Category: students

RTC Colloquium: The Postcolonial Condition

RTC colloquium event posterThe Department of Humanities is pleased to announce a Rhetoric, Theory and Culture Colloquium to be held on Friday, December 2 titled “The Postcolonial Condition.” Associate professor of French and cultural studies, Ramon Fonkoué will first present his talk “The Postcolonial Condition in the 21st Century: A Non-Citizen at Home, a Locus of Paradigm Shift in the World” followed by RTC students Yunana Ahmed and Nancy Henaku presenting “Performativity in African Scam Messages: A Feminist Discourse Analysis.” Scott Marratto will be providing commentary to the presenters.

Please join us 4 p.m. Friday, December 2 in the Great Lakes Research Center room 202.


Upcoming RTC Colloquium Announced

RTC colloquium event posterThe Department of Humanities is pleased to announce a Rhetoric, Theory and Culture Colloquium to be held on Friday, October 14. RTC student Silke Feltz will first present her talk “Slaughter, Art, & Tofu: The Rhetorical Ecologies of the Pig” followed by RTC student Kim Tweedale presenting “Rhetorical Ecologies: WPA Outcomes Statement.” Abraham Romney will be providing commentary to the presenters.

Please join us 4:30 p.m. Friday, October 14 in the Great Lakes Research Center room 203.


Marlo Jayne, Tech Today Intern for MTU Marketing and Communications

What’s the most important thing you can do if you are unsure of what career you want to pursue? Gain experience. I’ve had countless people ask me, “What are you going to do with an English degree?” I always responded with something along the lines of “I’ll figure it out.”

That’s exactly what I did when I started my internship with University Marketing and Communications. I became a student editor for Tech Today in November of 2015 and my English-major worries were put to rest. I finally found something that I could see myself doing after graduation. Editing had always been a career that I had been curious about, so I didn’t hesitate to apply for the job when the position opened up.

I’ve learned so many things during my internship at Tech Today. When I first started out, I was nervous that not knowing AP style would put me at a disadvantage. Sure, I had to learn a new style of writing, but it was so easy to pick up. I’ve learned how to write like a journalist. I’ve realized that editing a periodical isn’t just looking for spelling errors. I’ve learned that the readers of Tech Today are the number one priority. I’ve practiced how to speak up in a work environment and make my opinion be heard. I’ve even had the opportunity to train a new student editor.

The staff in the UMC made my internship so enjoyable. My supervisor was always very patient and understanding, which made my learning process go much smoother. Everyone else is so cheerful and friendly. I never felt like I was just “the intern,” but like a member of the team. It’s an accomplishment to be able to say that I worked for such a talented department. I look forward to seeing how the skills I have developed at my internship will carry on into my career.


Aspen Holmes, Intern for the MTU Office of Continuous Improvement

Illustration of a potted plant by Aspen HolmesI remember being completely overwhelmed as the semester and my internship started. Getting into Lean is something that forces you to change how you think about the world around you and this can be a very painful, tedious, and rigorous process. Most people don’t know what to do with all of the information they have just received or how to respect and apply it to their everyday lives. I remember one day I was so fed up with feeling so stuck in what I was doing and didn’t feel that Lean really had as much applicability as I thought. Tears were welling up as I sat at my desk, endlessly highlighting my “Lean for Dummies” book and trying to connect to what I was learning. My supervisor, Ruth Archer, and I were the only ones in the office at the time. She turned to me, calmly asked me what was going on, and waited intently until I could find what I wanted to say. “Is it normal to feel like you can’t do this?” I chewed on my lip as I waited for her answer. Then, she just smiled at me. She chuckled lightly and said that it was completely normal to feel overwhelmed by Lean and that getting there, to the point where I had mastered it, was a silly goal for my training period, because she hasn’t mastered continuous improvement yet, either. This is when I learned that Lean is a journey and that you can’t expect to grasp it until you’ve walked with it for a while. “You can’t do everything at once,” she guided me. I’m still learning that one, but I still appreciate the insightful talks that Ruth and I have to this day.

