Within my community, I volunteer to teach at the local library. The past two summers I taught a course on how to make comic books for adolescents. In this course, students learn how various comic book conventions such as panels, gutters, and bubbles can be used to convey content and achieve aesthetic goals. During the first summer of this program, I received a Summer Research Grant from the Learning, Literacies, and Technology program committee in order to conduct research as part of the program. I examined how students made decisions about design in their comic books including how they took up the various conventions they were taught as part of the program. Different aspects of this study are being presented at the National Council for Teachers of English Convention in November of 2017 and the Literacy Research Association's annual conference in December of 2017.
My relationship with the library allowed me to build a research partnership between the library and doctoral students at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. A total of five studies have been conducted by MLFTC's doctoral students in the past three years as a result. An on-going partnership is occurring through this connection and Alpha Upsilon Alpha.
For the past two years, I have served as one of the newsletter editors for the Literacy Research Association's Doctoral Student Innovative Community Group (DSICG). I initiated the rebranding of DSCIG. The goal of the rebranding initiative was to ensure that the newsletter presented our members in a professional light that equaled the research and professional presence of the individuals in our organization. The rebranding initiative has resulted in an extended readership and greater visibility for DSCIG.
In addition to rebranding the DSICG, I functioned as the graphic design arm of the newsletter. We purchased a design package which has been adapted over the past two years to meet the needs of the newsletter which is open to alternative formats of representation. This design has been taken up by our website design team, as well.
As a result of my rebranding initiative, the DSICG approved extending the newsletter editor staff, and the Literacy Research Association approved additional funding to support continued development of the newsletter.
Beyond the DSICG newsletter, I also collaborate with scholars from other institutions to organize a Comics and Graphic Novel lunch time study group at the Literacy Research Association's annual conference. This is my second year assisting with this project.