Featured Alumni Interviews: Michelle Ferrier (Ph.D. in Texts and Technology)

Michelle FerrierDr. Michelle Ferrier is a digital content architect and Associate Professor of Communications at Elon University. She is also the founder and managing editor of LocallyGrownNews.com, and Vice President of Journalism That Matters, a nonprofit organization focused on the new news ecology and media entrepreneurship.

With varied experience as a community activist, educator, entrepreneur, media consultant, online journalist, photographer, and technologist, her work developing and researching online communities and knowledge management has resulted in numerous conference presentations, publications, and awards.

More information about Michelle and her accomplishments may be found here.

T&T Alumni Interview

What is your current job title and institutional/organizational affiliation?

I am an Associate Professor in the School of Communications at Elon University in Elon, North Carolina. The School of Communications offers undergraduate degrees in Journalism, Strategic Communications, Broadcast & New Media, Cinema, Communication Science, and Sport & Event Management. We also offer an MA in Interactive Media.

I teach courses in Communications for a Global Age, Writing for the Media, Virtual Environments, Publication Layout & Design, Magazine Publishing and Design, and Digital Media Entrepreneurship.

How did you find your first position after graduating with a degree in T&T?

A colleague of mine who I had worked with in the past and who knew of my interest in new and interactive media told me a position was open at Elon. I applied for and got the job.

What is the most interesting part of your job?

I can think of a couple of things. First, because the area of digital media—and journalism in particular—are changing so rapidly, how the work is done and by whom and where it is deployed are all in a transformative state. These dynamics allow me to play with it more to understand it, and to shape it as I do my research and work with students.

Second, I enjoy the challenge of developing curriculum for these emerging fields. I revamped, for example, a magazine publishing class so that it became more entrepreneurial. Digital media entrepreneurship is of great interest to me, and I’m looking at emerging forms of digital media communications such as hyperlocal online news and social media platforms.

What are some examples of digital or analog texts that you deal with in some capacity in your current position?

I’ve had a seven-year interest in hyperlocal online news and have been engaged in creating and designing access points for it. Hyperlocal niche sites write for a specific geographical area, usually much smaller than the area that could be reached by a news or radio outlet. Hyperlocal news is typically relevant to that specific area and creates social cohesion in the local community.

I work with content management systems and social media tools—Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest—to build community conversation. LocallyGrownNews.com is an example of an online community I launched with the assistance of a $10,000 grant from the McCormick Foundation through its J-Lab New Media Women Entrepreneurs program. The content of the site focuses on locally grown produce and local goods as the entry into conversations about sustainability and local economies.

How do you incorporate technology into your current work?

I used the USDA’s food map technology to begin mobilizing community action through the LocallyGrownNews site. Now, I’m working with GIS technologies to visualize the impact of the changing media landscape. There are media deserts out there—geographic and/or topical hotspots that lack fresh news and information sources. We use the GIS data with newspaper circulation and media reach data to determine the location of these media deserts and have begun to formulate policies and intervention strategies to provide news and information of value to the communities identified.

How relevant was your course work to your current career? How has understanding the theory helped you? The practical?

The course work provided tools to help analyze, understand, read, and define texts broadly. This enabled me to understand the current landscape in the area of journalism, strategic communication and digital advocacy.

Can you describe a recent project or publication you have worked on that was especially exciting to you or that you are especially proud of?

The projects mentioned—LocallyGrownNews and Media Deserts—are all wonderful. What I’m excited about now is moving from awareness and education to action as we understand more about the layers of the media pie. We have submitted a proposal to the FCC (the policy maker for broadcast work) that focuses on underrepresented communities. I want to help dive in to make better policies for new broadcast and media outlets.

What do you see as the challenge to innovation in your work?

Newspapers are now referred to as “legacy media” and we’ve just learned of Newsweek’s leap to a digital-only format. But as with the auto industry, the distractions of ever-changing technology and lack of understanding of the larger cultural shifts can slow down the capacity of news organizations to adapt to such change. We must find a sustainable model for providing news. News and information is critical to a democracy. The definitions and names are changing rapidly and we must protect freedom of the press during this transformation.

How did the Texts and Technology program help shape your current research agenda?

The program encouraged me to look at the world and data differently. Media Deserts is a direct result of the interface design and visualization work done in the Texts & Technology program.

Is there any particular moment from your T&T experience that stands out as an especially memorable (or valuable) moment for you?

We brainstormed in an intro course about ways that research could be done differently, beyond the traditional qualitative and quantitative methods. That one exercise led me to find my area of interest, my dissertation topic, and my current research. Subsequent work in visual rhetoric and interface design systems enabled me to challenge my approach, my point of view, and ultimately how best to apply research to my topic.

