you're excluded from reading and/or writing though. Anyone can participate in HASTAC and add to the ongoing conversation, not just people in the Scholars program. So, if you’re interested in Humanities, Arts, Science, and/or Technology, I recommend checking out HASTAC.
How I Learned about HASTAC
While I was at the Computers & Writing conference this summer, Cheryl Ball told me I would be a good candidate for the HASTAC Scholars program. I don’t remember what prompted that discussion, but I Googled HASTAC when I returned to Houghton and told a few professors about the program and Cheryl’s suggestion. After a relatively painless application process and a nomination from Dr. Marika Seigel, I was accepted into the program. Moral of the story: go to conferences, don’t be afraid to talk to people, and be nice to/respect professors.
What I’ll Be Blogging about This Year
Grad School Applications
Right now, I’m applying to graduate programs, which involves writing and revising personal statements/statements of purpose, a curriculum vitae (an academic résumé), and producing a writing sample. This is consuming most of my free time, and probably will be for at least the next two months. However, it’s an experience worth writing about, and I’ll have several posts about going through the process.
After 2 AM, I also work on other things, such as reading and writing for class. This semester I’m taking Media and Globalization, Professional Development in HU, Media Industries, and Advanced Practicum in STC. In other words, I’m working on multiple senior projects, developing as a professional, and learning about (mostly) pre-digital media industries. So far, the courses haven’t inspired any major blog posts, but I do have one in the works connecting discussion in Advanced Practicum with discussion at Keweenaw Beer Rhetorics.
Keweenaw Beer Rhetorics
This semester, I started Keweenaw Beer Rhetorics (a page will also be on the official Beer Rhetorics site soon). The conversations are very entertaining, and many have inspired thoughts on various subjects, which I plan to blog here.
If you’re interested in joining us, we (students, faculty, industry professionals, and community members) meet every Wednesday at 6:00pm at the Keweenaw Brewing Company. We informally discuss rhetoric, digital media, technology, school/education, work, beer, and a variety of other things in order to expand our learning and networking beyond the classroom. The alcohol serves as social lubricant, rather than a way of becoming inebriated, and is completely optional. Several people drink freshly brewed root beer regularly, and I’m personally eager to try the KBC’s birch beer.
My Research Project/ CCCC Conference Presentation
I’m currently working on a research project in which I am redesigning the graphical user interface (GUI) of the Avast! WebRep browser extension, conducting usability tests, and writing a paper. You can find the official description of my paper here (I’m the second speaker). The document also describes the panel I’m on with Dr. Marika Seigel and Dr. Wendy Anderson, as well as their papers, as we’re presenting at the CCCC conference this spring. My paper has changed a little since that description was finalized though. I’m now focusing my discussion of Johnson’s user-centered design model more specifically on how it applies in a remix culture. Regardless, this project has brought new experiences every step of the way.
I’m pretty excited about the conference, especially to be presenting as an undergrad (not to mention alongside two outstanding professors!). I’m sure I’ll be blogging about the experience, among other things, this spring. I’ll also post a modified version of the presentation here afterwards.
Being a Teaching Assistant and Taking a Grad Course
Assuming everything goes as planned, this spring semester I’ll begin my new position as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for Wendy Anderson’s Web Design course. This means I’ll be developing the course site using Drupal (a content management system), facilitating lab activities, leading class once or twice, and doing a few other things. I truly can’t wait to get started, which is good considering I’ll have to begin preparing before the course actually starts. I’ll probably be in Houghton a week earlier than normal after Christmas, but the hard part may be dragging me away from Tech for winter break.
Pending registration, I’m also planning to take a graduate course under MTU’s senior rule, which allows upper-division students to enroll in graduate courses for credit toward their B.S. or M.A. degree. Even if it consumes all my time and very soul, I think it will be enjoyable, a good taste of grad school, and a valuable learning experience. You can be sure I’ll blog about that too.
Once again, I’d like to thank Marika for nominating me to the HASTAC Scholars program and arranging funding; Cheryl for telling me about the program; Fiona Barnett for answering questions about the program from me and Marika (not to mention for all the behind-the-scenes work); all of the faculty and staff at Tech and elsewhere who have helped prepare me for this opportunity; my parents/ family; and the friends at Tech and beyond who help keep me sane during these insanely busy semesters. You’re all awesome people, and I thank you for your support and inspiration!
Now, time to kick it into overdrive and enjoy another intense year of living/learning.