Starting in January 2017 and going until I run out of books (so hopefully a very long time), I'm going to be leading an online book club of sorts where I will only be reading books written by women and diverse or marginalized writers. These are the people who don't have a leg up in the publishing industry, and they really should. I hope that people join me in reading diverse books, because we all need a little light in the darkness. My TBR list can be found here (reorganized and edited regularly so that people know what I'm reading next) and my collected reviews of qualifying books can be found here.
I especially enjoy writing fiction, and I always have something that I'm working on in this realm. I have, so far, finished seven novel-length pieces of fiction and have several more new ideas floating around in my head. SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL, a Young Adult LGBT novel, will be published by Pen Name Publishing in the Spring of 2017. In November 2016, my short story "Stay a Little Longer" was published in On Life and Living: An Anthology.
Though I've always been a reader, I started writing official book reviews for two different sites starting in the fall of 2016. Fangirlish is a website devoted to the things that that we (a collective group of young-ish women) love. I am the resident book reviewer; you can view all of my book reviews here. Booknista is a website devoted to young and new adult books and television shows. I am one of four regular reviewers over there (you can call me Nerd Lady), handling mostly young and new adult books, and soon, recaps of the Bachelor. You can view my reviews and articles here.
The Online Community of Tumblr - Completed in April 2014 and published in the Spring 2014 issue of Techniques
This article was written to serve two purposes. First, it completed an assignment in the Technical Documentation course, and second, it was published in the Spring 2014 issue of Techniques, which serves Minnesota State University, Mankato’s chapter of the Society of Technical Communication. The assignment itself was pretty broad—the topic for the Spring 2014 issue of Techniques was set to focus on the community aspect of communications. Because of my interest in social media, I chose to write about an online community, specifically the online community of Tumblr (a blogging platform), which is especially inclusive to those both in niche “fandoms” and in general. The audience for this article was two-fold, like the assignment: both my course instructor and the readers of Techniques, which may include other students and professors in technical communication at Minnesota State University, Mankato. My purpose in writing the piece was to share the results of some primary research I did in the form of a Survey Monkey survey that I advertised only on Tumblr. The survey was intended to ask about the community aspects of Tumblr, and then got into some deeper issues that I hoped to delve into in the paper.
Rhetoric of Social Media in the Clothing Industry - Completed in May 2014 for course in Rhetorical Theory
This research paper was written for the Rhetorical Theory course in the spring of 2014. The assignment was to apply rhetorical theories to a topic of interest. At this time in my life, I had just begun a part time job as a merchandiser for an online jewelry company, so my initial idea was to stay within the fashion industry. In the end, it was easier to find research on specific clothing brands than it was to stay within fashion as a whole, so I shifted my topic as the semester went along. The audience for this paper included the course instructor (Dr. MacKenzie), along with anyone interested in the rhetoric of social media or how the clothing industry communicates with consumers. The purpose of the paper was to discuss the rhetoric that clothing industries use to communicate with consumers specifically on social media. When I chose this topic, I knew it was an unexpected topic for the course. I was and am interested in social media and how people communicate on social media (which comes up in other assignments I’ve done), and I had a lot of fun conducting the research for this paper.
Life with Just a Hint of Lyme - Completed in June 2014 for course in Science Writing
This article was written for the Science Writing topics course in the summer of 2014. The assignment was to choose a mainstream publication and a topic related to science writing, then write an article that could feasibly appear in the publication. The article had to be less than 800 words and contain outside research, even if it was minimal. The audience consisted of the course instructor and students and potentially the readers of the intended publication. I chose Runner’s World because I love to run, and Lyme Disease because I have experienced it first hand. My purpose was to educate readers about the risks associated with Lyme Disease, and with the new research that corroborates what I’ve known for years—that Lyme Disease can continue to affect sufferers long after the infection has left the body.