What was something important you learned outside of the classroom while enrolled in the program?

The value of collaboration and juxtaposition. I carpooled with another student and on our long rides we’d talk about our research, which was in different fields but connected by the T&T coursework. These conversations helped broaden my perspective and highlighted how the coursework has the flexibility to apply across disciplines. We're still throwing weird things up against one another and appreciate the results.

What would you hope for as we aim to continually improve the T&T program?

  • Look at business models to bring a media entrepreneurship sensibility to the program. Consider models from management, online education, serious games, and their interface designs—these can all be applied in both academe and business.
  • Provide opportunities to explore how the theories taught in the program have been applied. Engage other scholars and researchers, and business founders from across the country.
  • Consider a separate course that grounds you in the interdisciplinary landscape so you know the scholars in the space and you learn where to place your scholarly efforts. For example what are the respected journals by discipline, who are the key players?

What other advice would you give to current Texts and Technology students to help prepare them for their future careers?

  • Aim for your career as a student to be short, not long. Find an idea early and work that same topic against every angle, work-shopping that idea in each subsequent course. Try writing a few papers on the topic.
  • T&T graduates will be the trail blazers. People are looking for these types of individuals. There are no roadmaps, but the degree is malleable and creative. Don’t be afraid to be a trailblazer, and know that you are not alone—there are alums!

Any closing thoughts?

T&T graduates have the advantage of seeing the big picture overall, and can understand and communicate about the possible implications of large digital transformations in culture. The program has given me a great perspective for looking at the future in a different way, and provides different vantage points for action.


  • Hatem Akil (2011)

    Executive Director, Media Orientalis, LLC, Winter Park, FL

  • Amy Barnickel (2010)

    Lecturer, Department of Writing & Rhetoric, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

    Dr. Amy Barnickel is an instructor at UCF who teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in professional writing, editing, and writing careers as well as freshman composition. She holds a bachelor's degree in English and French from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a master's degree in English language arts education from UCF, and a doctoral degree from UCF in texts and technology. She is the assistant editor of Studies in Art Education and the editor for KlynnAcademics.com as well as a freelance editor, writer, and artist. Formerly a professional writer/liaison for UCF's president, she also has two decades of executive level writing experience. Dr. Barnickel is interested in many areas of scholarship and participation ranging from artmaking to cultural and women's studies and writing. She is a feminist who encourages education, assertiveness, and the pursuit of success on their own terms for all women. She can be reached at amy.barnickel@ucf.edu.

  • Brian Blackburne (2008)

    Assistant Professor of English & Technical Communication, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX

  • John Bork (2015)

    Software Architect, Toptech Systems Inc., Longwood, FL

    Dr. Bork focuses on software design, development and technical leadership at Toptech Systems, the leading provider of terminal automation software and hardware solutions for the petroleum industry. He balances these professional efforts with intensive studies in the philosophy of computing, the software industry, the impact of technology on society, and tinkering with pinball machines.

  • Cassandra (Sandy) Branham (2016)

    Assistant Professor of Humanities and Communication, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL

    Dr. Cassandra Branham joined the faculty of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Department of Humanities and Communication in 2016, where she teaches courses in English composition, rhetoric, and scientific and technical communication. Prior to attending UCF, Dr. Branham earned an M.A. in Rhetoric and Composition and a B.A. in English from the University of South Florida. Dr. Branham's research interests are broadly situated with the areas of digital communication (with a specific focus on social networking technologies), digital literacies, and veterans studies.

    Dr. Branham's dissertation, which focused on investigating and analyzing veterans' identity presentation practices in social networking technologies, combined her three primary research interests with her pedagogical interests, culminating in several pedagogical and programmatic recommendations aimed at creating a more inclusive university environment in which student veterans can thrive.

  • Melanie Brown (2004)

    Vice President for Academic Affairs, St. Johns River Community College, Palatka, FL

    Dr. Brown is the current Vice President for Academic Affairs at St. Johns River State College located in northeast Florida. She previously served SJR State as the Vice President for Program Innovation, Open Campus Provost, the Dean of Distance Learning, and an English faculty member. Prior to coming to the College, she taught middle school and high school English and public speaking. Currently Dr. Brown is actively participating at both the state and regional level in several major projects including statewide developmental education reform, general education revision, Common Core implementation, and college readiness and outreach initiatives. Brown oversees all areas of Academic Affairs across SJR State’s three campuses to include the Associate in Arts and Baccalaureate Degrees; the Florida School of the Arts; K20 articulation; Teacher Education; Adult Education; Dual Enrollment; Distance Learning; Community Education; College Reach-Out; and the Libraries. Dr. Brown was recently selected to participate in a 2013 Summer IEA Fulbright which will have her traveling throughout the United Kingdom. She hopes to use her Fulbright experiences to further encourage study abroad participation and develop greater support mechanisms for international students at both SJR State and within the Florida College System.

