During my first two years of graduate studies in English, I was also a graduate staff assistant for the University of Washington’s (UW) Undergraduate Research Program (URP), where I served as an adviser, teaching assistant, and web developer. The two years I spent with the URP highly influenced my perception of how research is conducted in higher education, not to mention how it is defined and practiced differently across disciplines. For one, I learned how undergraduates can be active participants in any given research community, particularly when their labor is publicly recognized and their inquiry is institutionally supported.
Although I left the URP in 2006 to teach composition in the UW’s English department, I have continued to help undergraduates as well as graduate students find, apply for, and participate in research opportunities both on their campuses and off. Given my research is at the intersection of the humanities, new media, and technologies, I generally serve as a mentor in that capacity.
In 2009, two projects—“Googling Race and Gender: Decoding the Digitization of Asian Women,” by Seungwha Lee (pictured second image left), and “New Directions for the Non-Directive: Integrating Technology into Writing Centers,” by Nichole Poinski—were supported by the prestigious Mary Gates Endowment for Students Undergraduate Research Scholarship.
Many other students I mentored have presented their work at the UW’s Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium.
For this work, in 2009 I was honored by Undergraduate Academic Affairs and the Undergraduate Research Program with the UW’s annual Undergraduate Research Mentor Award. That same year, a group of UW undergraduates and I presented our research at the annual Computers and Writing Conference at the University of California, Davis.
My experiences as a research mentor also intersect with my ongoing community investments in digital scholarly communication and multimodal experimentation. Outside of teaching and writing at the University of Victoria (UVic), a large portion of my time is spent organizing events, online forums, and workshops with colleagues and students in English studies and digital humanities. Some recent examples of this work include:
Digital scholarship interests me not only because of its collaborative and multimodal character, but also because it can be accessed by an array of publics, who may be largely unfamiliar with fields such as digital humanities.
Yet digital scholarship cannot end at issues of access alone. It can also function as a vehicle for social change. Such change is as much a cultural matter as it is a technological one. And as my recent work (e.g., “Digital Collaboration and Publication,” “Democratizing Knowledge,” and “Novel Cartographies, New Correspondences”) demonstrates, I am increasingly curious about this notion of scholarship as intervention. By stressing the correspondences between online and offline habits, digital and analog materials, thinking and building, and information access and knowledge production, communities of digital practice can re-envision the dynamics between scholar and audience and even trouble the ways in which service, research, and teaching are typically parsed.
(The top four images on the left are from the 2008 Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities and courtesy of Axel Roesler. The fifth image is a screen shot of the THATCamp Victoria website. More details in my portfolio.)