Ph.D. Students

Profiles of the Ph.D. students in the English Department at the University of Louisville
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Olalekan Adepoju

writing studies | ESL teaching | discourse analysis | digital rhetoric

Olalekan Adepoju is a Ph.D. student in Rhetoric and Composition. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in English Education and Master of Arts degree in English from University of Ilorin, Nigeria and University of Ibadan, Nigeria respectively. His research interests lie primarily in writing studies, discourse analysis, ESL teaching, and sociolinguistics among others. He has continued to pursue these interests by publishing papers on the subjects and other issues of academic interest to him in peer-reviewed journals.

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Charlotte Asmuth

rhetorical genre studies | writing program administration | writing in the disciplines

I’m a Ph.D. student with an M.A. (concentration in composition and pedagogy) from the University of Maine. Broadly, I’m interested in exploring how people understand the work that they do or don’t do within institutional settings and how they use documents (like assessment rubrics, personal statements, etc.) to accomplish that work. I’m especially interested in bringing insights from Rhetorical Genre Studies to bear on work in writing program administration and teacher development, and in using corpus analysis as a teaching tool in the writing classroom. Outside of teaching and academia, I enjoy spending time with my elderly pit bull, perfecting my chocolate chip cookie recipe, and dreaming of my next coastal bike trip.

Michael Benjamin

literacy studies | critical pedagogy | cultural rhetorics

Michael is a Ph.D. student in Rhetoric and Composition. He earned an M.A. in English at St. John’s University, where he served as a graduate assistant in the University Writing Center. He has also taught English in Slovakia as a Fulbright Fellow and taught first-year composition at multiple universities across New York. His current research interests include writing center studies, critical pedagogy, popular culture, and literacy. He also enjoys nerding out about hip hop, food, anything Queens, New York-related, and pro football.

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Megen Farrow Boyett

transnational feminism | motherhood studies | non-profit business writing | literacy

Megen Farrow Boyett is a Ph.D. student who also completed her M.A. at the University of Louisville. Her research interests include engaged scholarship, in and out of the classroom; transnational feminism work; and motherhood studies especially as they relate to mobilities and labor practices. She has taught several courses with service-learning components, including a business writing course focused on writing non-profits, in which student groups collaborated with local organizations to complete research, writing, and media projects. Currently, she's interested in studying how refugee mothers' literacy practices, both existent and emergent, disrupt public discourse about the population.

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Caitlin Burns

archival research | feminist methodology | activist rhetorics | rhetoric of social media

Caitlin Burns is a Ph.D. student in the Rhetoric and Composition program at the University of Louisville. She earned her B.A. in English and M.A. in Composition, Rhetoric, and English Studies at The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, where she was also a first-year writing instructor and assistant director of the University Writing Center. Her research interests include archival research, feminist methodology, activist rhetorics, and the rhetoric of social media. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, yoga, and hanging out with her cat, Jack.

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Stephen Cohen

writing | health rhetorics | disability | narrative theory

A California native, I earned my undergraduate degree in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University before moving on to earn an M.A. in English at California Polytechnic State University in the very happy town of San Luis Obispo. During my stay on California's central coast, I taught Composition courses at Cal Poly and Literature and Critical Thinking courses at Allan Hancock and Hartnell Colleges. My research interests are at the intersection of narrative theory, identity, and disability studies, and I'm currently teaching Composition, Business Writing, and Introduction to Writing Studies courses at Penn State Abington.

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Aubrie Cox

writing center studies | sonic and visual rhetorics | embodiment | hybrid genre

Aubrie Cox is a Ph.D. student in rhetoric and composition, and has an M.F.A. from Temple University and an M.A. in creative writing from Ball State University. Her background includes micro poetics, publishing, and first year writing pedagogy. She is working on a hybrid genre manuscript on writing with disability, and is interested in the way disability informs her research practices. Since moving to Louisville, she has served as the assistant director for the University Virtual Writing Center and has joined the Young Professionals Board for Sarabande Books. Her current research explores nostalgia and public memory through an oral history project surrounding the former landmark record store ear X-tacy in Louisville, KY.

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Cooper Day

environmental rhetoric | ecocomposition | public memory | writing in the disciplines

Cooper Day is a Ph.D. Student in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Louisville. He earned an M.A. in Rhetoric and Composition at Texas State University, focusing primarily on students transfer of writing skills beyond the first-year writing classroom. He earned a B.A. in Writing and Rhetoric at St. Edward’s University with a focus on professional writing. His research interests include environmental rhetoric, public memory, ecocomposition, WAC, WID, transfer, science and technical writing, and professional writing.