  • Patricia Carlton (2016)

    Media Specialist and Web Archiving Facilitator, Mount Dora High School, Mount Dora, Florida
    Adjunct instructor, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, College of Graduate Studies, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

    Dr. Patricia Carlton teaches digital and media literacies through a national K-12 Web Archiving Project, sponsored by the Library of Congress and Archive-It.Org. She also oversees Mount Dora High School’s media center and instructs students and staff in educational research technologies. As an adjunct instructor for the College of Graduate Studies at UCF, she teaches an Interdisciplinary Studies foundation course that draws upon her mixed methods of research.

    Dr. Carlton holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Florida, a master’s degree in Instructional Technology/Media: Educational Media from UCF, and a doctoral degree in Texts and Technology, also from UCF. Her doctoral studies and dissertation focused on disciplinary practices of digital archiving, particularly in memorials, grief collections, and representations of catastrophic events. She has co-authored publications with her professors, Barry Mauer and Mark Kamrath, has presented at conferences including the Society of Early Americanists, the National Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, the Archive-It.Org Partner Meeting, and the Digital Humanities (sponsored by the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations). Dr. Carlton is continuing her research in digital archives as sites for studying trauma and resilience, change in disciplinary knowledge, and as platforms for teaching humanistic inquiry.

  • Russell Carpenter (2009)

    Director, Noel Studio for Academic Creativity and Assistant Professor, English, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY

    Dr. Russell Carpenter came to Eastern Kentucky University in fall 2009 as the first director of the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity where he is also Assistant Professor of English. While a Texts & Technology student at UCF, he studied writing center spaces through the lens of cultural and political geographies in an attempt to understand how technology might enhance the ways we teach and learn in these spaces. He puts this research to work in the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity.

    Dr. Carpenter serves as Vice President of the Southeastern Writing Center Association (SWCA) and chaired the 2012 conference held at EKU. He is also Vice-Chair in the National Association of Communication Centers (NACC) and received the Von Till Outstanding Newcomer award from the National Association of Communication Centers in 2010 for contributions to scholarship and service. He chaired the 2012 NACC conference as well. Dr. Carpenter is also President-Elect of the EKU chapter of the Phi Kappa Phi academic honor society. In addition, he sits on the editorial board for Praxis: A Writing Center Journal and moderates commcenters, a national listserv for communication centers. Dr. Carpenter also delivered the keynote at the 2013 NACC conference held at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. In summer 2013, he will serve as a leader for the International Writing Center Association (IWCA) Summer Institute.

    Since arriving at EKU, Dr. Carpenter has published several books, including Higher Education, Emerging Technologies, and Community Partnerships with Dr. Melody Bowdon (2011). With Dr. Bowdon, he also co-edited a special issue of the Community Literacy Journal on digital technologies and community literacy. Dr. Carpenter recently completed Cases on Higher Education Spaces: Innovation, Collaboration, and Technology (2012) based on his administrative work in the Noel Studio. With Dr. Sohui Lee, he also edited The Routledge Reader on Writing Centers and New Media (2013). Two of his current projects include a digital book, Sustainable Next-Gen Learning Spaces, and a design textbook for composition students.

    As director of the new Minor in Applied Creative Thinking, he also co-authored Introduction to Applied Creative Thinking with Drs. Charlie Sweet and Hal Blythe. The next book in the series published in February 2013: Teaching Applied Creative Thinking with Drs. Sweet, Blythe, and Apostel. In 2012, they also co-founded the New Forums series on Applied Creative Thinking.

  • Thomas Cavanagh (2006)

    Associate Vice President, Center for Distributed Learning, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

    Thomas B. Cavanagh is Associate Vice President of Distributed Learning at the University of Central Florida. In this role he oversees UCF's distance learning strategy, policies, and practices, including program and course design, development, and assessment. Dr. Cavanagh has administered e-learning development for both academic (public and private) and industrial (Fortune 500, government/military) audiences. Dr. Cavanagh currently serves as chair of the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Advisory Board and on the Board of Directors of the Florida Virtual Campus (and chair of the Distance Learning and Student Services Members Council) and the Board of Directors for the Florida Distance Learning Association.