While I haven’t learned that I can’t do everything quite yet, I do understand that I can use Lean tools and philosophies to streamline my everyday life to make more possible. Now, being a college student I don’t really have the time to do so right now, but give it a week or two! I have learned a lot about myself during this internship and about what I stand for as an employee, as a student, and as an adult. There is still a lot ahead of me, but I am definitely proud of how far I have come.

“You haven’t gotten there yet, huh.. But look at how much you’ve grown.”


Lizbeth Ramirez, Intern for KOHLER Kitchen and Bath Americas

Lizbeth Ramirez with group of Kohler internsWhen I first came into this co-op, I had no idea what to expect. I’ve now been at Kohler for ½ a year and I can honestly say I have never had a dull moment here, and I love working as a technical writer. I could go on and on about how every day I feel lucky to work with such kind, witty, silly, and smart people, or how every engineer I’ve collaborated with has inevitable become a mentor and a friend, or how exciting it is to be trusted to manage so many projects for so many products across Kohler’s different platforms. I could honestly go on for days about how much I appreciate and enjoy this opportunity; instead, I’ll share one of my favorite memories here at Kohler.

My favorite memory was on NPD day. NPD (New Product Development) day is a day where the company takes a whole day off of work to have a picnic, present awards, and organize different team building games. We began the day by watching videos and recognizing teams for their hard work in product innovation, top sales and various other categories. Morgan and I kept on raving about how amazing it was that Kohler took the time to make goofy videos, present tons of awards, and make food and activities for their employees to enjoy. During one of the silly videos starring some of the Kohler’s head executives, I remember Morgan leaning over to me and asking, “What other company does this?” While the whole day was great, my favorite memory was definitely the first game we played.

The game consisted of a few team members, a basketball, and a small bangle like ring with long strings of rope attached. The goal of the game was to balance the basketball on the ring by holding the ends of the ropes. To win, we needed to get the ball, ring, ropes, and team through 3 wooden doorframes around the park faster than the team we were competing against. Each door was further away than the last, and more importantly, smaller than the last. There were only two rules – if the ball touched the floor or if any of the players held anything besides the ends of the rope, the team had to return to the starting line.

We started with a really intricate plan to weave our ropes together to make a basket. In theory it was a great idea, however in practice, not so much. We ended up spending the first 30 seconds or so making a huge web of ropes that was 50% a huge mess and 50% quite possibly the poorest basket ever made. Caught in the moment, we were all throwing rope around a ball without any sort of effective “securing”. Maria shouted out from the sidelines to try something else because the other team was already moving. Instead, we went for it and made it about 2 feet before our contraption fell apart. We ran back and started untangling the huge mess we had made for ourselves as the other team very slowly inched their way to the first door. At this point everyone was shouting different ideas and flustering the person who had -at that time- taken control. Two of my team members and I stood back and couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of how poorly our Tech Comm team was communicating with each other.

At some point I shouted out, “Why don’t we put the ring on the floor, put the ball on top, lift all of the ropes up like we’re making a ponytail and then make one big knot, then we each grab an end and run through?” Immediately everyone started untying our previous basket weaving idea and followed my suggestion. We looked over and the other team was far ahead but still moving quite slowly, so we knew we still had a chance. We all grabbed our rope and literally went racing through the doors screaming with excitement. The other team members who sat that game out, were running alongside us, cheering us on as we went through each door. When we finally reached the last door and all carefully maneuvered our ways through, we all let go of our rope and started screaming and hugging. The rest of our team came running over to celebrate with us as we chanted and gave high-fives. I remember feeling closer to my coworkers, happier with the hard work I’d been putting in, and laughing so much, I was sore the next day.

