Former CDD Graduate Fellows
Former CDD Fellow Sara Ann Mehltretter with Madeleine Albright
- Laura Michael Brown is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English. She specializes in feminist historiography, public memory, rhetorics of race, and regional rhetorics. Her dissertation draws on archival and ethnographic research to examine contested public memories of civil rights struggles in Greensboro, North Carolina from 1960 to 2015. By analyzing how that community has debated and deliberated the meaning of its civil rights past, her project considers how public memories and regional identities are co-constructed. Brown holds a B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (2010) and an M.A. in English from Penn State (2013).
- Jeremy Cox is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, where he specializes in American public address and the rhetoric of public memory. His dissertation investigates American reactions to the Greek Revolution (1821-1829), which constituted a site of rhetorical struggle over the nation’s sense of democratic identity, obligation, and character. At stake in these various debates, speeches, poems, and essays was an overriding concern with what it meant to be an American democrat in an undemocratic world. He holds a B.A. in History from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (2006) and an M.A. in Communication Studies from Texas State University (2011).
- Claire Griffin is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Philosophy, where she specializes in ancient philosophy and 20th century continental philosophy. In her dissertation she examines Socrates’ philosophic practice as a critique of and alternative to existing discursive practices in ancient Athens. She argues that Socrates’ primary innovation is to institute and enforce a set of norms governing his own and his interlocutor’s speech, with the aim of transforming his interlocutors as epistemic and moral agents. She holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College, Annapolis (2009) and an M.A. in Philosophy from Penn State (2013).
- Kyle R. King is a Ph.D. candidate in Penn State’s English Department, where he specializes in rhetorical and cultural approaches to athletics. His dissertation builds a conceptual vocabulary suited to the rhetorical analysis of sports spectacle and assesses the resources and constraints athletes use and face as political and social activists. He has taught a variety of courses, including Rhetoric & Composition, Rhetoric & Civic Life, and Sports|Ethics|Literature, and received the 2015 Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award. He holds a B.A. in English from Mercyhurst College (2010) and an M.A. in English from Penn State (2012).
- Jessica A. Kurr is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, where she specializes in economic rhetoric, American public address, and argumentation theory. Her dissertation, focuses on how the chair of the Federal Reserve became an authoritative voice in contemporary economic debates. This work provides insight into how the how policy advocates translate complex economic ideas into a mode suitable for public discourse. Jessica also serves as the Director of Debate for the Penn State Speech & Debate Society. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh (2011) and a Master of Arts in Communication Studies from Baylor University (2013).
- Earl Holmes Brooks is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English. His area of research concerns intersections between jazz, African American literature, composition, and rhetoric. His dissertation project explores a gap within interdisciplinary scholarship concerning a direct conversation between the fields of musicology and rhetoric/composition regarding the rhetorical and pedagogical function of music in the public sphere as well as music composition and essayistic composition. This project engages African American music as strategic rhetorical interventions that do not only reflect, but also shape public discourse. I argue that the best of this music contributes to Cornel West’s notion of a “deep” democratic project where music is central to a creative democratic praxis that addresses critical issues of social justice and liberatory epistemologies.
- Anne Kretsinger-Harries is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences. She specializes in the rhetoric of historical controversies over memory, ideology, and identity. Her dissertation examines the mutually constitutive rhetoric of Civil War centennial commemorations and the “short” civil rights movement, from 1960 to 1965. Drawing on extensive archival research, she analyzes the rhetorical tensions between these events, which addressed many of the same political and ideological concerns—citizenship, democracy, freedom, and sacrifice. Kretsinger-Harries holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Kansas (2008) and an M.A. in Communication Arts and Sciences from Penn State (2011).
- Craig Rood is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, where he specializes in communication ethics, public memory, and public deliberation. His dissertation examines ascriptions of blame in the aftermath of mass shootings and how those ascriptions call for, or imply, changes in values, practices, and policies. The four case studies analyze the blame not only of shooters, but also of guns, mental health, citizenship, and the “culture of violence.” Rood’s prior research on deliberation has been published inVoices of Democracy, Pedagogy, and Rhetoric Review. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy/Humanities (2008) and an M.A. in Rhetoric/Composition from North Dakota State University (2011).