  • Natalia Cherjovsky (2010)

    Instructor, Communication, Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids, IA

    Natalia Cherjovsky was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and lived Cedar Falls, Orlando, and New York City before settling down in Iowa City with her partner, Ryan. Dr. Cherjovsky teaches Fundamentals of Oral Communication in all its formats (face-to-face and Distance learning) and Public Speaking. She is also the contact advisor for Alpha Eta Rho, a chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year colleges. Her research interests include new media and culture, gender studies, perception and identity. Apart from working on papers for conferences, Natalia writes fiction, which she has a published in journals and magazines. Her passions, other than teaching and writing, are learning and traveling the world. Her work has been published in The Aberrant Parade, Open Wide, The Fox Chase Review, Verbatim, and Front Porch. You can follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NatCherjovsky ... and buy her work on Amazon.

  • Maggie Cotto (2016)

    Teacher, Volusia County Schools, Deland, Florida

    Dr. Cotto currently teaches high school English, and middle school language arts, reading, and intensive reading.

  • Anthony Crisafi (2008)

    Adjunct Instructor, Department of Philosophy, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

  • Connie Culler (2015)

    Content Development Specialist, The Walt Disney Company, Orlando, FL

    Dr. Culler designs and develops training programs for the Disney Institute.

  • Stacey DiLiberto (2011)

    Professor of English & Humanities, Valencia College, Orlando, FL

    Dr. Stacey DiLiberto is currently a professor of English and Humanities at Valencia College. She teaches courses in English composition, Latin American humanities, and honors leadership for the Seneff Honors College. In addition to her Ph.D. in the Texts and Technology program, Stacey holds a B.A. in Foreign Languages: French and Italian from UCF and an M.A. in English: International Literature from Montclair State University. She is also a freelance translator of corporate and consumer communications and has been featured in Valencia's Vitae Magazine.

    Stacey's love of language and culture has taken her to many destinations in Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Most recently, she was a participant in the Valencia 2012 NEH-sponsored summer institute to study Russian culture in Moscow and St. Petersburg. She was also awarded the 2013 Chelsey G. Magruder Foundation & First Union National Bank of Florida Humanities Fellowship to study the Mayan Empire in Yucatan, Mexico.

    Dr. DiLiberto's research interests include Caribbean Studies, translation studies, and digital humanities. She has presented at several conferences on translation and Caribbean Studies including ones at Harvard University, John Jay College, and Franklin College in Lugano, Switzerland. Her research specifically focuses on how translators can use digital and new media tools rhetorically to invent new methods for the electronic translation of literature. Her dissertation titled "Remediation and the Task of the Translator in the Digital Age: Digitally Translating Simone Schwarz-Bart's Pluie et Vent sur Télumée Miracle" was awarded the 2012 Innovative Dissertation Award for the UCF College of Arts and Humanities.

  • William Dorner (2015)

    Will Dorner works in UCF’s Center for Humanities and Digital Research. He completed his M.A. in Rhetoric   Composition at UCF in 2010 and has studied Creative Writing, Anthropology, and Linguistics. Will has dedicated much of his time to the study of the languages of Ancient Greek and German and reading and translating classical Latin. His research interests include text encoding, archiving, and preservation using digital markup standards.

  • Michelle Ferrier (2007)

    Associate Dean for Innovation, Research, Creative Activity and Graduate Studies, Scripps College of Communications, Ohio University

    Dr. Ferrier is a digital content architect and begins her new role at Ohio University in the fall of 2013. She was previously an Associate Professor of Communications at Elon University. She is also the founder and managing editor of LocallyGrownNews.com, and Vice President of Journalism That Matters, a nonprofit organization focused on the new news ecology and media entrepreneurship. With varied experience as a community activist, educator, entrepreneur, media consultant, online journalist, photographer, and technologist, her work developing and researching online communities and knowledge management has resulted in numerous conference presentations, publications, and awards.

  • Jennifer Fickley-Baker (2012)

    Social Media Manager, Disney Parks Blog, Orlando, FL

  • Christopher Friend (2014)

    Assistant Professor, Saint Leo University, St. Leo, FL

  • Marcy Galbreath (2014)

    A native Floridian hailing from the small farming community of Samsula, Florida, Marcy L. Galbreath’s research focuses on the rhetoric of science in relation to agricultural and environmental communications; how these communications are enacted in oral, print, and digital genres; and how the literacies associated with these genres contribute to meaning-making within and between associated communities. These topics guided her dissertation, “Tractors and Genres: Knowledge-Making and Identity Formation in an Agricultural Community,” and served as the impetus for her accompanying website, the Samsula Historical Archive (samsulahistory.net).

