Silke Feltz presents at the Southern States Communication Association (SSCA)

image3 image2This year, the SSCA met in Tampa, Florida, and I helped organize a panel presentation that focused on the convention’s theme, Communication as Arts and Craft. Dr. Carrie West (Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, Schreiner University), Professor Sally Hannay (Professor of English, Schreiner University) and I shared collaborative projects and mentoring techniques that evolved around a small roundtable of knitters who all happened to work in academia, our Stammtisch. While Carrie focused on the community of practice approaches of the Stammtisch, Sally shared her pedagogy on how to integrate a service-learning component into her Technical Communication classroom. I then wrapped up our panel by discussing the successes and obstacles when launching an international charity project that is based on grassroots activism. StreetKnits consists of a vibrant community of knitters from various countries (United States, Germany, Spain, Canada) who donate knitwear to homeless shelters in the Midwest.

Our panel was very well received. In fact, an ESL instructor from Georgia might be a new StreetKnitter and plans on starting a similar community outreach project on her campus, linking StreetKnits to refugees.

I also enjoyed several other panels on intrapersonal communication, rhetoric and ethics. Communication Studies is such a multi-facetted field and offers a big variety of exciting talks at a conference. Unfortunately, my flight to Chicago got canceled on Thursday and I did not arrive in Tampa until Friday night which resulted in a very short stay. But my colleagues and I plan on paneling again at next year’s SSCA convention in Austin, Texas, and I plan on submitting a paper on my own as well.

I would like to thank the Humanities Department and the Student Government for making this trip possible. StreetKnits is a project dear to my heart and sharing my ideas with like-minded people was a wonderful and inspiring experience. Also, I would like to thank several faculty members: Dr. Patricia Sotirin, Dr. Jennifer Slack, Dr. Stefka Hristova and Dr. Lauren Bowen have been immensely helpful in assisting me getting started with the IRB process, they introduced me to fellow scholars in the field and they helped me brainstorm about how to build a StreetKnits community at Michigan Tech.



Frost Receives Michigan Tech Finishing Fellowship

Rebecca Frost
Rebecca Frost

Congratulations to PhD candidate Rebecca Frost, who received a Michigan Tech Finishing Fellowship for summer 2015 to support her dissertation work.

Rebecca Frost is a Michigan native who completed her undergraduate studies at Kalamazoo College (Kalamazoo, Michigan) and Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (Bavaria, Germany). She completed her master’s in Rhetoric and Technical Communication from Michigan Tech in 2010, and she is currently working on her dissertation project, Successful True Crime: Serial Killers, Victims, Gendered Bodies, and the Hunt.

This project concerns itself with historical and current impacts of crime narratives in America, focusing on the ways in which crime narratives function as a stabilizing ritual. She hopes that her dissertation will more fully examine the role of crime narratives and the rhetorical strategies within the genre to draw conclusions about American culture and popular beliefs surrounding crime, criminals, and victims, which has impacts for studies of rhetoric, American history, and American culture.

This fellowship gives her the chance to complete more in-depth research, especially primary texts of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and allows her more time to draw together information from various resources that have until now remained separate instead of in conversation.

Thus far she has discovered that many current publications on true crime and crime narratives are not supported by her extended research, and she hopes to produce a dissertation that will have a large impact on future research into crime narratives and representation. The subject of crime narratives and popular consumption thereof covers many fields and extends back to the first publications on American soil, and is thus an interdisciplinary topic of interest to scholars in many fields, and in the future she hopes to expand this impact further into other disciplines that are affected by crime and the popular perception of criminals, including possibly criminology and further into popular culture studies.

Two RTC Students to Present at the African Association for Rhetoric

Nancy Henaku
Nancy Henaku
Yunana Ahmed
Yunana Ahmed

Nancy Henaku and Yunana Ahmed will present papers at the Joint Colloquium of the African Association for Rhetoric and the Humanities Division Common Text Project to be held at Howard University in April 2015.

Nancy Henaku will present her paper, “Rhetoric, Transitions and Political Complications: The Case of Ghana’s 2012 Election Petition.”
Yunana Ahmed will present his paper, “Presidential Rhetoric and Transformation in Nigeria: The Case of Goodluck Jonathan’s 2015 Re-election Discourse.”

