Several years ago now, I received one of the most unusual emails ever to come into my infamously busy inbox. It was from Jade E. Davis, a new doctoral student in Communication Studies (Media/Technology and Performance Studies) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Returning to graduate school with two young children, she was also thinking that the Research Triangle needed a THATCamp and she was writing to see if HASTAC might sponsor one--and promised that, if we could host it, she would do "everything else." I wrote back my usual: HASTAC is a free and open network, we do not charge dues, everyone on the staff except one .5 FTE Program Coordinator is supported through other grants and does a full roster of duties in addition to collaboratively running HASTAC. She wrote by return email that, she knew Drupal, and PHP and HTML, she was a HASTAC member, she understood how much work it would be to run a virtual network of HASTAC's complexity--and that is why she was offering to put on the THATCamp for us and she "would do all the work."
Okay. You get the picture. But I bet you won't guess the end of the story. Most times, when one gets involved in a project with someone who volunteers to do that "all" and "everything," one gets left doing most of the work. Jade Davis did all the work. We told here the specifics of what we could do. She did 100% of what she promised plus about another 50% more. She came through. She totally and completely came through.
She has gone on to be one of HASTAC's most prolific, energetic, and inspiring HASTAC Scholars over the years (often under her given title of supreme lurker). You can find a list of some of her blogs and projects on hastac.org here. You can also visit her marvelous, inventive, beautiful, intellectually challenging and creative website Jade Did Dot Com . She received her Master's Degree in French Studies (with a history and sociology focus from New York University's Institute of French Studies), did her undergraduate degree at the University of Hawaii, has been an assistant in UNC's Digital Innovation Lab and a Scholar in the PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge at Duke. And, last summer, she won a much-coveted Internship with the Social Media Collective at Microsoft Research New England. Currently she is working on her digital dissertation centering around questions about data, ownership, ethics, and dehistoricized identity in digital space. Jade writes: "When I do Cultural Studies: Fanon, Barthes, McLuhan, and Zora Neale Hurston are my spirit theorists, but I like exploring."
That is the Jade Davis I have worked with in three classes at Duke and also as a member of HASTAC's Steering Committee. When she applied for the position of Program Coordinator for both HASTAC and the Digital Media and Learning Competition, we all so admired and enjoyed working with her that we resolved to put her through her paces at the interview. We received dozens of applications from full-time university administrators. We just didn't know if she could cut the pace of work in our incredibly busy and high-skilled and collaborative and challenging and super smart (we knew she could handle that part!) environment. I'm pleased to say she was just astonishing at the interview. She could conduct a workshop on how to interview. In fact, knowing Jade, she'll probably propose one any day now.
That's the thing that those of us at HASTAC have come to know about Jade: she make lightning transitions from an idea to a project to a successful program--typically one that includes others, often that helps bring others along. A HASTAC kind of person, in other words.
We are thrilled to be introducing her to you. Yes, she is determined to finish that dissertation and all of us are working to make sure that happens too. She is already contributing hugely to HASTAC. Along with Kaysi Holman, liaison to the PhD Lab at Duke, Jade worked the registration table, the conference room, and everywhere throughout the Culture of Ministry for HASTAC's ambitious Peru conference. She helped put together the materials for our meeting and also compiled the April HASTAC Newsletter and is working at the moment on a post-conference roundup too. In other words, she jumped into this position and we know that she will be one of the anchors of the Duke team even as much of HASTAC's central administration moves to the Graduate Center, CUNY.
Please join us in welcoming HASTAC's newest Program Coordinator, Jade E. Davis.