Blog Post

Intro part II: A belated post-script

I realize that I missed out on much of the fun of introductions by posting mine too early, before the Scholars 2013 group had even been formed. So, allow me to recapitulate some of that pre-introduction and add some additional comments spawned by all of the lovely things everyone else has been saying to each other these past two weeks. 

Who I am: An outsider. Someone who ostensibly doesn't "fit" in this group but who is going to have a lot of fun playing and acting and reacting with you-all in the recognition that we all are insiders and outsiders about something. I'm currently a second-year M.A. student in rhetoric and composition at Washington State University. But this humanist life is new to me; my undergrad was in molecular biology/pre-med, attended an MD/PhD program and completed the first two years of med school and two years of research toward a PhD in microbiology before leaving with my M.S. in microbiology, worked and self-identified as a microbiologist for the ten years of my life prior to the last one. I still do, truthfully, even if I'm willing to nuance that label a good bit now. Perhaps I'm still a scientist, but I'm also a writer, a humanist, and a bit of a Renaissance woman who seeks to understand and transgress and break down disciplinary boundaries wherever they are found and especially between the natural sciences and English studies. 

In my not-so-secret life outside of academia, I'm also a wine writer who focuses almost exclusively on translating the science of wine (microbiology, biochemistry, some plant physiology and neuroscience) into language intelligent non-scientists can understand and enjoy. I'm the resident wine science columnist for Palate Press, the online wine magazine, and I occasionally blog at The Wineoscope

My research: unlike many of the students here, my research focus isn't in the digital humanities. Not surprisingly, given my background, I'm intensely interested in science writing, science writing pedagogy, writing across the curriculum and writing in the disciplines. My thesis work concerns how science professors comment on the student science writing that occurs in upper-division major courses, what this says about how science writing is taught and learned, and science profs can use assignments and feedback to more effectively meet science writing-related learning outcomes. My future plans include a PhD in science writing with an emphasis on wine science communication, very likely considering how wine science as an inherently and inescapably interdisciplinary endeavor creates functional interdisciplinary discourse communities. 

On a broader scale, I'm very interested in how discipline-specific discourses inhibit the functional sharing of knowledge and create inefficiencies in terms of the yield of scholarly research. And, naturally, how online spaces find themselves at and beyond the boundaries of more traditionally established academic discourse communities, allow for the decentralization of knowledge-creating power, and enact interdisciplinarity. 

What I'm hoping for from HASTAC: Exposure to new discourse communities. A playground for interdisciplinarity. Inspiration from angles I might never have considered on my own, and the chance to do the same for someone else. Lots of collective question-asking, and maybe even a little collective problem-solving.


1 comment

This really spoke to me, especially the outsider part. I'm still in undergrad, and I'm finding reading all these introductions of very smart accomplished people to be slightly terrifying.

But anyway, wine science sounds fascinating. Looking forward to reading your posts!