The whole day reminded me that there are still companies that believe in the “work hard, play hard” mentality. It also taught me that someday, I aspire to work at a company that values and rewards hard work. I honestly love what I’m doing here and know I will miss it so much! I think this co-op has not only given me much needed real-world experience, but it’s also opened my eyes to some of the traits I want (no- require) my full time career to offer me. While there are so many things that I respect and admire about Kohler, I have to admit, their easy going nature and spice of fun that’s sprinkled into everything they do, is what really draws me to them. Kohler also has a way of making you feel like you belong- whether that be to a team or a department, or a platform in general. I know that my experience in particular has been supportive, silly, welcoming, and just overall incredibly worthwhile. I feel really lucky to have experienced this all while still a student since I know have a glimpse of what’s to come after school!


Connor Will, Intern for KOHLER Kitchen and Bath Americas, Further Thoughts

Will ConnorI was nervous going into Kohler. Carrying a box of doughnuts toward the turnstile gates, I couldn’t help but wonder what I had gotten myself into. I had to swipe my badge twice–once at the gate and once inside the building–just to get to my desk. I sat down at my computer with someone who took a pastry and gave me my credentials for the email and various databases that Kohler uses. People stopped by to welcome me and grab doughnuts as I was given a crash-course in the software I’d be using for the rest of my co-op. Soon after, I was taken to each one of my coworkers all of whom greeted me with a handshake and a “Thanks for the doughnut!” Just like that, I was in.

Since then, I’ve gotten the chance to be a part of various teams working to create manuals, guides, and video instructions for products being sold all over the globe. I didn’t realize it right away, but the documents I’ve been working on will go out into the world and real people will follow instructions I had a hand in writing. My co-op’s almost done and I still haven’t gotten over how cool that is. In just four months I feel that I’ve gained more than I could have hoped for, and for that I am grateful to everyone I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I am more than impressed with the wealth of experience and the sense of comradery imparted by my coworkers and mentors; I know I will forever remember my time at Kohler as my first glimpse into the professional world of technical writing. Here in the office, you are not treated as a student, but as a fellow employee. Quality work is expected from you as you are relentlessly pushed toward self-improvement. If there is one thing I will take away from this experience, it’s that perfection is an ongoing process.


RTC Graduate Student Colloquium Series Presents “Visual Rhetoric in the Polis”

RTCColloquiumPosterCorrectedThe Humanities Department’s Rhetoric, Theory and Culture 2015-16 Graduate Student Colloquium Series will be holding an event, “Visual Rhetoric in the Polis” on Friday, October 2, 2015 from 4-6 PM in Walker, Room 120A. Two of our esteemed graduate students, Thomas Adolphs and Heather Deering, will be presenting papers, respectively titled “Solidarity and the Life-World: Facebook and the Image that United the LGBTQ Marriage Equality Movement” and “The Whitewashed Eye: Le Corbusier’s Refashioning of Subjectivity.” Dr. Karla Kitalong will be offering commentary and moderating discussion. These papers both deal with questions about visual rhetoric and its political implications.

This event will inaugurate a series of colloquia in which graduate students and faculty will have opportunities to share their work in a format modeled on a typical academic conference panel. The goal here is, in part, to create opportunities for graduate students to gain experience presenting their work among peers and colleagues, but it is also hoped that this will be a venue for the sharing of scholarly work and questions across the various disciplines that make up our department. I hope that everyone will be able to attend and contribute to a lively, collegial discussion.

Light snacks and Dionysian refreshments will be provided. All are welcome.

Here are the abstracts for the papers to be presented:

“Solidarity of the Life-World: Facebook and the Image That United the LGBTQ Marriage Equality Movement”

This presentation will focus on the red and pink marriage equality logo, developed by the Human Rights Campaign’s to provide a sense of unity for the LGBTQ movement through digital space. The distribution of the logo began on March 25th, 2013, through the peer-to-peer website, Facebook. The intended symbolism of this event was, as described by the HRC, to display a sense of solidarity among the LGBTQ community and its advocates as the U.S. Supreme Court came to a decision on the case United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry. The response to this logo, however, could not have been predicted. Facebook saw a 120% increase in the number of profile images changed during only a twenty-four hour period, roughly 2.6 million individuals. Seemingly overnight, the red and pink logo was a cultural phenomenon, with corporate entities as diverse as Kenneth Cole and Bud Light displaying their support for the cause by replicating the logo with their own products. How and why did this viral event happen? What impact has the event had on our cultural cognition of LGBTQ rights after we “unplug” from our digital devices? By investigating the phenomenological theory of the life-world, it is the author’s intention to address such questions.