- Michael Bergmaier is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences specializing in deliberation and rhetorics of executive power. His dissertation examines how public and intergovernmental deliberation of foreign policy and national security programs is constrained by contemporary rhetorical practices. He also studies debate pedagogy, and has been awarded a grant from the Penn State Democracy Institute to investigate new, more accessible formats for high school and college debate. Bergmaier holds a B.A. in Political Science--International Relations from West Chester University (2008) and an M.A. in Communication Studies from Ball State University (2011).
- Kristopher Lotier is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English. He specializes in rhetoric and composition, critical theory, and cultural studies--particularly as those fields intersect with economics. His dissertation project reconsiders the history of composition from the 1960s through the present by connecting shifts in the theory and practice of writing instruction to those occurring in the world of post-industrial work (that is, people's jobs) more broadly. Lotier holds a B.S. in Marketing and a B.A. in English, both from the University of South Carolina (2008), as well as an M.A. in English from Penn State (2010).
- William O. Saas is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, where he specializes in rhetorics of war and peace. His dissertation examines how “public trust” is discursively negotiated in post-Vietnam U.S. war culture. His research on the rhetoric of war has been published insymplokē, Quarterly Journal of Speech (with Dr. Jeremy Engels), and Western Journal of Communication (with Dr. Donovan Conley). Saas holds an M.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (2010).
- Jessica Kuperavage is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences. Her research focuses on the rhetorics surrounding health and health campaigns. Her dissertation examines discourses of personal and governmental responsibility for public health – and particularly infant and maternal mortality - during the Progressive Era. She earned her B.A. in Communication Studies at Christopher Newport University in 2008 and her M.A. in Communication Arts and Sciences at Pennsylvania State University in 2010.
- Jason Maxwell is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English who specializes in critical theory, rhetoric, and economics. His dissertation, a disciplinary history of English studies since World War II, examines the emergence of literary theory and Rhetoric & Composition. He earned his B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2006 and his M.A. in English at Penn State in 2010.
- Sarah RudeWalker is a PhD candidate in Rhetoric and Composition in the Department of English's African American Language and Literature Emphasis. Her research interests include rhetorical criticism, twentieth century African American literature, and the literature and rhetorics of social movements. Her dissertation undertakes a rhetorical assessment of poetic work of the Black Arts Movement, the aesthetic arm of the Black Power Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, arguing that the movement's writers achieved far-reaching influence through rhetorical successes in arguing for the aesthetic value of Black language and culture.RudeWalker earned her BA in Political and Social Thought and the Modern Studies Program in English from the University of Virginia in 2002 and her MA in English from Penn State University in 2009.
- Heather Adams is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English who specializes in Rhetoric and Composition Studies. As a feminist historiographer, Heather is interested in women's rhetorics, rhetorics of space, and rhetorics of the body. Her dissertation project examines the discourses and silences of unwed pregnancy in 20th century U.S. culture. This project blends archival and ethnographic research in order to interrogate the shame, secrecy, and silences that circulate(d) in relation to out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Heather has earned a B.A. in English and Religion from Mount Union College, an M.A. in Communication from the University of Maryland, and an M.A. in English from Middlebury College's Bread Loaf School of English.
- Michael J. Faris is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English, focusing in Rhetoric and Composition. Michael's research and teaching interests include technology and rhetoric, digital rhetorics, technical communication, and sexuality studies. His dissertation project investigates notions and rhetorical practices related to privacy in social media settings. This investigation includes analyses of popular discourses and expectations around privacy online, discussions of practices related to privacy in digital settings, and analyses of interfaces (such as Facebook) for affordances related to privacy. Michael earned his B.A. in English Education and History from Iowa State University in 2003 and his M.A. in English, focusing in rhetoric and writing, from Oregon State in 2007.
- Adam Perry is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences. His scholarship focuses on rhetorical criticism, music, and social movements. In his dissertation, he examines the rhetorical campaigns by the political and cultural establishments against popular music in America during the last half of the twentieth-century and how these debates attempted to shape what was considered safe and permissible for Americans and democracy. He earned his B.A. in Communication in 2002 and his M.A. in Communication in 2005 from California State University, Fresno.
- Bonnie Sierlecki is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences focusing on public address, critical/cultural studies, and the rhetoric of sport. Her dissertation looks at how presidential rhetoric has employed sport and discourses of physical fitness to shape presidential image and character, to support policy agenda, and to define citizenship ideals. She earned her B.A. in Speech Communication from Ripon College in 2001, and her M.A. in Communication Arts and Sciences from Penn State in 2008.
