Ph.D. Candidate, University of California San Diego, Communication 2013 – Present
Dissertation Title: Clear as Mud: The Struggle over Disappearing Wetlands in Coastal Louisiana. Committee: Patrick Anderson (Advisor), Valerie Hartouni, Kelly Gates, Fernando Dominguez, Babak Rahimi
M.A. in Creative Writing, Eastern Michigan University, Department of English 2012
Thesis title: Blank Steps: Walking the Detroit Riot. Christine Hume (Advisor)
M.J., University of California Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism 2002
Thesis Title: Homeland Insecurity: Waheed Mommand Wants to Rebuild Afghanistan, but first he must make peace in Fremont. Susan Rasky (Advisor)
B.A., Tulane University, Department of English 1993
Doctoral Research 2015-present
My dissertation is intended to analyze and problematize Louisiana’s various responses to the crisis of its disappearing coastal wetlands. I understand those responses as part of a complex but ongoing continuum that began three centuries ago with the 1718 settlement of New Orleans and recently made visible by Hurricane Katrina. Louisiana has lost enough coastal wetlands over the last century to rival the size of Delaware, mainly due to historic practices to control the Mississippi River, drain swamplands, and explore for oil and gas along its coast. In response, the state legislature in 2007 approved a Master Plan for Coastal Restoration, a $50 billion, 50-year strategy that allocates resources to both mitigating coastal erosion, while also maintaining industries and practices that contribute to it. I look at the socio-environmental effects and costs of maintaining what the state euphemistically calls its “working coast,” which I trace back through the political economy of Louisiana and the Mississippi River as well as to long-held associations of swamps to death and disease in the Lower Mississippi River Delta.
Published Research (extensive journalism publications below)
Refereed Journal Articles
2018 "License to Extract: How Louisiana’s Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast is Sinking It," Lateral: Journal of the Cultural Studies Association. (Forthcoming, Fall 2018.)
Conference Presentations and Performances
2018 Cultural Studies Association 2018 Conference, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, "Problematizing Louisiana's Working Coast," Winner of the Randy Martin Prize for Best Student Paper.
2017 Dirt: Intersectional Approaches to Messiness Toronto Symposium, Studio for Media Activism and Critical Thought, Ryerson University, Toronto, "A Turn to Mud"
2016 Mid-American American Studies Association, University of Kansas, Laurence, KS, “Of Mud and Water: Producing the Mississippi River.”
2015 University of California Riverside English Graduate Conference, Riverside, CA, “Laboring the Mississippi River.”
2015 History Students Association Conference, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, “Disabled Subjectivities.”
2013 Eastern Michigan University, Muriel Rukeyser Symposium, Ypsilanti, MI. “The Idea,” sound poem based on Rukeyser’s “The Return.”
2012 Oklahoma State University English Graduate Student Conference, Stillwater, OK, “Seen from Space.”
2012 Disquiet Literary Seminar, Lisbon Portugal, “(No) Evidence of Disease,” an ethnographic performance.
2012 Eastern Michigan University Graduate Creative Writing Showcase, Ypsilanti, MI, “Dog Days of Summer and Urban Collapse.”
2012 Eastern Michigan University Graduate Research Fair, Ypsilanti, MI, “Spacewalk.”
Fellowships and Grants
2018 Randy Martin Prize for Best Student Paper, Cultural Studies Association Conference, Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, PA
2016-2018 Two-time recipient of the Judith and Neil Morgan Endowed Fellowship. Awarded to two University of California San Diego scholars engaging in humanistic research methods to study pressing societal problems.
2018 Institute of Arts & Humanities Dissertation Writing Workshop Fellowship, University of California San Diego
2015-2018 Department of Communication Travel Scholarship Grants, University of California San Diego
- Science & Technology Studies California Summer Retreat, Marin Headlands, CA 2016.
- Mid-American Studies Conference, University of Kansas, Lawrence KS, 2016.
- San Francisco State University Graduate Student Conference, San Francisco, CA 2015.
2015-2017 Department of Communication Research Grant for dissertation research in New Orleans, LA. University of California San Diego (3 times).
2015- 2018 Recipient of three University of California San Diego Graduate Student Association Dean’s Travel Awards.
2014- 2017 Department of Communication Graduate Assistantship. University of California San Diego (3 years).
2013 Department of Communication Fellowship for Graduate Study, University of California San Diego (1 year).
2012 Travel Fellowship to Lisbon, Portugal, Eastern Michigan University.
2010-2012 Graduate Assistantship, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI (2 years).
