I first joined MTU in Fall of 2017 as a Masters student in the Humanities Department. In Spring of 2019, I successfully defended my MS project and that following Fall semester, I rejoined the Rhetoric, Theory and Culture program as a PhD student.
In my dissertation, “The Unappreciated and Disposable Wife”: Liminality, Emotional Labor and Feminization in Graduate Student Writing Program Administrators”, I explore the systemic, structural, and rhetorical factors that contribute to the marginalization, feminization, and emotional labor burden required for graduate students in Writing Program Administrator positions (gWPAs). My study has the following goals: First, by interviewing fellow graduate students, I aim to document and compile stories of those who have experience in Writing Program Administration (WPA) in order to model what that experience looks like in the US college context. Second, to understand what emotional labor means in this kind of position and its implications for those involved. Third, to understand the conditions of the precarity of this kind of labor, particularly in the context of feminization. Ultimately, I suggest interventions that would make WPA work more equitable for graduate students who seek to gain administrative experience prior to graduation. This work draws from and contributes to scholarship in disciplines such as rhetoric and composition, feminism and gender studies, and organizational communication.
My experience at Michigan Tech has been quite a journey, and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my advisor, Dr. Marika Seigel, who helped me realize what my true passion was: teaching. I would also like to thank the rest of my committee, Dr. Patricia Sotirin, Dr. Laura K. Fiss & Dr. Laura R. Micciche, your feedback has been essential for my progress. This PhD degree wouldn’t have been possible without the support and encouragement of my family, my friends (in Houghton, Montevideo & Argentina), and my partner Kevin, thank you for being there unconditionally.
Last but not least, I am extremely grateful to the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel and the Graduate School for awarding me the Finishing Fellowship during the final period of completing and defending my dissertation.