Summer 2018 Recap

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Well, almost nonexistent and probably accidental audience, it has been quite a long time. I thought I had abandoned it entirely, but here I am giving a “season recap” on my academic life — a side of my life I need to stay  accountable too without letting it engulf all others. It was a fine semester and summer — did my prospectus reading, worked at the University Writing Center, went to Ireland, and wrote essays on Marvel movies for the internet for fun.

Now, here’s what happened last season on “Colclough.”

Flash Fellowship Project 2018

On May 5, 2018, the Digital Writing and Research Lab had an open house for the staff to demonstrate our projects for the 2017-2018 academic year. My project was to digitally archive every article published in The New York Times containing the term “bot” on a single digital platform and then use text-mining tools to identify  chronological patterns in the term’s changing definitions, context, and frequency of use.

Bots Through the Times poster

I have updated and fine-tuned the research since the DWRL Showcase. I intend to write a blog post providing a description of the project, how I have continued it, and my plans for the project’s future. Until then, I have only a scrappy presentation  I had prepared for the DWRL Showcase to accompany a verbal explanation.

RSA 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota

My presentation “Haunted Media and the Future of Rhetoric in Democracy” had been accepted (abstract available here). I had an outline presentation. I had the slides (but only a few to lessen distraction).

Then I got sick. Right after I returned to Texas from Ireland. I thought I could muscle through. I had not been to a conference in SO long. This was an opportunity to put a conference line on my resume that really mattered. So I went to Minneapolis anyway.

And got sicker. Started running a fever. Which meant I also missed out on all the other presentations, which is a bit like going to ACL and catching the flu for academics. But while playing The World’s Smallest Violin Just For the Grad Student, I had to admit, just an excuse to be in Minneapolis again even if only for a hot minute was almost worth it. Besides, if I hadn’t tried to go, I’d be kicking myself now wondering “but what if you had just tried to tough it out?”

Worked at the University Writing Center

Worked one on one with students, learned how to give presentations on a variety of subjects involving writing process and genre, had flashbacks to my own college days, and was disconcertingly called “ma’am” by kids who are the same age as my brothers. This bugs me less from a gender dysphoria reason and more of a “damn am I that old to you?”  Worked on administrative projects including  transcribing an interview that Austin-based playwright Rupert Reyes gave with the UWC’s How We Write podcast, and doing intensive research on non-UT affiliated mental health services in Austin including documenting payment methods and average cost.

Re-Did my Website Information:

Finally got around to updating my “About” section to reflect current research interests and employment. I decided to say that I got my MA in 2018. In actuality, I finished and passed the MA report in summer 2017. However, due to issues involving paperwork that were entirely my fault, I did not technically receive the the MA until 2018. I decided to update my online info to reflect that because I do not want there to be an inconsistency in my academic history.

Also I did not put the title of my MA report in the “About” because may all apocalypses commence before that rambly, badly written, under-conceived MA report see the light of day.

Prospectus Reading

Currently working on my prospectus reading. Taking exam this fall. Gods help us all. And by “all” I mean me and my sleep hygiene.