Experimental Evidence of Massive-Scale Emotional Contagion through Social Networks - Completed in July 2014 and presented in course in Ethics in Technical Communication
This presentation was originally given as a part of the Ethics in Technical Communication topics course in the summer of 2014. It was rerecorded for the purposes of this portfolio. The assignment was to find a fairly recent publication (preferably from a peer-reviewed journal) that dealt with ethics in some form and prepare a short presentation for the class. I chose another social media platform as the subject of my presentation. While I was taking this ethics course, the big Facebook study of the summer came out, which was the perfect academic journal article to base my presentation on. The intended audience was the course instructor and my classmates, although this may be of interest to people who are interested in both Facebook and ethics, as well. The purpose of my presentation was to present a well-rounded argument of the ethical issues at play in the journal article. In the case of this particular study, it wasn’t difficult—Facebook did not seek IRB approval before conducting this study.
How to Give a Good Presentation - Completed in November 2014 and presented as a seminar to students in Twin Cities Engineering program
This presentation was originally given as a seminar for the engineering students at Twin Cities Engineering in the fall of 2014. It was rerecorded for the purposes of this portfolio. Beginning in September 2014, I began work as the graduate teaching assistant to a new undergraduate integrated engineering program called Twin Cities Engineering. It is a discussion-based untraditional engineering program that prepares graduates for industry experience. One of the program outcomes includes presentations, so I, as the Teaching Assistant, presented a seminar to them about aspects of a good presentation. The audience for this presentation were the engineering faculty and students at TCE, along with anyone else who may be interested in tips and tricks for presentations. My purpose was two-fold: I wanted to share my own presentation experiences, both the positive and the negative, and I also wanted to share advice from professional communicators, which I researched ahead of time.
Editing Presentation - Completed in December 2014 and presented in course in Technical Editing
This presentation was originally given as a part of the Technical Editing course in the fall of 2014. It was rerecorded for the purposes of this portfolio. This assignment was one of the more challenging of my time in the Technical Communications Master’s program. We were tasked to find an unpublished technical document that could use a good edit—both comprehensive editing and copyediting. I was able to ask one of my friends for the manuscript of a paper she is submitting to a scientific journal—she is a PhD student in genetics. The audience for this presentation was the course instructor and my classmates in the course. The overall purpose of the presentation was two-fold: I was both trying to prove what I learned in the course and show my editing process. While my instructor wanted us to find a substantial technical document to edit, we were generally told not to edit the entire document. For this reason, I focused on the abstract and the introduction.
Capstone Presentation - Completed in April 2015 and presented in Capstone Course in Technical Communication
This presentation was originally given as part of the fulfillment requirements for the Master’s degree in April 2015. It was rerecorded for the purposes of this portfolio. This was the final presentation that I gave in the Capstone Course and was a partial requirement for the Master of Arts degree. The audience was a little bit more varied for this presentation—it consisted of students in the capstone course, professors from throughout the technical communication department, students throughout the technical communication department, and anyone else we, as presenters, wanted to invite. Because we could invite outside guests, two of my good friends were present, which was a mood-booster for me. The purpose of the presentation was to share what I’d been researching and writing about all semester in a way that was both a high-level overview and showed the amount of research I did. My research focused on what freelance writers and bloggers should know about intellectual property law. This presentation was based on the capstone academic paper that I wrote for the course (which is below).
Intellectual Property: A Guide for Freelance Writers and Bloggers - Completed in April 2015 as an assignment for the Capstone Course and as a Master's Degree requirement
This research paper was written as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master’s degree in the spring semester of 2015. It was completed in April 2015. This was the academic paper that I wrote for the Capstone Course in order to complete the Master of Arts degree. The audience, at this point, was my Capstone Course professor. However, there is hope in the future that this paper may be submitted to an academic journal in the field of technical communication (or a related field). The purpose of the paper was twofold: I was interested in the topic of intellectual property law and wanted to relate it to technical communication; and I needed a topic where I could perform mostly secondary research for the Capstone paper. Because I was integrating two different disciplines, I decided to write a guide rather than a traditional academic paper.