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Edward English

religious rhetoric | critical pedagogy | comparative rhetoric

Edward English is a Ph.D. student in Composition and Rhetoric. Prior to his studies at the University of Louisville he taught English Language and Literature at Universidad Del Norte in Barranquilla, Colombia. Years back when he was working on his M.A. at the University of Oklahoma, he developed an interest in adapting teaching methodologies to help non-native English speakers in writing classrooms. This interest led him to teach English all over the globe including in India, Panama, China, Austria, and Italy. Currently much of his academic interests center on the Rhetoric of Social Change, Critical Pedagogy, Religious Rhetoric (especially Jesuit Rhetoric), and the Intellectual Dark Web.

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Joseph Franklin

multilingual writing | writing centers | composition pedagogy

Joe Franklin is a Ph.D. student in Rhetoric and Composition. He has an M.A. in Composition and Rhetoric from Miami University. He has taught in South Korea, Brazil, and the UK. His research interests include multi/translingual writing, identity, culture, writing centers (both foreign and domestic), and composition pedagogy. He is a believer in the Oxford comma, the music of GoGo Penguin, and bicycles.

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Lauren Fusilier

multimodal pedagogy | digital literacies | writing center studies | environmental rhetorics

Lauren is a Ph.D. student pursuing a degree in Rhetoric and Composition. She earned an M.F.A. in fiction from Florida State University and has spent five years teaching first-year composition and working in Writing Centers in New York City. Her current research interests include multimodal pedagogy, the intersection of digital literacies and Writing Centers, and accessibility issues. She loves hiking with her hound dog Darlene, cooking Cajun food, and exploring Louisville’s art scene.

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Jeb Herrin

composition pedagogy | creative writing pedagogy | trauma-informed writing practices | public memory

Jeb A. Herrin is a Ph.D. student with an M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His research interests include the crossovers in Composition and Creative Writing pedagogies, trauma-informed writing practices for Veterans, and public memory. He has given several workshops helping Veterans explore PTSD through poetry, and he is currently interested in studying how military personnel use lip dub and musical parody videos to bridge the gap between deployments to combat theaters and their families back home.

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N. Claire Jackson

educational transitions | writing development | writing program administration | writing pedagogies

Claire Jackson is a Ph.D. Student in Rhetoric and Composition. Prior to her time at the University of Louisville, she taught English at high schools in rural Maine and FYW at the University of Maine, where she earned her M.A. Through her work with the Maine Council for English Language Arts and the Maine Department of Education, she attempted to increase collaborations between high school and college writing instructors. Her research interests include high school to college transitions (especially for rural students), dual credit/concurrent enrollment composition,  writing program administration, and writing about writing pedagogies.

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Tobias Lee

translingualism | transnational composition | writing program administration | mobility studies

Tobias Lee is a Ph.D. student currently on fellowship.  With an M.A. in TESOL and a B.A. in English Literature, his background is in English for academic purposes, second language writing, and ELT.  He has taught for thirteen years in universities across southeast Asia and the Arabian Peninsula, most recently in Qatar. His research interests lie mainly in transnational composition, with occasional forays into community engagement and public memory.  He still puts two spaces after periods, and if he's not studying, he's probably on a bike ride.

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Shiva Hari Mainaly

Shiva Hari Mainaly is a Ph.D. student in rhetoric and composition.

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Jessica Newman

writing center studies | community engaged scholarship | listening studies

Jessica Newman is a Ph.D. student in rhetoric and composition. Her research interests include writing center studies, community engaged scholarship and listening studies. She is currently exploring the roles that listening plays in writing center sessions both on campus with university members and off campus with community partners. Jessica has earned an M.A. in language and literacy from the City College of New York, an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Notre Dame and an Sc.B. in cognitive science from Brown University.

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Amy Nichols

community literacy | rural studies | writing centers | Appalachian studies | hemispheric and postcolonial studies | feminist methodologies

Amy McCleese Nichols is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in community literacy and writing center work. Her in-progress dissertation focuses on a new method of qualitative partnership mapping to highlight the dense network of literacy providers in a small rural community and deepen understandings of rural community literacy as articulated by citizens. She received her B.A. in English from Transylvania University and a M.A. in English from the University of Louisville. She currently serves as the Director of Writing Resources and Associate Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky.

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Caitlin Ray

disability studies | medical rhetoric | graduate student writing | teaching pedagogy

Caitlin Ray is a Ph.D. student in Composition and Rhetoric, focusing on Disability Studies, Medical Rhetoric, graduate student writing, and teaching pedagogy. Caitlin received her BA in Theatre and English from Hamline University, and a M.A. in English from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Her M.A. thesis was entitled, “’Calming These Nerves’: The Politics of Gender and Disability in Fibromyalgia Rhetoric.” In addition to teaching courses in composition, literature, and professional writing, she has held the Morton RA position with Dr. Lutz and the Assistant Director for Graduate Student Writing position at the University Writing Center.