RTC Conference Presentations

Three RTC PhD students have received RTC Travel Grants to support their presentations at national academic conferences.

  • Jessica Lauer presented her paper, “A Hard Nut to Crack: Material Consciousness and the Nutcracker” at the Society for the History of Technology conference in Dearborn, Michigan in November 2014.
  • Keshab Acharya will present his paper, “Usability and Value-proposition Design: Exploring the Nexus between Usability, Technology, and Aging” at the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (ATTW) Conference in Tampa, Florida in March 2015.
  • Silke Feltz will present her paper, “Out of the Armchair and into the Streets: StreetKnits” at the Southern States Communication Association conference in Tampa, Florida in April 2015.

The students also received support from the Michigan Tech Graduate Student Government travel grant program.

2014-2105 Graduate Student Award Winners Announced

The Graduate School and Graduate Student Government proudly announce the 2014-2015 academic year winners.

Outstanding Scholarship Award recognizing academic performance in areas such as excellent GPA, originality in research, leadership and teamwork:
    • Swarup China, Niraj Dhital, Maria Gencoglu, Yaoxian Huang, Nayyer Islam, Ranjeeth Naik, Gaurav Pandit, Rachel Rupnow, Anqi Zhang, Andrew Baker, Mehran Bidarvatan, Luke Bowman, Adam Coble, Ashley Coble, Cynthia Delaney, Kamal Dhugana, Ruilong Han, Weilue He, Brian Hutzler, Shuaimin Kang, Jordan Klinger, Udit Shrivastava, Jun Tao, Bo Zhang

Outstanding Teaching Award recognizing graduate students who have exhibited exceptional ability as a teacher, have received excellent evaluations from students, as well as gaining the respect of faculty in their departments:

    • Joel Beatty, Patrick Belling, Caitlin Bulkovitz, Bryan Freyberg, Emily Gochis, Bethany Klemetsrud, Toni Larche, Chelsea Mitchell, Kiley Spirito, Daniel VanSlembrouck, Mehran Bidarvatan, Troy Bouman, LiLu Funkenbusch, John Henderson, Murat Koksai, Madhu Kolati, Connor McCarthy, Ashley Miller, Ethan Novak, Mengmeng Qiao, Jennifer Riehl, Katie Snyder, Jennie Tyrrell, Christopher VanArsdale, Erika Vye, Luting Wang

Outstanding Service Award recognizing excellent service to Graduate Student Government and the University community:

    • Zachary Champion, Muraleekrishnan Menon, Samuel Roache

Merit Award for Exceptional Student Leader recognizing the ability to work well with others, participation in extracurricular activities and achievements contributing to the overall graduate student community and representing a bearer of integrity to others:

    • Abhilash Kantamneni

Merit Award for Exceptional Student Scholar recognizing excellence in areas such as academic pursuits, publications and presentations, and exceptional work ethic:

    • Xu Yang

Merit Award for Exceptional Graduate Student Mentor recognizing advocacy for graduate students, being available and encouraging to students, and creativity/interdisciplinary collaboration in new opportunities for graduate students:

    • Gregory Odegard


(This originally appeared in Tech Today.)

Pappoe Review in Women & Language

PappoeMA student Ruby Pappoe published a book review on Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia (edited by Carmen G. Gonzales, and Angela P. Harris, Utah State University Press, 2012). The review appeared in Women & Language 37.2, pp. 91-94.

RTC Literary Seminar Collaboration to Be Published

Lauren150Congratulations to Dr. Lauren Bowen and the RTC students in her community literacy seminar Spring 2014 for their collaborative publication coming out in the latest Community Literacy Journal.

The citation is:

Dr. Lauren BowenLauren MarshallKirsti ArkoJoel BeattyCindy DelaneyIsidore DorpenyoLaura MoellerElsa Roberts, and John Velat

“Community Engagement in a Graduate-Level Community Literacy Course.” Community Literacy Journal 9.1 (2014): 20-40.

Presenting at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages

Presenting at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages

 The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) called for papers for its annual Convention last spring, and I submitted a proposal about a project my friend and former colleague, Lori Wells, and I had been working on for almost two semesters. The title of our presentation was, Le Petit Prince: A Big Idea for a Small Liberal Arts Campus.

