Featured Alumni Interviews: Brian Blackburne (Ph.D. in Texts and Technology, 2008)

Dr. Brian Blackburne begins the fall 2015 semester at Sam Houston State University as a newly promoted Associate Professor in Technical Communication, where he has worked since graduating from the Texts and Technology Program in 2008. In addition to teaching at SHSU, Dr. Blackburne has consulted with local and national corporations (e.g., Baker Hughes, Knoll, and Tubular Perforating Manufacturing) on projects ranging from internal process documentation to websites and digital-media films for consumers.

With 15 years of simultaneous experience in the academic and professional fields of technical communication, Dr. Blackburne has acquired a wide range of interests, such as web design, usability studies, process documentation, product development, pedagogy, and digital-media production. Similarly, Dr. Blackburne’s research spans a broad range, including pedagogy in traditional and online writing courses, the effects of style on everyday documentation, and issues of professionalization in student writing.

Dr. Blackburne has presented his scholarship at regional and national conferences, including SCMLA, CPTSC, ATTW, and CCCC. In 2012, he received the award for Departmental Outstanding Online Teaching from the Sam Houston State University College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and he continues to explore best practices for using digital learning tools in the online and face-to-face classroom. His article, Overcoming Workplace Writing Norms: Empowering Technical-Writing Students Through Stylistic Analysis, was featured in the Fall 2014 issue of Programmatic Perspectives, and a 10-year analysis of students’ e-mail habits, co-authored with Dr. Carroll Ferguson Nardone, is forthcoming.

Dr. Blackburne looks forward to spending time on his current research and working with his students on service-learning and client-based writing projects.

T&T Alumni Interview – June 24, 2015

Click here to download the audio Recording

What is your current job title and institutional affiliation?

BB: Currently, my title is assistant professor. I’m in the English department at Sam Houston State University, which is about seventy miles north of Houston, Texas. And I’m currently transitioning to associate professor, which will be official on the first of the new semester.

Was this your first position after receiving your doctoral degree?

BB: It was. I interviewed just a couple months after graduating from the T&T program.

When you were first looking for employment after receiving your doctoral degree, was it a challenge to communicate what exactly a degree in Texts and Technology meant?

BB: For me, it wasn’t a challenge because I graduated in late 2008 and the program had been around awhile. Several of the people on my interview committee were not only familiar with the program but they also knew people who had worked in it and had done research, so I didn’t feel like I had a challenge. My background was in the technical communication side of things, and I find that a lot of the people in tech com are well aware of the T&T program. There were a few people who weren’t as familiar, but I would just explain it to them in a pretty straightforward way, that I think played from my experiences of what it was.

What would you say is the most valuable part of having a T&T degree?

BB: I think that the value I took from it was being able to transition from being a practitioner of just producing technical professional documents (which I had a pretty decent background doing that before I came to T&T) to a stronger role in research and academia. I really wanted to start building a theoretical framework and find a research area and start developing an agenda. None of those things were familiar to me when I was looking at joining the program, and those were the things that really developed in the years that I was there.

How did your coursework in Texts and Technology help develop those skills?

BB: The coursework was fun. I miss it on a daily basis. We had such a fantastic environment in those courses. I’m sure it’s still the same. We’ve got these fantastic professors and these students from varied backgrounds and what I really enjoyed about my coursework was that we weren’t from the same areas. We had filmmakers next to historians next to librarians - all these people from different backgrounds who were really concerned with the way that texts and technology kind of functioned together. I think that in the coursework, just being in that kind of salon atmosphere where every day we just filled our heads with all these readings that have been assigned for the week, and just really got to talk and interact about the research and the theories that we were learning, was a great experience.

Now that you’re leading your own classroom, how do you use technology there, and how do you use technology in your research?

BB: Every day in the classroom I always make sure — I have to fight but I always make sure - I get computer-based classrooms so that my students have technology in front of them. I think that that’s important just because of being able to do things. I can watch them work and I can workshop with them. The thing I like about technology in the classroom is that you can be spontaneous. I might just fire up the overhead and we’ll pull up some website that I was looking at the night before, or maybe I’ll show them a really cool wiki that I think I’d like for them to work with, or we’ll watch a video of something. I like having the flexibility of technology in the classroom. I have taught online as well, whether it’s a hybrid course where we’re mediating half and half of the classroom experience online, or whether it’s exclusively online. I think I use it in a lot of the typical traditional ways, and I think that’s the way that it works best for me.