    Galbreath received her PhD in Texts & Technology from the University of Central Florida in 2014. She received her M.A. in English, Literary, Cultural, and Textual Studies from UCF in 2010, and her B.A. in Fine Art and English from Flagler College, St. Augustine, in 1993. She is currently a lecturer and undergraduate advisor in UCF’s Department of Writing and Rhetoric.

  • Amy Giroux (2014)

    Dr. Amy Larner Giroux is a computer research specialist with the Center for Humanities and Digital Research at the University of Central Florida. Her dissertation for the Texts and Technology program at UCF was a digital history project about navigating the historical contact zones between whites, blacks, and mixed-race Creoles in early nineteenth-century Pensacola, Florida. She received her MA in Anthropology in 2009 and was awarded Best in Category for Social Sciences at the 2010 UCF Graduate Research Forum for her thesis research "Mea Familia: Ethnic Burial Identifiers in St. Michael's Cemetery, Pensacola, Florida."

    Dr. Giroux has a B.S.E.T. (Computer Technology) and 30 years’ experience in software development and project management. Additionally, she is also a professional genealogical researcher, lecturer and writer, holding both Certified Genealogist (CG) and Certified Genealogical Lecturer (CGL) credentials from the Board for Certification of Genealogists.  Her research specialty is New York City and the Lower Hudson Valley.  She is an award-winning author with articles published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Record, and The Genealogist (American Society of Genealogists). Her research interests include burial iconography and ethnic studies.

  • Meghan Griffin (2012)

    Assistant Professor, School of Management, Daytona State College, Daytona Beach, FL

    Dr. Meghan Griffin is a tenure-track Assistant Professor at Daytona State College where she teaches upper-level business writing and corporate communication courses in the School of Management. Her research and most recent publications focus on electronic food journaling technologies as a form of life writing and expression of digital embodiment.

    Meghan holds a Master of Business Administration degree, a Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing, and completed her PhD in Texts and Technology in 2012. In addition to teaching, she serves as Social Media & Content Manager for Black Tie Digital Marketing, a local firm specializing in multimedia marketing and search engine optimization. Meghan also contributes to Orlando Moms Blog and has been featured in Central Florida’s babyourself magazine.

  • Kevin Jardaneh (2016)

    Assistant Director, Office of Undergraduate Research, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

    Dr. Jardaneh also earned his M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies and B.A. in Political Science (HIM) at UCF. His career has spanned academia, the corporate world, and the military. In addition to his current role as Assistant Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research at UCF, he teaches and has advised for UCF’s Office of Interdisciplinary Studies, and worked with a NEH grant-funded project through UCF’s Center for Humanities and Digital Research.

  • Emily K. Johnson (2015)

    Postdoctoral Research Associate and Coordinator of Games Research Lab, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

    Dr. Emily Johnson collaborates with faculty and staff from a variety of disciplines to plan, fund, conduct, and publish interdisciplinary games-related research. She coordinates the activities of the Games Research Lab as a founding member of the Games Research Group. The lab is a hub for research on all types of games and game-related topics, from motivation and badging studies to virtual reality learning experiences, and everything in between.

  • Warren Jones (2014)

    Associate Professor, Eastern Florida State College, Titusville, FL

  • Christina Kapp (2010)

    International Product Manager, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Orlando, FL

    Dr. Kapp manages pre-sales consulting and strategy for digital products in Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Asia Pacific. She designs partnerships and strategies for target clients, including large school chains, ministries of education, and consumer markets via telcos. Christina works closely with core sales teams and business development managers to architect educational solutions for new markets, including 1:1 computing initiatives, eTextbook adoptions, and PD platforms.

  • Lynn Koller (2008)

    Associate Professor, Communications, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Orlando, FL

    Dr. Lynn Koller teaches upper-level courses in the Communication program, as well as professional writing in support of general education. Dr. Koller holds a Ph.D. in Texts and Technology, a Master of Arts in English, and a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from the University of Central Florida.

    She has served in Embry-Riddle's Humanities and Social Sciences Department since 2003, teaching such courses as Technology and Modern Civilization, Visual Design, Environmental Communication, Technical Writing, and Web Publishing. She also has taught literature and writing courses for ERAU's Worldwide Online.

    Dr. Koller researches issues related to digital text communication, social media, visual design, and how technology is affecting the field of medicine. Her dissertation in the Texts & Technology doctoral program at UCF outlines a methodology for reframing problems by analyzing the artifacts produced by medical imaging technologies. The text is a rhetorical study that explores the artifacts created by medical imaging technologies, using methodologies adapted from surrealists, semiologists, and visual artists.

