WPA-GO 2014 Graduate Committee Election

In July 2014, the WPA-GO Graduate Committee (GC) will say goodbye to members Jessica Nastal, Kathryn Trauth Taylor, Carolyn Wisniewski, & Courtney Adams Wooten. In order to maintain the 7-person GC as outlined in the WPA-GO Bylaws, we will elect 4 new GC members. Voting will take place for 2 weeks (January 16-31), & results will be announced in early February.
The GC ensures that WPA-GO (WPA-Graduate Student Organization) fulfills its mission to support graduate student WPA preparation & strengthen connections between graduate students & professional WPAs by providing its constituents with opportunities for networking, funding, mentoring, & professional development.

The new GC members will serve up to a total of 3 years, beginning immediately after the 2014 CWPA Conference, & ending immediately following the CWPA Conference of the year their terms end. Continuing GC members are Al Harahap, University of Arizona; Brian Hendrickson, University of New Mexico; & Heather Stone, University of Utah.
In selecting & bracketing candidates for the 2014 WPA-GO Graduate Committee Election ballot, this year’s Election Committee considered the following criteria:

  • demonstrated interest in WPA work;
  • diversity as defined in WPA-GO’s ad hoc diversity task force report (demographic, institutional, intellectual);
  • diversity in length of service (to avoid years of high turnover);
  • strengths according to the needs of the GC & WPA-GO.

The following candidates all demonstrate a passion for the intellectual work of a WPA & a vision for the future of WPA-GO that will ensure our organization continues to respond with creativity & zeal to the ever-changing needs of graduate students interested in WPA work. We are furthermore pleased to present a ballot that ensures the continued institutional & geographical diversity of the WPA-GO GC.

If you have questions about the 2014 WPA-GO Graduate Committee Election, please contact Brian Hendrickson (bhendric@unm.edu) or Jessica Nastal (jlnastal@uwm.edu), Co-Chairs of the WPA-GO Election Committee. Other members of the Election Committee include Brent Chappelow, Jennifer Dorsey, David Riche, Brent Simoneaux, & Meghan Sweeney.

Please Note: Only current GRADUATE STUDENTS who are members of CWPA &/or WPA-GO are eligible to vote. Each member should vote only once. The link to the ballot will be distributed via email to graduate student members of CWPA &/or those on the WPA-GO mailing list. Voting opens on January 16 & closes January 31. If you are a graduate student member but did not receive your link to vote, please email wpago1@gmail.com.


Graduate Student members of CWPA &/or WPA-GO are invited to vote for 1 candidate in each of the 4 groupings outlined below.


Graduate Committee Member #1: Vote for Christine Garcia or Sarah Pike



STATEMENT: My involvement in CWPA began in 2012 when I attended my first conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. My presentation focused on mentorship of graduate students of color, a topic I feel very deeply about & a topic that is quite relevant to CWPA. After the presentation, my co-presenter & I were approached by established WPAs interested in continuing the conversation on how to engage & mentor graduate students of color professionalizing in the field of WPA work. This led to an invitation to be a part of the WPA Diversity Task Force & the WPA-GO Diversity Task Force. It was then that I knew I had found the pragmatic, professional space I had been looking for.

Complimenting my work in mentorship of graduate students of color are my experiences as core writing instructor & graduate research assistant for Chicana Studies at a majority-minority flagship institution. My research & teaching meld nicely into a corpus of work that honors & cultivates sociocultural & linguistic diversity at the university level. I am also dedicated to building the concept of Writing Across Communities, an approach to WPA work that honors our writers’ various discourse communities as crucial aspects of their academic voice.

BIO: Christine Garcia is a PhD Candidate in Rhetoric & Writing at the University of New Mexico. Ms. Garcia came to UNM from San Angelo, Texas, where she received both her BA & MA in English Literature with a focus in Chicana Studies from Angelo State University. She is currently drafting her dissertation, “The Chicana Speaks: Dolores Huerta and the Chicana as Rhetor,” a perspectival rhetorical analysis of the corpus of Dolores Huerta’s speeches.

Currently, Ms. Garcia compliments her teaching in Core Writing at UNM with her role as Graduate Research Assistant for Chicana Studies, where her duties include co-authoring an IRB-approved study on community-based learning, organizing symposia, & assisting in the planning & implementation of assessment for the program. Ms. Garcia also currently serves as a member of the CWPA Diversity Task Force & the WPA-GO Diversity Task Force.




