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Photo Credit: Shea Swinford

Writer, teacher, community organizer

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of English at Texas Tech University where I teach synchronous, online, undergraduate courses in technical communication and study community and activist rhetorics. While I teach and study online, I work at the intersection of writing, teaching, and community organizing in Kansas City, Missouri. My dissertation project is a feminist empirical case study that uses grounded theory and narrative inquiry methodologies to examine how community organizers, both distributed and place-based, use story to galvanize support and encourage action. By aligning the historical values of community organizers with emerging social justice values in the fields of technical communication and rhetoric, this dissertation project serves as an example of how transdisciplinary, public-facing research can build connections between communities and universities and agitate conventional research boundaries.

At the heart of my work as a writer, teacher, and activist is a desire for an increase in information access and community-university collaboration. In my 2016 TEDx talk, I advocate for open access research publications, community-based research projects, and public-facing articles written in plain language. But perhaps most importantly, I argue that we should value the voices of our community members as experts and begin to shift academia’s cultural currency from publishing to practice.