About Me

Photo © Bruce Matsunaga

Photo © Bruce Matsunaga

I am a scholar of rhetoric and writing in digital spaces. I have been intrigued by Internet culture and technologically mediated discourse ever since my days of LiveJournal Harry Potter roleplay. Because of my upbringing as a child of the internet, my research examines intersectional facets of identity—gender, sexuality, race, age, class, (dis)ability, religion—asking how these differences mediate our experiences with digital tools and interfaces, and in turn how those technologies influence the writing of our diverse selves.

This insatiable curiosity about our on- and offline lives has led to a number of recent projects, including:

  • an exploration of the evolving religious and gendered identities of the blogging practices of Mormon women;
  • a master’s thesis (plus accompanying poster brief and chapter in the 2017 edited collection Sex in the Digital Age) that delineates and quantifies the differences between mainstream and feminist internet pornography, expounding upon questions of shifting agency and sexualities as visibilized through digital culture;
  • a research assistantship with the Center for Research on Writing in Digital Environments (WIDE), managing data from the classrooms of 30 middle and high school English/language arts teachers from across the state of Michigan (over 1000 students!) to improve student writing by improving student feedback;
  • a research associate role in an NEH Digital Humanities Implementation Grant-funded study asking how academics archive webpages for their scholarship, which ultimately seeks to create better tools for scholars to save and share internet content;
  • a startup grant-funded study examining the digitally literate lives of older adults, aiming to improve computing experiences for older adults age 60+;
  • the development of Purdue University’s first online first-year writing course, ENGL 106Y, as well as training 15 new online writing instructors in digital pedagogy and teaching with technology.

I am currently a PhD student in Rhetoric and Composition at Purdue University. I received bachelor’s degrees in Professional Writing and Women’s & Gender Studies, as well as a master’s degree in Digital Rhetoric & Professional Writing, from Michigan State University. Go green!

In fall 2018, I am teaching Introduction to Professional Writing (ENGL 306), a course designed to develop skills in analyzing rhetorical situations in the workplace, with a focus on design of communication and usability. I am also co-teaching the Professional Writing Practicum (ENGL 505M) with Dr. Michael Salvo, where I will mentor ten new instructors in developing curriculum and assessing learning outcomes in the business writing classroom.

When I am not hastily typing or Photoshopping, I enjoy binge-watching British comedy on Netflix, making giant pots of soup, trying new teas, and flirting with dogs in hopes that they’ll follow me home.

Please feel free to contact me through any of my social media accounts below, or by email at allegra.w.smith@gmail.com. I would love to have a conversation with you online.