2001 Asian Studies Travel Grant to Hong Kong, Graduate School of Journalism, University of California Berkeley.
2000 Graduate Opportunity Fellowship, Graduate School of Journalism, University of California Berkeley (1 year).
Workshop and Seminars
2016 Science & Technology Studies California Summer Retreat, Marin Headlands, CA.
2010 Disquiet Literary Seminar, Lisbon, Portugal.
2002 China Reporting Seminar, Shanghai and Hong Kong, China.
2016 “Racialization of Space, Spatialization of Race,” Intro to Urban Planning, Office of Urban Studies & Planning, University of California San Diego.
2015 “The Production of News as a situated Practice,” Situated Practices, Dept. of Communication, University of California San Diego.
2014 “The Economy of Surveillance: The Work of Being Watched,” Social Formations, Dept. of Communication, University of California San Diego.
Teaching Statement: I have developed my academic pedagogy over the past seven years as an instructor in journalism and writing composition, and as a teaching assistant in critical communication. My approach is informed through research-based instruction, more than a decade of full-time news reporting, and three-year stint as the senior speechwriter for the Mayor of New Orleans. My professional writing experience coupled with a Master’s Degree in creative writing and graduate research in communication allows me to teach across multiple disciplines for different critical considerations and genres.
Lecturer, "News Media Workshop," Department of Communication, University of California San Diego Winter 2017
I designed an advanced undergraduate workshop in news gathering, writing and analysis primarily for students interested in joining a student news organization or off-campus internship, or entering the media profession. Students focus on doing original reporting and writing with the goal of producing publishable work. The workshop format scaffolds news gathering exercises to allow students to generate their own content while also analysing news coverage. Students peer edit one another, pitch story ideas, and supply occasional reading materials to guide class discussion. By the end of quarter, students will have written and revised three separate pieces of journalism.
Lecturer, “Journalism in a Time of Crisis,” Department of Communication, University of California San Diego Spring 2017
I designed an advanced undergraduate seminar and reporting workshop on the current state of the mainstream media in the “post-truth” climate following the 2016 president election. My class gives equal weight to critical consideration of media history, political economy and issues of media representation and production. Students produce a series of publishable stories in three separate genres while attending to their own news gathering and production practices.
The experience is featured in an essay entitled, "Teaching Journalism in a Time of Crisis."
Teaching Assistant, Intro to Urban Planning, Urban Studies & Planning, University of California San Diego Winter 2016
Graded papers and exams, and facilitated group final projects that analyzed the planning history of a city.
Teaching Assistant, Department of Communication, University of California San Diego 2013-2017
Planned lessons and assignments, led discussion sections and graded papers and exams.
- Weekly section on “Interpretive Strategies” - politics and political economy of representation through film and media.
- Weekly section on the “Introduction to Communication” - history of communication technology, scholarship and social theory.
- Weekly section on “Situated Practices” - the structural forces of communication and social practices.
- Weekly section on “Social Formation” - the regulatory, political and economic forces behind media and social change.
Instructor, Composition, Department of English, Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, MI. 2013
Using the Eastern Michigan University pedagogy model, this was a student-centered course on ethnographic writing. We focused on developing student-led research projects through community of practice principles.
Instructor, Composition, Department of English, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI. 2011-2013
Instructed multiple composition courses through EMU’s First-Year Writing Program that were organized around a student-chosen ethnography project. Project assignments were scaffolded in observation, interviews, research, and writing to help students to develop their ethnographic essays. They learned to edit each other and model work through a community of practice. Their final projects were showcased at EMU’s Celebration of Student Writing, held for all First-Year Writing participants at the end of each semester.
Teaching Assistant, Department of English, Eastern Michigan University 2010
Graded exams and facilitated online discussions for a 150-person seminar, entitled Literature and Imaginary Worlds. Coordinated events for EMU’s BathHouse Journal, which sponsored four to six readings a year by visiting writers and poets.
Instructor, Freshman Success Initiative, Depart of Rhetoric and Writing Studies, San Diego State University 2010
Taught first-generation, low-income students in rhetoric, argument and writing as a support workshop tied to the curriculum of a larger seminar on 20th century American politics. With this support, they were able to equal or in some cases better the grading outcomes of their mainstream counterparts.
Journalism and Professional Writing
Reuters, Stringer 2002-Present Cover breaking news and features including national court cases and military tribunals, political races, hurricanes and wildfires. Southern California 2007-2010, 2013 to Present, Metro Detroit 2010-2013, Louisiana 2002-2006.
San Diego Business Journal, Staff Writer 2008-2009 Covered San Diego housing market and technology companies.
City News Service, Stringer, San Diego, CA 2007-2008 Covered breaking news in San Diego involving civil and criminal court cases, crime, the San Diego Unified School District and political recriminations at City Hall.
Video Business, Staff Writer, Los Angeles, CA 2007-2008 Covered technology startup initiatives in the video and film studio industry based out of Los Angeles.