STATEMENT: As someone who has taught at public & private schools, in large & small cities, & at four-year universities & two-year community colleges, I have worked with a wide range of students. Working with a diverse population of students has informed both my pedagogical & professional goals. As a writing teacher, I’m invested in helping students better understand, grapple with, & appreciate new & unfamiliar ideas. If elected to the WPA-GO Graduate Committee, I hope to facilitate stronger cross-campus conversations among WPA-GO members. This is a goal I’m just beginning to work on as an Outreach & Communications Committee member as we work toward a stronger social media presence.

While the WPA’s plate is certainly a full one, it is one that allows us to nourish our writing programs, our campuses, & our communities. With a plethora of university mission statements suggesting the role of the university is to help create ethical, global leaders—& given Shirley K. Rose & Irwin Weiser’s discussion of “WPA as Citizen-Educator”—these conversations about composition & citizenship are ongoing, & are conversations I hope to engage in & contribute to as a teacher-scholar & potential future WPA-GO Graduate Committee member.

BIO: Sarah Pike is a graduate instructor & second-year Rhetoric & Composition PhD student at Texas Christian University (TCU). Prior to coming to TCU for doctoral work, Sarah completed her MA in Rhetoric, Composition, & Professional Communication at Iowa State University (ISU). She has taught courses in First-Year Composition & Technical Writing at TCU, ISU, Salt Lake Community College, & Central Arizona College. Sarah currently serves on TCU’s Composition Committee, which developed outcomes for TCU’s writing courses based on the shared outcomes articulated by the Council of Writing Program Administrators. Additionally, Sarah is a current member of WPA-GO’s Outreach & Communications Committee. Sarah is a regular presenter at conferences, including CCCC & CWPA. Sarah’s teaching, scholarship, & service reflect her interest in embracing cosmopolitan citizenship tenets in the composition classroom & university writing program.



Graduate Committee Member #2: Vote for Anna Knutson or Christina LaVecchia



STATEMENT: My interest in writing program administration is motivated by my commitment to access, equity, & diversity. I believe that organizations like CWPA & WPA-GO can play a vital role in increasing access to well-designed learning environments for all college students by supporting scholars from diverse backgrounds as they move into administrative positions. By offering ample professional development opportunities to tomorrow’s WPAs, we can ensure that our profession adequately reflects & supports the diversity of higher education in the twenty-first century.

If elected to serve on the Graduate Committee, I will support WPA-GO’s mission by contributing to mentorship & outreach initiatives. As many scholars enter multiple geographical & professional communities throughout their graduate careers, graduate students may at times find themselves lacking consistent support & mentorship. In response to this problem, I will contribute to WPA-GO’s ongoing project of providing graduate students with mentorship & professional development opportunities. Additionally, I am interested in supporting WPA-GO’s communication efforts, because distributing information about the organization is one tangible method of increasing access to WPA-GO & CWPA for many individuals who would not only benefit from involvement with both organizations, but who would enrich this professional community by contributing their perspectives, experiences, & expertise.

BIO: Anna V. Knutson is a first-year doctoral student at the University of Michigan who is interested in learning transfer, extracurricular literacies, & online education. As a result of her experiences as a first-generation college student, Anna’s teaching, research, & leadership activities are informed by her commitment to access, equity, & diversity in higher education.

After serving as an undergraduate writing center tutor for two years at the University of Washington, Anna obtained her MA at the University of New Mexico (UNM). At UNM, she taught first-year composition while serving as TA Mentor in the Core Writing program, Chair of the Writing Across Communities Alliance, Co-Director of the Albuquerque Community Writing Center, & Instructional Assistant in eComposition. In 2014, Anna will serve as a research assistant in the Sweetland Center for Writing, the University of Michigan’s hub of writing instruction & research.




STATEMENT: It is my belief that mentorship is crucial to writing program administration—both as a principle of administrative practice, as well as a support mechanism for WPAs (& future WPAs) themselves—& therefore should remain a center of energy & innovation within WPA-GO.

I have had the pleasure of serving on the Mentoring & Professional Development Sub-Committee of WPA-GO over the past year, & if fortunate enough to be elected, will be dedicated to continuing the recent momentum that WPA-GO has established in fostering graduate student mentoring opportunities. It is crucial that WPA-GO keep cross-institutional conversation & energy alive, find more ways to connect graduate students with faculty mentors, & continue developing meaningful conference presentations & events that speak to the needs of graduate students.

