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Research Interests

My research focuses on the communicative practices involved in grassroots organizing for social change—specifically, how do crowds of individual people engaged in protest develop into organized collectives working together to impact the social structures around them. What communicative processes are involved in constituting an activist organization, how do activists manage tensions such as the need to employ and balance both formal and informal structures, and how do personal relationships among activists contribute to the everyday work they do in their communities?

Mentoring Experiences

Working with undergraduates is the most rewarding part of my academic life and I’m fortunate to have had opportunities to develop close mentoring relationships with a growing number of students. I’ve been able to bring together several of my mentees on a research team, providing a context in which they can develop their skills in a rigorous research context while also receiving and giving significant social support. While some of the team’s tasks involve working with my dissertation data, we also collaboratively develop and carry out side projects whenever possible—several members of the team even recently had a paper on the #MeToo movement accepted to the National Communication Association annual conference. My favorite part of working with undergraduates is seeing the outstanding things they can accomplish when empowered to express their own ideas in an environment that is both challenging and supportive. I also love seeing the support and guidance they provide for each other as members of a team.

What the Award Means to ​H​er

The most touching thing about winning this award is that I was nominated by a mentee who recently graduated. Catherine was an invaluable leader (and founding member) of the research team—she’s contributed so much to my research and to my development as a mentor, and I’m honored to know that I was able to contribute to her growth as a thinker and a researcher. I think that because of the many pressures of graduate school and the multiple directions in which grad students are pulled, we aren’t always rewarded or recognized for the time and energy we devote to mentorship—but the benefits of mentorship work are deep and ripple out as our mentees grow and become mentors themselves. It means a lot to have that work formally recognized.