Do you structure your online courses differently from your physical courses because of the technology?

BB: I think you have to. At the same time, there’s always part of me that’s thinking of that meeting two or three times a week during a sixteen-week semester. The traditional classroom is always functioning somewhere in there, and some of the biggest issues I’ve had were trying to figure out ways of mediating traditional aspects of a classroom that I think work really well, like group conversations, small group discussions, and things like that. Sometimes we’ve had technological issues at my university with those. So there is certainly a much different structure to the course for the online version, but I do try to bring in the things that I think really work from the face-to-face.

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

BB: Yes, I’ve always got a couple projects going it seems like. The most recent one, and it’s one that actually ties in some of the stuff that I was doing at UCF. Dr. Carol Nardone and I worked together, and conducted a ten-year study of email communication habits that students in technical writing courses were exhibiting when they wrote to their professors. So we had to come up with a coding schema, we had to get blind reviewers in on all these different things (things that I had never been able to do until I was through the T&T program), and set up this really interesting methodology to see, not to quibble over, whether students were writing, literally, different words or using slang or things like that, but to look at rhetorical awareness in the ways that they were approaching their audiences and using the media to their advantage or disadvantage. So we worked on that and that was developed into a pretty lengthy piece that’s now under second review. Hopefully it will be out soon. We found some really interesting stuff from that, and part of the emails that we were looking at were from students when I was teaching in the T&T program, so I was thinking of them when I was going through and trying to fill all this stuff together.

So Texts and Technology definitely shaped your current research agenda?

BB: Absolutely. When I was looking for a Ph.D. program, I really didn’t know what my research agenda was, and I don’t think I really understood what that meant when people were asking me. I found that to be the most intimidating thing - being able to articulate that. And through all the coursework, and all the projects, and funded things that I did outside of school or alongside of my coursework, I really was exposed to what research is and what it can be, and how you can use your own interests and your own experiences and develop those into your agenda. So, absolutely. T&T helped me put all that together.

How do you define “Texts and Technology” to colleagues from outside of the program?

BB: Personally, because it’s what it was for me, I say—if they don’t know—I say it’s technical writing, meets rhetoric, meets media studies or digital media. Because those are the three things that I had experience in or that I’ve now had experience in that are most interesting to me. So that was kind of how I formed my T&T experience, or my personal take on it.

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

BB: There were actually quite a few, but for me one of the most singular ones was the very first semester in my coursework, taking the intro course that for a lot people can be intimidating just because the amount of reading and the theories that we were being introduced to. That was literally the first course that I took, the first semester, the first one that met that week. It was in that course that I stumbled upon a very interesting research topic that I ultimately developed into my dissertation. So, that was something that seemed really enigmatic at the time. How am I ever going to write a dissertation, or find something worth studying, and I did discover it in that course, in that first course, and so it has always stood out. That’s just one.

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

BB: Absolutely. I know that—I was very privileged to work on some projects that were being funded—NSF projects that were being run out of UCF on a larger scale, such as the Waters Journey through the Everglades project. And some of the T&T faculty were also able to bring in some of the students to help develop things like focus group methodologies, and we actually got to go out to an elementary school and conducted focus groups with these kids just to find out how they viewed an ecological cycle, and what they thought about going to a museum, and what they might want to see in an exhibit. And things like that, even though it felt very classroom-based, it really had nothing to do with the course that I was taking per say. It wasn’t really one of the courses, it was just one of the cool things that you kind of get roped into when you’re working with all these faculty who are doing all these interesting projects on the side.