During the 2010-2011 academic year, the graduate fellows program was on hiatus while the Center Directors took sabbatical.
- David Green is a Ph.D. candidate in English, with an emphasis in Rhetoric and Composition. He received a BA in English from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia and a MA in English from Penn State University in Pennsylvania. His scholarly interests include Ethnic Rhetorics, Political Theory, Performance studies, Cultural Studies, Composition Theory, Writing instruction, Hip Hop, and Publics Sphere Theory. His dissertation focuses on the discursive influences of Hip Hop culture on student writing practices and classroom instruction, drawing on this relationship to propose and theorize a more general connection between Hip Hop rhetoric and composition theory.
- Una Kimokeo-Goes is a Ph.D. Candidate in Communication Arts and Sciences and specializes in rhetoric, identity, and culture. Her dissertation examines the imperialist debates at the turn of the twentieth century and explores how notions of U.S. identity were used to confirm the American duty to expand but were also invoked to combat imperialist policies. Una received her BA from Willamette University in Salem Oregon in 2003 and her MA from Penn State in 2007.
- Sara Ann Mehltretter is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences. Her scholarship focuses on the rhetorical criticism of U.S. political discourse. In her dissertation, she analyzes the rhetoric of national security in the presidency during the Cold War. She earned her B.A. in Communication and Political Science from Boston College in 2005 and her M.A. from the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at Penn State in 2007.
- Kevin Browne is a Ph.D. candidate in Rhetoric and Composition. Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, he completed his undergraduate studies in English at the City University of New York. His scholarly interests include Rhetorical Theory, Cultural Studies, Literary Studies, and Research in Composition. His dissertation deals with the discursive practices of people of Caribbean heritage in the United States and their applications, as well as the myriad implications for democratic involvement and recognition in the American multiculture.
- Brandy Scalise is a doctoral candidate in English, with an emphasis in Rhetoric and Composition. Her dissertation addresses concepts of “wellbeing” in the work of religious health reformers during the Progressive Era, considering intersections between religion, medicine, and constructions of sacred and secular community. Her scholarly interests more broadly include religious rhetorics, women’s rhetorics, and histories and historiographies of rhetoric. Brandy received her BA in English and History from Bucknell University in 2001 and her MA in English from Penn State in 2006.
- Jessica Sheffield is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences. She studies rhetoric, technology, and community, particularly as they intersect in online communities. Her dissertation focuses on weblogs as sites of social activism. Jessica earned her M.A. in Communication Arts and Sciences from Penn State and her B.A. in Communication Arts from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
- Matt Weiss earned his B.A. in English (with a minor in Philosophy) at Haverford College in 2004, and his M.A. in English at Penn State in 2006. His scholarly interests include: histories and historiographies of rhetoric, technology studies, and theories of audience (and rhetorical theory more broadly). His dissertation project is an historical study of the effect of new technologies on concepts of audience. He will examine the example of the "rise" of the English newspaper/periodical (and the discussion thereof which led to Public Sphere Theory), and then apply that perspective to more contemporary examples of new media discourse (the concepts of audience produced by blogs and other discursive technologies).
- Mary Haman is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences. She studies social movement rhetoric, and her dissertation focuses on female activists during the Progressive Era. Mary earned her M.A. in Communication from Texas A&M University in 2005 and her B.A. in Communication Arts and Sciences from Penn State in 2003.
- Joshua A. Miller is completing his PhD in philosophy as Pennsylvania State University. His dissertation focuses on Hannah Arendt and democracy, deriving Arendt's unwritten theory of judgment from her archival material, with special attention to her critique of Kant, her rewritten dissertation on Augustine, and her accounts of revolution and institutional design. He has two articles forthcoming, one in Theoria and the other in Political Economy of the Good Society. In the Fall, he will be teaching as an adjunct at George Washington University
- Stacey Sheriff is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English. She studies the history of rhetoric and rhetorical criticism. Her dissertation is focused on rhetorical criticism and rhetoricians such as Jane Addams and Ida B. Wells who were engaged with issues of social justice during the American Progressive Era. Stacey earned her M.A. in English at the Pennsylvania State University in 2004 and her B.A. in English at Dartmouth College in 1998.