North County Times, Staff Writer, Escondido, CA 2006-2007 Covered North San Diego County municipal government and housing and land use controversies that often pit local activists against commercial and residential developers.
The Baton Rouge Advocate, Staff Writer, Baton Rouge, LA 2003-2006 Covered the economic and social fallout and recovery from Hurricane Katrina, as well as state legislative, technology and consumer issues. Traveled to Havana, Cuba for the Louisiana governor’s historic trade mission in 2005. Wrote about technology startup efforts, venture capital deals and the Louisiana film industry, which attracted movie productions through a controversial tax credit program.
Mayor’s Office, Head Writer and Speechwriter, New Orleans, LA 1997-2000 Responsible for press releases, articles, and the city annual report. Crafted major policy addresses and daily speeches for the mayor and ghost-authored weekly columns. Supported critical communication efforts within the community in times of emergency.
Associated Press, Editorial Assistant , New Orleans, LA 1996-1997 Covered New Orleans and Louisiana for the Associated Press Wire Service, including the "Sunday in the South" and “Louisiana Dateline” news packages. Also, filed spot news and broadcast stories, and helped with daily “rewrite” for the Louisiana-Mississippi wire.
Other News Publications
Wired News, Sacramento Bee, San Diego Magazine, San Diego Union-Tribune, East Bay Express, SanDiego.com, AnnArbor.com, Current Magazine, Gambit Weekly, New Orleans City Business, Offbeat Magazine, The Times-Picayune, NewOrleans.com.
Financial Times, San Francisco, CA Summer 2002 Published stories on the Bay Area Dot-Com bust, Oakland crime, steroids in baseball, and Afghanistan expatriots returning to Kabul among others.
TIME (Asia), Hong Kong Summer 2001 Wrote news briefs, headlines, picture captions and web-based stories for Time.com. Participated in a reporitng trip to Shanghai and Hong Kong with fellow journalism school colleagues that resulted in a Sunday package for the San Jose Mercury-News.
MarketWatch.com, San Francisco, CA Winter 2001 Wrote multiple business and financial stories for the market-moving platform.
Daily Union Democrat, Sonora, CA Fall 1996 Covered police cases, trials and drug-related delinquency from within the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains outside of Yosemite.
Alexandria Town Talk, Alexandria, LA Summer 1993 Worked as a youth sports reporter after college graduation.
WWL-TV (CBS), New Orleans, LA Spring 1993 Ran scripts and operated the teleprompter for the evening broadcasts.
2014 Red Clay Review, “Seen from Space: A Walk.”
2013 Oaken Transformations Poetry Walk and Scultpure Garden, Brighton, MI. "The Jury" a sound poem installation.
2012 Specter Magazine, “Anya’s Wear.”
2011 Platte Valley Review, “A Myth of Fingerprints.”
2010 River Poets Journal, “The Farm.”
2013 “Fight Song,” Rain Taxi Review, Vol 18, No. 3.
2013 “Maiden’s Hair,” Rain Taxi Review, Vol 18, No. 2.
2013 “Shopping for a Better Country,” Rain Taxi Review, online Oct. 29, 2013
2001 “Debatable Land: Stories from Southeast Asia,” Time Inc. Vol 158, No. 8.
News Honors and Awards
2010 Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society 2010
Society of Professional Journalists San Diego Awards
2009 Metal Thieves Growing Bolder, 2nd place investigative, 2009
2009 Quarry Plan Divides Developers, 2nd place real estate, 2009
2008 Airport Land Use: City Attorney Accuses San Diego Mayor of Corruption, 2nd place breaking news online
2008 California Corrals Precious Horses from Fires, honorable mention breaking news online
2008 San Diego Press Club, 1st place feature non-daily “Recruiting Generation Y.”
2000 Fellow, The Institute of Politics at Loyola University of New Orleans.
Professional Societies, Service and Committee Memberships
2017-18 Advisory Board Member, The Triton, University of California San Diego Online Student Newspaper.
2015 Graduate Student Representative, Dept. of Communication Faculty Search Committee, University of California San Diego.
2015 Graduate Student Representative, Comm Playground, Department of Communication, University of California San Diego.
2018-2019 Member, Cultural Studies Association
2003-2006 Alumni Interviewer for applicants to the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
2006-2009 Member, San Diego Press Club 2006-2009
2006-2009 Member, Society of Professional Journalists-SD, 2006-2009
2003-2006 Member, Louisiana Press Club, Baton Rouge, LA 2003-2006
2017 Certificate for Completion of CET Course Design Studio - Staff Education & Development, University of California San Diego.
2016 Certificate for Public Speaking, Center for Student Involvement, Communication & Leadership, University of California San Diego.
2011 Volunteer for 826Michigan.org, a nonprofit writing and literacy program that provided in-class support at Roberto Clemente alternative community high school.