There comes a point in time for most grad students in which you begin to omit the year you are completing in the program when introducing yourself to people. We all have different reasons for this and to a certain degree the shame around time-to-complete is silly (and often kicks in prematurely), but I'll just open my introduction by saying this: I've been a HASTAC Scholar for quite a long time.
Because many of you probably still don't know me, let's get the requisite descriptions out of the way: I'm in the Department of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, working on a dissertation about video games and difference which I am contractually obligated to finish this year by the ACLS/Mellon Foundation Dissertation Completion Fellowship. My Ph.D. work also includes specialization in Feminist Studies through the UCSB Feminist Studies Doctoral Emphasis Program, and I am interested broadly in the digital humanities, technoculture, and identity knowledges and social justice scholarship like queer and feminist studies, critical race studies, and disability studies. I've been active in communities like #transformDH that really strive to bring out the social justice-oriented work in the digital humanities, and also to break down and redefine the way that we do and define academic work.
But enough about me. You can read my blog posts for more details. What I really want to do is welcome new folks with a bit of sage advice: make HASTAC work for you.
My years as a scholar have been immeasurably productive and professionally beneficial. This is an incredibly robust community and a platform that gives junior scholars unprecedented exposure to an interdisciplinary, international group of really impressive academics and artists. I have met many of my academic heroes (both personally and face-to-face) through this organization. I've made lifelong friends and research collaborators and often found people who are both at the same time. HASTAC is not a top-down organization; as you've no doubt experienced with Fiona already, the "higher ups" are accessible and supportive and most importantly very, very interested in what younger generations of Scholars are doing.
So jump in. Write blog posts. Organize forums. Send out emails to the mailing list to find collaborators. Apply for the 2014 conference and cross your fingers someone at your institution will pay for you to go to Peru. Big things really can happen here - take a look at our collaborative book reviews or numerous HASTAC Scholars forums. If you have an idea that you're not sure how to execute, this is a pretty good place to try out something wild. HASTAC gives us very powerful tools to connect to each other and to the outside world, but they are only useful if you haul them out of the shed and get dirty.
Let's get dirty, folks. Hit me up sometime.