Category: RTC Professional Activities

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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.)

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.

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

A Great Start for PhD Candidate Rebecca Frost

Rebecca Frost
Rebecca Frost

PhD candidate Rebecca Frost has been sharing her scholarly research in several different venues as she completes her dissertation this year. This summer, she presented a paper entitled “Future or past?” at the first “Evil Incarnate” conference on villains and villainy, “Approaching Evil: The Societal Function of True Crime.” A paper by Rebecca on male violence in two works by Stephen King (“Razors, Bumper Stickers, and Wheelchairs: Male Violence and Madness in Rose Madder and Mr. Mercedes”) has been accepted for next spring’s Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association national conference. And her paper from the last PCA/ACA conference, “A Different Breed: Serial Killers in Works by Stephen King,” is being published later this year as a chapter in a collection about Stephen King’s Contemporary Classics. Nice work, Rebecca!

PhD Student Wincharles Coker Published in Journal Discourse and Communication

Beatrice-BookPhD Student Wincharles Coker has published a review of Beatrice Quarshie Smith’s book Reading and Writing in the Global Workplace: Gender, Literacy, and Outsourcing in Ghana. The review appears in the November 2014 edition of the journal Discourse and Communication (pp. 429-32). It’s available online at

Nancy Barr’s Novels Featured

Page One: Hit and Run
Page One: Hit and Run

Mystery novelist Nancy Barr, a PhD student in the RTC program and a staff member in the ME-EM Department, was recently featured on two Michigan-oriented websites. She is the author of three novels, Page One: Hit and Run, Page One: Vanished, and Page One: Whiteout, published by Arbutus Press. All three books are set in the Upper Peninsula and feature a strong female protagonist, newspaper reporter Robin Hamilton.

The Motown Writers Network featured her on their site this summer and Michigander Monday posted an interview with Nancy on September 1.

In addition to her busy career and school schedule, she is working on a new novel that is part mystery, part ghost story that shifts between two time frames: the Copper Country’s mining boom days in the early 1900s and the early 1970s, shortly after the last mine in Houghton County shut down.