    Dr. Koller's experience includes public relations and marketing for a financial services technology consulting firm. As a freelance writer, she has published more than 140 articles, covering issues such as digital technology, medicine (including radiology and oncology), financial services technology, Web development, auditing, commercial real estate, banking, travel, and legal issues. She has published a novella, developed and maintains several Web sites, and wrote Revelations in Plastic, a screenplay.

  • John Lamothe (2015)

    Assistant Professor of Humanities and Composition, Humanities and Communication Department, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida

    Dr. Lamothe teaches Technical Communication, Academic Composition, and Technology & Society at ERAU. His research interests focus primarily on the rhetoric and cultural significance of sports, but he also conducts research addressing the philosophy of technology, popular culture, transgender studies, pedagogy, science rhetoric and science-fiction literature.

    In his spare time, Dr. Lamothe likes to brew beer and compete in triathlons (not usually at the same time).

  • Billy Leach (2010)

    Assistant Professor of Communication, College of Psychology and Liberal Arts, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL

    The first half of Dr. Leach's career was in the corporate world as the owner of a commercial printing business in Brevard County. After the sale of the business in 1996, Dr. Leach became an adjunct instructor in the English department of Brevard Community College. He began teaching composition and literature courses full time at Florida Tech in 2001. Dr. Leach's research interests include contemporary American poetry and fiction, technical writing, and the ethical and practical issues of integrating various technologies in the online and blended learning environments.

  • Marcia Mazzarotto (2017)

    Dissertation: Nam June Paik and Avant-Garde as Pedagogy: Promoting Student Engagement and Interdisciplinary Thinking in the Undergraduate Humanities Classroom
    Major Emphasis: 21st Century Pedagogy, Digital Humanities, English, New Media Studies.

  • Thomas "Rudy" McDaniel (2004)

    Assistant Dean, Research and Technology; Director, Texts and Technology Doctoral Program; and Associate Professor, School of Visual Arts and Design, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

    Rudy has been teaching at UCF since 2002 and in 2008 he was selected as a Faculty Fellow for the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning. In 2009, he was awarded the Teaching with Technology Award, a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award, and the Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Technology. He has also won awards for excellence in graduate and undergraduate teaching in the College of Arts & Humanities (2010).

    Dr. McDaniel's research interests generally converge on the intersection between the humanities (particularly narrative structures and analysis) and computer science. He has published on the topics of presence, virtual teams and narrative, knowledge management, interactivity, and information systems. A secondary focus is on the use of video games for training, teaching, and learning. Recent work in this area has focused on improving video games' narratives through semiotic prototyping, using games for teaching project management skills, and the effective use of games for teaching and learning in online environments. He has also published several articles on the use of the eXtensible Markup Language (XML) as a tool for team training and as a scholarly vehicle for improving digital storytelling.

  • Heather Eaton McGrane (2007)

    Professor of English, School of Humanities and Communication, Daytona State College, Daytona Beach, FL

  • Donald Merritt (2015)

    Don Merritt is the Director of the Office of Instructional Resources (OIR) at the University of Central Florida. OIR maintains a staff of certified Crestron programmers and CTS-certified installers and is the primary AV designer and installer for the university. In addition, OIR provides support for the videoconferencing and lecture capture systems for UCF. OIR is also home to UCF's Faculty Multimedia Center, a multimedia production facility dedicated to training and supporting faculty in the use of digital media technologies.

    Don received his BA from East Tennessee State University in 1996 and MS from Middle Tennessee State University in 2000. Don's research interests include the experience of the disabled in virtual environments, identity management and video games, and media law and regulation. He has taught in the UCF departments of Digital Media, Radio/TV and English.

  • Rebecca Middlebrook (2009)

    Communications Coach, School of Business and Economics; Instructor, Educational Technology, Perspectives, Engineering Enterprise, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI

    Dr. Middlebrook's teaching interests include instructional technology, writing, and blend learning/hybrid instruction. Her research interests include re-mediation of pedagogical practices in hybrid courses, instructional technology integration, and blended/hybrid course development, design, and implementation.

  • Cynthia Mitchell (2016)

    Teacher, Brevard Public Schools, Satellite Beach, FL

    Dr. Mitchell is an English and AP Computer Science Principles teacher for Brevard Public Schools.  She works on the Brevard County Secondary ELA Leadership team, writing curriculum for the county and maintaining their website.  In addition, she teaches the new AP Computer Science Principles class and conducts professional development workshops throughout the state on technology in the secondary classroom.

