Community engagement work is central to my life as a researcher, teacher, and person. I believe that relationships between communities and universities should be mutually beneficial, responsive, and productive; that is, they should extend beyond one-time outings, and be rooted in the personal relationships that initially spawn them, even when they grow beyond what we initially imagined. Building community is an intentional act and requires careful attention to stakeholder needs. Over the last several years, I've worked with several groups through course projects and on my own, including:
tamarack foundation for the arts
Over the last year, I have been working with Tamarack Foundation for the Arts (TFA) on a participatory research project designed to document cultural inequity in the arts in communities across West Virginia. This work is designed to produce internal guidance for TFA, as well as public-facing materials meant for artists, nonprofit organizations, and academics interested in cultural equity work.
west virgina and regional history center
Students in two sections of Multimedia Writing conducted archival research on The Battle of Blair Mountain and created online exhibits in honor of the 100th anniversary of the battle as part of a client project for the West Virginia and Regional History Center (WVRHC). They worked in teams, sifting through newspaper articles, photographs, and other materials to create compelling and engaging webpages using Omeka, highlighting different aspects of the largest labor uprising in West Virginia. Their exhibits are available here.
appalachian prison book project
When I moved to Morgantown, I started volunteering with the Appalachian Prison Book Project (APBP). This organization is dedciated to promoting education and literacy in prisons, based on a shared belief that education is a basic human right, and that engaging the community in educational justice efforts is a requisite component to building sustainable restorative justice models. In June 2020, I was elected as the Secretary for APBP, a role in which I have attended to documentation and archiving, along other duties.
ohio valley environmental coalition
For a year, a colleague in Geography (Martina Angela Caretta, Lund University) and I partnered with the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (now defunct) to seek out perspectives of people leaving near natural gas pipeline development in West Virginia.
girls on the run of north central west virginia
In Spring 2020, students in my Business/Professional Writing course worked with the North Central chapter of Girls on the Run to develop promotional and training materials for their annual event, the May 5K. Students worked in teams to draft press releases, social media content, letters to participating schools, and training materials for volunteers.
highlander research and education center
For a year, I partnered with a fellowship program sponsored by the Highlander Center, an organization dedicated to grassroots organizing in the Appalachian and Southern region of the United States. I worked with program participants to design a participatory project and document their experiences working across the Appalachian region.
city of west lafayette, indiana
During the Spring 2018 semester, students in my Multimedia Writing course worked with the City of West Lafayette to address issues within the city that require more public visibility. Since our course focused on issues and ethics of digital distribution and circulation, students crafted materials that informed citizens about currently unfolding issues and heightened the visibility of the city itself. Groups developed a range of deliverables, including an action plan for crisis communication, Snapchat geo-filters and a social media management manual, and a branding-design recommendation report and portfolio.
Multimedia Writing students in Spring 2017 worked with GrowLocal Lafayette, an urban gardening network, to utilize theories of digital creation and circulation discussed in class to create public-facing marketing materials, such as posters, signs, Facebook pages and groups, promotional videos, and the group’s official website. I have continued this partnership by serving as the Social Media and Marketing Chair for the group, maintaining their digital presence.
tippecanoe master gardener's association
After completing the mandatory 45-hour education portion of the program offered through the Tippecanoe County branch of the Purdue Agricultural Extension, I joined the Tippecanoe County Master Gardener's Association in January 2017. My responsiblities include writing for the monthly newsletter, The Garden Beet, working on several plots in the demonstration and community gardens at the Extension office, and participating in continuing education seminars around the county. I have received the Master Gardener rank.
purdue university's center for advocacy, response, and education (CARE)
During the Spring 2016 semester, Business Writing students partnered with the then-newly established Center for Advocacy, Response, and Education (CARE) on Purdue’s campus to conduct original research with the Purdue student body and to craft training materials for peer advocacy programs on topics such as digital sexual harassment, bystander intervention, the role of Greek life in sexual assault rates, and consent.
food finders food bank
While enrolled in a Rhetorics of Engagement and Experience seminar taught by Jennifer Bay (Fall 2015), I worked with other graduate students to develop training materials for Food Finder's new community pantry, including resources for a two hour-long interactive training workshop for pantry volunteers. These materials were developed after extensive primary research, including interviews and site observations with other pantries in town, and received monetary support from Purdue's Office of Engagement.