“The Whitewashed Eye: Le Corbusier’s Refashioning of Subjectivity”

In the initial stage of his architectural career, Le Corbusier promoted whitewashing as the communicative medium that could restore order and rationalism to the larger society. Through its ability to define the very lines of architecture and to erase impurities associated with expression of ethnicity and class, whitewashing was the means through which Le Corbusier desired to reform the human eye—to condition it to see that which was worthy of its gaze.  This paper explores his work through Foucault’s theories of spatiality and subjectivity to address how whitewash could impact the larger society, leaving behind inscribed lines of class and racial segregation.  Furthermore, through establishing this new way of seeing through the fashioned form of a rational human, Le Corbusier instituted a new subjectivity, a new inhabitant of living spaces. In an environment devoid of sensual identities, this human becomes the product of a systemic machine powered by pervasive binaries.


Sarah Kelly, Tech Today Intern for MTU Marketing and Communication

When I first was hired to work in University Marketing and Communications (UMC), I was nervous and worried. I was hired to edit and publish the University’s Tech Today Newsletter. I didn’t know how to read editing marks, I didn’t understand AP style, and I felt that I was given a huge responsibility. That was two and half years ago. I currently still work in UMC as an editing intern, and I’ve grown since my first day.

UMC has a fantastic environment. Everyone works to maintain and promote Michigan Tech’s image and name. When you pick up a catalog about Summer Youth Programs, someone in UMC was responsible for the colorful images and engaging Michigan Tech-style text. When you click on Michigan Tech News about a professor doing research about wolves or nanoparticles, that news piece was written by either a student or a dedicated news writer. The department works together for a common goal. My favorite part, however, is working in a department full of wonderfully well-versed and sassy communicators. They know how to talk; they know how to create eye-catching designs; and they know how write.

This past semester I feel that I have expanded in my role as an editing intern. I have helped revise the submission process for Tech Today. I’ve had the opportunity to communicate directly with faculty and staff, and I’ve learned how to communicate effectively with them. And I trained a new student editor for the newsletter. After my two and a half years in UMC, I have grown and become a “content expert” on how to use the publishing program as well as the expert on the style guidelines for the newsletter. My time in UMC has culminated in my last year being spent as an intern. I am thankful for the lessons that I have learned this past semester, as well as the changes that I have experienced within myself and the department.


Theresa Tran, Intern for KOHLER Kitchen and Bath Americas; Further Thoughts

“Communication is key.” This is a commonly used quote to represent the importance of communication. Effective communication is important for personal relationships, constructive working environments, problem solving, and conflict resolution. This holds especially true in a professional work environment.

There are so many ways to communicate a message whether it is through written word or through the use of technology and motion picture. Communication can be made through the way that we talk to one another, but even more forcefully, by the way that we portray ourselves. While working at KOHLER, I have learned that expressing confidence in one’s work speaks powerfully towards the knowledge that one is perceived to hold. Having confidence helps persuade others to understand that you are the subject matter professional. Being able to ask the right questions has been a crucial aspect of my journey at KOHLER. It has been an important lesson for me to learn as there are many times that being assertive is important in order to provide the end customer with what they need.

Technical communications has taught me more than what many believe involves only writing technical manuals. I have learned that there are many opportunities presenting themselves for my growth especially in the field of communication. As with many things, I have come to understand that the work that I put in is what I will get out. As long as I make the most out of any experience or opportunity that presents itself to me, that is how much I will receive in return.