  • Jane Moody (2011)

    Instructor, English Department, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

  • Lori Mumpower (2007)

    Assistant Professor, English, University of Alaska, Anchorage, AK

  • Jamie O'Neal (2010)

    Math Instructor, Avalon Middle School, Orange County Public Schools, Orlando, FL

  • Neil Patten (2014)

    Instructional Designer, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL

  • Mark Pollitt (2013)

    Associate Professor, School of Engineering Technology, Daytona State College, Daytona Beach, FL

    Dr. Pollitt teaches information security and digital forensic courses. He is the Principal Investigator on $1.8M NSF ATE Cybersecurity Grant.

    Mark has served over thirty years in the U. S. government, over ten years as an officer in the USMC and USCG, and over twenty as a Special Agent of the FBI. He conducted criminal and national security investigations, supervised online investigations, was Chief of the FBI's computer forensic unit (CART) and was Director of the Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory Program.

    After retirement, he founded his own consulting firm and began teaching as adjunct faculty at a number of institutions including: Johns Hopkins, Syracuse, Polytechnic and Norwich Universities. He became a full-time academic in 2006, at the University of Central Florida. In 2010, he joined the Engineering Technology faculty of Daytona State College. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

    Professor Pollitt is a graduate of Cornell University, Syracuse University and the National Defense University, has done post-graduate work in forensic science at George Washington University and completed his Ph.D. in the spring of 2013.

  • Daniel Powell (2017)

    Professor of English, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Jacksonville, FL
    Dissertation: Digital Dissonance: Horror Cultures in the Age of Convergent Technologies

  • Tammy Powley (2006)

    Assistant Professor, Department of English, Communications and Modern Languages, Indian River State College, Fort Pierce, FL

    Some of Tammy's research interests include 19th century literature, crafts and domestic technology, and Southern literature. Dr. Powley is currently working on a collaborative book project that will examine contemporary Florida fiction written by women. She has written a number of instructional crafting books: The Complete Photo Guide to Jewelry Making, Making Designer Mixed Media and Memory Jewelry, Creating Metal Clay Jewelry, Making Designer Seed Bead, Stone, and Crystal Jewelry, Making Designer Bead and Wire Jewelry, Making Designer Gemstone and Pearl Jewelry, and Jewelry and Beading Designs for Dummies. Other works include articles related to media and crafting memory published by the IRSC Center for Media and Journalism Studies.

    Dr. Powley is a founding editor of The Indian River Review, a journal of photography, prose, and poetry. She is currently the creative non-fiction and photography editor. More information about the journal is located on its weblog at http://theindianriverreview.wordpress.com/.

    In 2010, Dr. Powley established the Caring through Crafting club at Indian River State College. The club focuses on teaching members crafting skills such as knitting, crochet, and paper-arts, and then members use these skills to help others. Club service learning projects have included making blankets for Save the Chimps, making snuggles and running a fundraiser for Domino's Cat Rescue League, and making wash cloths and coloring books as well as collecting travel soaps for MISS Inc. In 2011-2012, she was awarded Club Advisor of the Year, and in 2012-2013, the club was given the Outstanding Community Service award.

    Dr. Powley teaches Technical Communications, Composition I, and Composition II and enjoys offering students alternatives for critical thinking that are both appropriate for a work-place or academic environment. Before turning to teaching full time, Dr. Powley spent eight years as a technical writer primarily working in the defense industry.

  • Leandra Preston-Sidler (2015)

    Leandra Preston-Sidler is a full-time Instructor of Women's Studies at UCF and is actively involved in the development and teaching of courses such as Third Wave Feminisms, Girls Studies, Girls and Digital Media, and Theories of Masculinity. Leandra received her M.A. in Literature from UCF and her research interests include body technologies, girls and digital literacy, social media activism, and masculinities.

  • David Rogers (2013)
  • David Scoma (2008)

    Retired, Orlando, FL

  • Edward Scott (2009)

    Marketing Coordinator, Hearts Afire Inc, Sarasota, FL

    Dr. Scott has worked in print, radio, television and online journalism, advertising sales, public relations and market research during the past 30 years. He currently serves as marketing coordinator and office manager for Hearts Afire, a Sarasota-based non-profit organization which sends doctors, nurses, ministers and others on medical mission trips to Africa, Asia and Latin America.

  • Sonia Stephens (2012)

    Science Communicator, Coastal Hydroscience Analysis, Modeling, and Predictive Simulations Laboratory, College of Engineering and Computer Science, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

    Dr. Stephen's interests are in the field of science communication, particularly in using digital tools to communicate science. Her dissertation project, in which she developed an interactive visualization about biological evolution called a "Dynamic Evolutionary Map," focused on the visual metaphors used for science communication. Sonia is currently working on developing strategies and tools for communicating about climate change, sea level rise, and coastal dynamics. Her specialties include science communication, digital media, visual rhetoric, metaphor, and science education. In addition to her PhD from the T&T Program, Sonia has a MS in Botany and Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

    Other research questions include: How can science communicators effectively engage with the public on environmental and other science-related issues? What rhetorical strategies can be effectively employed in science communication to take advantage of new media? How can studies of visual rhetoric inform environmental communication strategies?