 This national conference met in San Antonio in November 2014, and when Lori, the French instructor at Schreiner University, and I received an acceptance via email, we were thrilled because our presentation would be a home game only about sixty miles from where I used to teach English and German for six years.

Lori and I launched a Big Idea on Schreiner University’s campus. We developed pedagogical concepts in our foreign language classrooms that focused on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s international classic, Le Petit Prince. Moreover, we organized several events in the course of one academic year that included theme-based discussion and interpretations of the book. These events, such as a Stone Soup discussion group that was linked to the university’s Writing Center and Monday Night Fiction, the book club on campus, also reached out to students who were not in our respective classes and even included community members in general. Students organized discussion panels and engaged in creative writing projects, e.g. a tri-lingual script for a class video. We also shared an international video commentary with our colleagues at ACTFL and received highly interested questions and remarks about how to launch a Big Idea project like ours on a different campus.

The conference was impressive with almost 800 presentations that ranged from teaching literature to experimental pedagogical approaches in all kinds of foreign languages. Attending and presenting at a professional conference like this is a fantastic way to network and to meet new people. I was warmly encouraged to apply for a job after discussing pedagogy with some fellow German professors and reconnected with a dear friend of mine whom I had not seen since grad school about sixteen years ago. He is now teaching German at the College of Charleston and would like to organize a panel with me for next year’s Convention in San Diego. The ACTFL Convention offered me big opportunities for collaboration and was truly inspir10700499_10205614458783042_1806992830906728836_oIMG_3542 IMG_3547 IMG_3549ing.

I would like to sincerely thank Michigan Tech’s Humanities Department and Student Government for supporting my project and presentation by granting me funding for this trip. I return from The Lone Star State with a slight sunburn, a mind full of academic ideas and a stomach full of the best Tex Mex food.

At This Year’s SHOT Conference

Beatty ThumbnailThis blog post was written by Humanities PhD student Joel Beatty.

I am happy to report that I just returned from the annual conference for the Society for the History of Technology in Dearborn, MI. Our fellow RTC PhD candidate, Jessica Lauer, presented a paper, “A Hard Nut to Crack: Material Consciousness and the Nutcracker”, while I presented my paper titled: “Color, Culture, and Technology: A History of Indeterminacy.”

Michigan Tech was well represented at the SHOT conference with four faculty members and three graduate students attending in total (Dr. Steve Walton, Dr. Fred Quivik, Dr. Hugh Gorman, and PhD Student John Baeten from Social Sciences, and Dr. Bruce Seeley, Dean of Arts and Sciences).

Overall, the SHOT conference was a wonderful intellectual and career shaping experience. The conference venue was split between The Henry Autograph Hotel, The University of Michigan-Dearborn and The Henry Ford Museum, which added to the unique feel of this gathering. As a first timer to the conference, I was pleasantly surprised by what can be described as an invitational attitude towards graduate student members of SHOT. The society’s officers and the conference organizers go out of their way to seek new historical perspectives and graduate student researchers into the history of technology field. As a presenter, grad students are placed into a panel mixed established professors and other graduate students, and each panel is assigned an experienced commenter to facilitate discussion and synthesize all the presentations. Also, I was impressed by the  submission process to the conference, which required an acceptance of a proposal and then a draft of a conference paper submitted one month in advance of the conference. This process produces highly focused presentations and dynamic discussions, with some of the sessions lasting a full two hours in length. Beyond the presentations, graduate students are warmly welcome to special interest group luncheons within the society and made to feel welcome at all the conference mixers, banquets ect. The end result, for me, was a very positive experience and a more focused perspective on my research stemming from long discussions with detailed oriented historians.

I highly recommend grad students from the RTC program joining the Society for the History of Technology, and submitting a proposal to present. The perspectives we learn in this program on rhetoric, science, technology, culture and diversity in general are highly valued by historians, and the networks and relationships I have developed being part of this conference have been helpful for my academic interests and hold a lot of potential for the future.

Cheers, Joel Beatty

SHOT Website:

SHOT Annual Conference website:


Conference Mixer at the Henry Ford Museum


Plenary Speaker Dr. David Nye