My service to the organization would be informed by my role as the 2010–11 Assistant to the Directors of Composition at my university, as well as participation in the 2013 CWPA Annual Intensive Workshop. These experiences have shown me the value of learning about the realities & intricacies of WPA work as a graduate student, insights I hope an elected position on WPA-GO will help me bring to a wider audience of graduate students.

BIO: Christina LaVecchia is a third-year doctoral student at the University of Cincinnati with research interests in writing pedagogy & theory, the rhetorics of media & culture, affect, & writing program administration. She is currently an editorial assistant for Composition Studies, the oldest independent journal in the field, & served as Assistant to the Directors of Composition in 2010–11.

In 2012 Christina was the UC English department’s William C. Boyce Excellence in Teaching Award recipient & is the UC College of Arts & Sciences 2014 nominee for a university-wide teaching award. Christina regularly attends conferences, like the CCCC & CWPA, & national workshops & institutes, including the CWPA’s Annual Intensive Workshop in Albuquerque & the Digital Media & Composing Institute at Ohio State. A reprint of her Harlot essay on the rhetorics of Modern Family is forthcoming in the textbook How Writing Works, edited by Jordynn Jack & Katie Rose Guest Pryal.



Graduate Committee Member #3: Vote for Katherine Daily O’Meara or Sarah Snyder



STATEMENT: As a PhD student focusing on the needs & presence of L2 issues within the writing program, I have often wondered & worried about how best to acknowledge & support the diverse populations of students who come into our writing classrooms—& also how to make a writing program a receptive space for instructors of these increasingly diversified classes. WPA-GO provides an appropriate space for all graduate students interested in WPA issues (like me) to have a dialogue that enables us to articulate our ideas, suggestions & inspirations. I want to use the responsibility of serving on this committee to make CWPA & WPA-GO more visible, more accessible, to my fellow graduate students, including those interested in L2 writing issues within the field of WPA.

It is also important to me that WPA-GO values diversity & collaboration among its graduate student members & in conjunction with the larger WPA organization. I want to be an advocate for the kinds of professional conversations that span across universities & people’s individual interests. I am honored to be on the ballot for this year’s WPA Graduate Committee elections. I hope to continue my relationship with this organization with this administrative position, as I am quickly discovering that CWPA is a place I can call my professional home. Thank you for your time & consideration.

BIO: Katherine Daily O’Meara is a third-year PhD student in Rhetoric, Composition & Linguistics at Arizona State University. Kat’s concentrations include second language (L2) writing & writing program administration. She puts both of these interests to work as the Associate Director of Second Language Writing in ASU’s Writing Programs, which enrolled over 1,400 students in multilingual writing courses in Fall 2014. In this administrative position, Kat leads the L2 graduate teaching practicum for instructors, TAs & FAs who teach multilingual sections of first-year composition. Her largest passion lies in teaching. With an MA in English & TESOL, Kat also teaches developmental writing at a local community college in Arizona & has experience teaching a wide variety of writing, linguistics, ESL, rhetoric & pedagogy courses. Her dissertation project is an institutional ethnography of the L2 community within ASU Writing Programs. Kat is an enthusiastic & creative doctoral student & educator who looks forward to contributing her time & efforts to WPA-GO.



STATEMENT: I have been serving on the WPA-GO Mentoring & Professional Development Committee since 2012, after I first attended the CWPA in Albuquerque. In 2013, I volunteered to co-plan & facilitate the Breakfast Buddies Program, & it was a great success at the 2013 conference. We partnered seasoned & ambitious WPAs together for a breakfast at CWPA 2013, to talk about experiences, research, & other things—but really to create a sense of camaraderie & make it easier for graduate students to approach people who have academically or personally influenced them.

It would be my pleasure to officially serve on the WPA-GO committee. My emphasis in my service would be to foster relationships between aspiring & seasoned WPAs, thereby strengthening the pre-service experience & networks that new WPAs will greatly benefit from. I would also be happy to offer my experiences with second language writing from my service as Assistant Director of Second Language Writing at Arizona State University, which I hope will be helpful in the diversification process.

Serving the Mentoring & Professional Development Committee has been my pleasure to date, & I would be very happy to officially continue my service in the coming years with the Graduate Organization.