    Sonia was awarded the UCF College of Arts & Humanities award for Outstanding Dissertation in 2013.

  • Sherry Steward (2004)

    Director of Applied Research and Life Cycle Support, Sentel Corporation, Orlando, FL

    Sherry Steward is currently Director of Applied Research and Life Cycle Support for Sentel, a simulation and training company in Orlando, Florida. Dr. Steward is tasked with managing specialty engineering disciplines, integrated logistics support services, technical documentation developments, and simulation and training projects for military acquisitions. She has worked as a hardware and software technical writer assigned to military developments for 12 years before moving into management. Her specialty is Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals, legacy data conversion, and intelligent technical documentation.

    Dr. Steward manages simulations and modeling for Department of Defense clients and provides integrated logistics support for DoD, Northrop Grumman Corporation fighter aircraft, NAVAIR, the U.S. Army, and other military and civilian customers. She joined the company eight years ago, after working as a civilian employee with the Air Force Eastern Test Range. She was trained in software and hardware tech writing specialized in simulation and digital media during her doctoral work.

  • Joey Templeton (2007)

    Owner, Martial Arts Plus, Kissimmee, FL

  • Alissa Torres (2010)

    Chief Planner, Orange County Transportation Planning Division; Community, Environmental and Development Services Department, Orlando, FL

    Alissa Barber Torres, Ph.D., AICP, is a Chief Planner with Orange County Transportation Planning Division, where she manages multimodal corridor planning, comprehensive planning, strategic initiatives, and grantwriting projects. Alissa's research interests are the visualization, rhetoric, and technologies used by urban and regional planners in practice, and her dissertation investigates Central Florida's "How Shall We Grow?" regional community visioning scenario as technical and rhetorical communication.

    Dr. Torres has over nineteen years of experience in urban and regional planning that includes transportation, land use, economic development, growth management, and public participation in public, private, and regional planning agencies. Her work has been published in Practicing Planner, Terrain.org, Planning Commissioner's Journal, and Florida Planning and has been presented at a number of national and state conferences in technical communication and urban planning.

    Alissa holds a Master's Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Florida State University and a Ph.D. in Texts and Technology from the University of Central Florida. She serves as an adjunct instructor for UCF's urban and regional planning degree program and as a member of UCF's Planning Advisory Board, both in the School of Public Administration.

  • Tara Prakash Tripathi (2012)

    Faculty Associate, School of Letters and Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

    Dr. Tripathi teaches courses in multimedia writing and technical communication.

  • Mary Tripp (2012)

    Lecturer, Department of Writing & Rhetoric, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

    At UCF, Dr. Tripp teaches courses in first-year writing, digital literacies, and writing in digital environments. She mentors new writing teachers and is currently developing new methods for assessing learning and writing practices.

    Mary's research interests include Activity Theory, situated learning, self-efficacy research, engagement with writing practices, and new methodologies for examining extended and distributed agency in networked environments.

  • April Van Camp (2008)

    Chair, English Department, Indian River State College, Fort Pierce, FL

  • Elizabeth Weaver (2010)

    Language Arts teacher, Cypress Creek High School, Orlando, FL

  • Debra Winter (2009)

    Director of Communications, College of Graduate Studies, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

    Debra Winter is Director of Communications in the UCF College of Graduate Studies. Over the last 20 years, she has managed multiple areas in the College, from thesis and dissertation services to graduate catalog, College websites, and overall communications support for all areas in the College. She enjoys the varied work of her position, the inspiring people she works with in the College and across campus, and the excitement of effecting change in a large university like UCF.

  • Jennifer Wojton (2016)

    Instructor and Associate Chair, Department of Humanities and Communication, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL

  • Yuejiao Zhang (2010)

    Assistant Professor of English, University of Texas-Arlington, Arlington, TX

    Dr. Zhang has particular interest in creativity in technical Communication, the history of technical communication, and visual communication.

  • Aaron Zwintscher (2017)

    Adjunct Professor, Farmingdale State College, Farmingdale, NY
    Adjunct Professor, New York City College of Technology, New York, NY

    Dissertation: Noise Thinks the Anthropocene: An Experiment in Noise Poetics

Texts and Technology, Ph.D. Program • College of Arts & Humanities at the University of Central Florida
Phone: 407-823-0218 • Fax: 407-823-5156 • Website Technical Support: cahweb@ucf.edu