Taylor Riley

creative writing | feminist rhetorics | journalism

Taylor Riley is a graduate teaching assistant pursuing her Ph.D in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Louisville. She earned her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Kentucky and her M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction Writing at Spalding University. She has worked as an award-winning professional print and online journalist for a decade with work in USA Today, Courier Journal, regional magazines and as an editor at several community newspapers. Taylor has also published essays in national literary magazines and online publications like Refinery29. She enjoys reading, listening and watching anything on true crime, drinking all the coffee and snuggling with her black lab mixes, Molly and Max.

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Rachel Rodriguez

community college | writing center | feminism | alterity

Rachel Rodriguez is a Ph.D. Fellow in Rhetoric and Composition. In 2009, she earned a B.A. in English and Spanish from McDaniel College in Maryland, and in 2011 an M.A. in English with a concentration in Gender and Literature from the University of Maine. Before coming to the University of Louisville, she worked as the Writing Specialist at Chesapeake College’s Academic Support Center. She plans on studying community colleges, writing centers, and marginalized student writers. She is also interested in Women’s and Gender Studies. Rachel chose the University of Louisville because of the sense of departmental community and the engagement of faculty in graduate student support.

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Joseph Sharp

epideixis | sophistic rhetoric | sovereignty | fürstenspiegel

Jeb Sharp is a Ph.D. student in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Louisville. He has earned a B.S. in English from Troy University and an M.A. in English from Auburn University. Outside of academia, he has worked as a newspaper reporter and taught English in Japan. His current research interests include rhetoric in the medieval period, sophistic rhetoric, and political theory. Having come from the small town of Troy, Alabama via the very small town of Kutchan, Japan, he is enjoying adjusting to life in the city.

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Brittany Smart

medical rhetorics | digital & multimodal literacies | narrative studies in research/writing | feminist rhetorics/pedagogies

Brittany Smart is a graduate teaching assistant pursuing her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Louisville. She earned her B.A. and M.A. in English from Northern Kentucky University, where she published a paper in Sigma Tau Delta’s Pentangle magazine, wrote journal articles and book reviews, and edited novels for McWood Publishing in Cincinnati. Brittany has also published poetry in magazines such as Levee and Gravitas, and some of her favorite poets include John Keats, Muriel Rukeyser, Rainer Maria Rilke, and H.D. In her free time, she enjoys snuggling with her chihuahua, Cosmo.

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Walker Smith

queer and Native rhetorics | affect | digital media | archival research methods

Walker is a Ph.D. student in rhetoric and composition at the University of Louisville. He earned his M.A. at Oklahoma State University, where his thesis challenged the status of the U.S. as the center of queer theoretical production, and he has taught first-year writing and developmental writing at Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma City Community College. His current research interests include rhetorical theory, especially as it intersects with queer theory, gender and sexuality, and Native studies; theories of digital media, film, and multi/transmodality; and how we use archives to make knowledge and teach academic research. He is also a volunteer at Church Clarity, a crowdsourced project that scores churches based on their LGBTQ and women-in-leadership policies.

Liz Soule

Liz Soule

writing center studies | writing in the disciplines | first-year composition pedagogy

Liz is a Ph.D. student at the University of Louisville. She graduated from Salem State University with a B.S. in Education and a B.A. in English. Liz has spent the majority of her graduate career working in the University Writing Center, and more recently, has worked primarily with writers in the health sciences. Her research interests are rooted in writing center and composition studies, more specifically writing in the disciplines and first-year composition pedagogy. Outside of academia, Liz enjoys swimming, cooking, video games and making best friends with strangers' dogs on the street.

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Christopher Stuck

spatial rhetorics | science rhetorics and writing | public memory and popular communication | gender

Christopher is a Ph.D. student in Rhetoric and Composition. He earned his M.A. in English at the University of South Carolina and a B.A. in English at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, WA. His current research interests lie in confluences of memory, gender, natural sciences, pop culture, and pop communication, leading him to write about dodos, dinosaurs, and paleontologists.

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Alex Way

translingualism | composition pedagogies | translation | multilingual writing

Alex Way is a Ph.D. student in Rhetoric and Composition. He has taught English for Academic Purposes (EAP) at Kanazawa University in Japan, and English Composition at Washington State University where he received his M.A. His research interests include the sociolinguistics of writing, translingual pedagogies, translation as a pedagogical tool, and non-alphabetic literacies. In his free time he enjoys running, traveling, and learning languages.