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

BB: I think it’s just important to keep building a kind of brand recognition. One of the first questions you asked me is, “Do people have a hard time understanding what T&T is,” and we would always talk about that when I started in 2004, and so we were always asking, “What is Texts and Technology?” Or the professors would ask us, “How are you going to define that,” or, “What does that mean to you?” And, at the time, it seemed more of a question that we were grappling with, and now to me it feels like a really intuitive thing, but I also would expect that some people might not come to that realization as easily, so I think it’s important to keep pushing the name. And I’m glad the program has kept the name, because some programs just change if they think it’s not as recognizable or such a hot brand commodity. Then they’ll just lose it. So I think that’s important, just to keep building that, and to keep cultivating the types of scholars that I’ve seen go through the program: people who are just doing all sorts of things. Not working only in one area or one discipline or writing or rhetoric or media. I think that those are really the key things. I think the program has been doing that, and that’s what I would like to see it keep doing.

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

BB: I think if a student is currently in the program and reading this, I would say don’t worry about your career right now. Really focus on the program. It’s such a fantastic experience and opportunity that you won’t always have: to be able to walk into these classrooms and sit with such a collegial and like-minded group of people and have the types of conversations that you’re going to have. I think that’s so important because when you get that stuff down, once you’ve understood what you’re doing there and how you’re in this discourse community, creating knowledge amongst yourselves, and you’re adding to your own personal repositories. Then, you can start filling in the gaps in your own personal professional lives. I think there’s this mentality that all students have where they immediately start looking toward the end of the program. What am I going to do when I get out? How much money am I going to make? Where will I get a job? You can never answer those questions. If you could, I don’t think you would be in the program. You would have just gone straight on to it. So I think it’s really important just to absorb the program while you’re in it, and know that opportunities are there, and I think that there are going to be a lot of people interested in the skills that you cultivate for yourselves. Your knowledge.

How can the program better engage with alumni?

BB: I think just continuity in reaching out to people and the ways that you do it. When I first graduated, I saw a lot from UCF and I didn’t see so much from the program. But I’ve really seen that change in the last couple of years. There’s a Facebook page going now. We’re doing things like this. I’ve gone to the Texts and Technology program webpage. Of course, I’m glad to see that it’s been developed over the years, and it’s changed. That’s important. It’s also a way to keep tabs on what people are doing and where people have gone. I think those are all important, because once you get to the alumni phase, once you’re out there working in whatever field or university you would end up at, it’s easy to lose track. It’s not always easy to read that email as soon as it comes in, but having a clear place to go back to, a website to go refer to, a Facebook page to log on to, those are easy ways to just keep going or to maintain the relationship at your own pace, and I think that’s helpful. I think that’s a strength and I’d like to see that keep going. More ways that I know I can go find stuff on T&T. I love getting emails, but sometimes I may not have absorbed everything. So, knowing where I can go find things, that’s important.

What do you see as the future for the field of Texts and Technology?

BB: I think the field is going to keep growing, because, let’s face it, digital media, social media, texts—however you view them — whether they’re film, written words on a page - we’re certainly not going to see any diminished growth in those types of media, and I think it’s just going to keep going. And as people are starting to ask smarter questions—the general public doesn’t just want to know, “What can I do,” but, “Why should I do,” or, “How can I do,” or, “How can I reach people in different ways with these things?” I think society in general is appreciating the ability to parse all of these messages and to make smart decisions, and the T&T program is, from my experience, interested in producing people who are not just able to do that, but who are leading the way in doing that. I think the need is going to be there, and as long as the program is reaching out to the right types of people and getting people interested, it’s just going to keep going. I think it will continue to grow.

Any closing thoughts? Last advice?

BB: Just enjoy yourselves. I went to the T&T website before I ever really started applying to schools. I went and looked at a lot of programs that I was interested in, and there was an immediate chord that was struck between me and Texts and Technology somehow, and so I would say if you’re in the program, you’re in a great place. Stick with it. If you’re looking for a program, this could be a fantastic fit for you, and I think that you should really look at what this program is doing and how it’s differentiating itself from some of the other Ph.D. programs that are out there, that other people might think, “That’s the same thing.” It’s a special thing and I would tell people to really consider it. If you are lucky enough to find yourself roaming the halls of UCF in the T&T program, then by all means soak it up and make the most of this because it’s a once in a lifetime experience.

Alumni

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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