BIO: Sarah is a PhD student in Rhetoric, Composition, & Linguistics at Arizona State University. Sarah has two Master's Degrees, one in Rhetoric & the Teaching of Writing, & one in Teaching English as a Second Language from Northern Arizona University. Her interests in the field of WPA have been nurtured by experiences with scientific writing, writing center tutoring, FYC teaching, second language writing, ESL/EFL teaching, & administrative experience. She is currently preparing for a lifelong career of service & scholarship as an Assistant Director of Second Language Writing at ASU, while also serving as the Associate Chair for multiple national academic conferences, including the Symposium on Second Language Writing. An online portfolio of her WPA conference presentations can be found at: http://l2writingimpact.wordpress.com/sarah-elizabeth-snyder/.



Graduate Committee Member #4: Vote for Matthew Tougas or Shane Wood



STATEMENT: Last summer at the CWPA in Savannah, GA, I presented with colleagues on the challenges of representing a graduate student-led organization trying to sustain momentum amid high turnover of graduate students and the constant threat of having our efforts stripped of us by institutional powers. We also reflected, however, on the opportunities presented in operating in a liminal, arguably ambiguous zone, to constantly redefine & refine our efforts depending on a particular kairotic moment. This talk, in many ways, represents my interest in WPA-GO work. On one hand, I want to speak as an advocate for graduate student agency, particularly in areas often relegated to WPA-related spaces—such as assessment, course/curriculum development, & project creation. On the other, I want to learn from & contribute to meaningful discussions about shaping & visioning the cultural landscape of composition studies in the larger sense. As someone very much interested in cross-disciplinary, WAC/WID partnerships, in my case specifically, Sustainability Studies, I hope to introduce new strategies of creative-mentoring & diverse recruitment/outreach as a means of sustaining growth within & beyond the organization. I hope WPA-GO voters will see in me a candidate who is dedicated to writing program administration as an efficacious field of study, graduate student advocacy, community mobilization, & sustaining initiatives related to the work of future writing program administrators. 

BIO: Matthew Tougas is currently finishing his final semester in the Rhetoric & Writing Masters program at the University of New Mexico, where he serves as a TA in first & second-year writing courses. Beginning in the fall, however, Matthew will be entering into a PhD program yet to be determined in a similar field. At UNM, he has taught & designed a variety of courses, from technical & professional writing to community-based composition, as well as online composition. Teaching & studying at a majority-minority institution, Matthew has come to understand the importance of engaging local communities in ethical & efficacious ways. To this end, he currently serves as Co-Chair of UNM’s Writing Across Communities Alliance (WACommunities), as well as director of the community writing center. In this role, he coordinates & designs community-campus events, writes grants, develops & manages partnerships, & most importantly, actively recruits new members & partners. His commitment to community engagement, institutional sustainability, & outreach are part of what he expects to bring to WPA-GO if given the opportunity.




STATEMENT: I’ve always been intimidated by a feeling of inadequacy as a student specifically in regards to my knowledge & my ability as a writer. I can still remember the red marks on my papers in my first-year writing course that destroyed my confidence as a learner & made me feel like a failure. That feeling initiated my past research, which focused on the field of composition’s identity starting with pedagogical response & feedback to student writing. As a graduate student, I eventually became obsessed with failure & began to theorize failure as a phenomenon by explaining how failure is valuable in understanding identity, writing programs, & administrations. I would draw from my experiences with failure & my research on failure as a way to connect graduate students with scholars in an attempt to further develop mentorship opportunities through WPA-GO. I believe that we can all relate to failure, & I think that by sharing experiences of failure we can connect with one another. Failure isn’t merely negative; success comes from failure. I am committed to WPA-GO because it values the professional-graduate student community. I desire to further cultivate & expand the mentoring opportunities of WPA-GO because those relationships are irreplaceable.

BIO: Shane Wood is a graduating MA English Composition/Rhetoric student at California State University, Fresno, studying under Dr. Asao Inoue. Shane is a teaching associate & a founding member of Sigma Tau Delta, the English International Honor Society at Fresno State. Shane received a WPA-GO Travel Grant & presented on feedback at the Conference of Writing Program Administrators in Savannah, GA. After graduating in May, he will be pursuing a doctoral degree in Composition & Rhetoric. Shane will also be presenting at the 2014 CCCC & will be accompanied by Dr. Asao Inoue & Dr. Bruce Horner. Shane is a mentor at Fresno State’s Writing Center, which has allowed him to better understand the importance of feedback to student writing; he has been accepted to present at Writing Research Across Borders in Paris, France, in February. Shane’s research is influenced by theorizing failure as an attempt to better understand, represent, & reflect identity.