Category Archives: Graduate students

Our Newest PhD: Dr. Sarah Whyte!

Screenshot 2018-07-18 14.45.49Congratulations to UWaterloo English’s newest PhD graduate, Dr. Sarah Whyte. On July 17th she successfully defended “The Rhetorical Life of Surgical Checklists: A Burkean Analysis with Implications for Knowledge Translation.”
Screenshot 2018-07-18 11.18.11Sarah (above left) was supervised by Dr. Jay Dolmage (above centre)–note how genuinely happy a supervisor looks after a successful defense? Committee members were Dr. Randy Harris and Dr. Catherine Schryer.; thank you to Dr. Kathryn Plaisance of Knowledge Integration (above right) who served as internal-external examiner, and Dr. Carolyn Rae Miller, of North Carolina State University, the external examiner.

Dr. Whyte’s work has appeared in Social Science & Medicine; Advances in Health Sciences Education; Cognition, Technology & Work, and elsewhere. A description of her dissertation follows:

The Rhetorical Life of Surgical Checklists: A Burkean Analysis with Implications for Knowledge Translation
This dissertation uses the terms of Kenneth Burke’s dramatism to identify rhetorical aspects of surgical team checklists as they have been promoted, performed, studied, and surveilled. I argue that these terms can help to account both for the rapid uptake of checklists into policy and for their more variable effects and uptake into practice. I develop this argument by analyzing a large archive of texts published between 1999 and 2016, including popular media, news coverage, promotional campaigns, primary research, and other forms of scholarship. These published texts are considered alongside ethnographic fieldnotes from a study in which I collaborated to design, introduce, and evaluate an early version of a preoperative checklist at four Canadian hospitals. My analyses are guided heuristically by the first principles and central terms of dramatism, including action and motion; motive and situation; identification and division; attitude, form, and circumference. I use these terms to chart the early emergence of checklists within professional literature; to trace their rapid uptake as a standard of professional communication; to discern their multiple functions or purposes; to illustrate how and why they are enacted, accepted, and sometimes rejected in the operating theatre; and to locate blind spots in applied health services research. Taken together, these analyses demonstrate the importance of diverse rhetorical processes both to the uptake and to the basic functions of checklists. They also demonstrate the value and versatility of dramatistic terms. I contend in particular that the concept of rhetorical situation, as elaborated by Burke, holds significant potential for understanding and negotiating the material and symbolic dimensions of practice and practice change. This dissertation points the way toward a uniquely rhetorical approach to the study and practice of knowledge translation in healthcare work.


Five odd questions: PhD candidate Jin Sol Kim

When I approached a number of UWaterloo English PhD candidates to ask if they’d be willing to answer “five odd questions” for the blog, I wasn’t sure the format would work. This interview with Jin Sol Kim, featuring drugged tigers, Tinder, and the hunt for a good hot and sour soup, allayed all of my doubts.

JLH: What has been your strangest experience (or thing overheard) at UWaterloo?
JSK: I’ve been at UWaterloo for quite some time now, so I’d have to dig back a few years to accurately answer this question… but honestly, the first thing that comes to mind is just that overall experience of being here for so long, and seeing all the changes that have taken place over the years – to the campus, the English program, and even myself – and not being able to keep up with it sometimes! That and the strange feeling I get when I realize (more broadly) that first year students in undergrad are now born in… what is it, the year 2000 for this incoming Fall cohort?

JLH: What is the oddest way your research or PhD has been misinterpreted?
JSK: I’m not that far into my PhD yet, so for now, it seems that there’s more so a general confusion as to what my dissertation is about as opposed to a misinterpretation of it. I did complete my MA in this department as well, though, with my final Master’s research project (MRP) on Tinder as life-writing, so of course I was known for some time as “the Tinder girl.” Most of my friends think this means that I’m some sort of Tinder guru who holds the key to creating the perfect Tinder profile; I’ve had a fair number of people throw their phones at me to help “fix theirs up”. While I could definitely offer some tips, what my MRP actually focused on was the image patterns found on the app, and the rhetoric of these images in the self-presentation of its users. Not sorry to disappoint.

JLH: We’ve disposed of a lot of arcane academic traditions. What new one would you introduce?
JSK: Now I’m curious as to what some of these traditions were. I’m trying to think of the remaining traditions, and for some reason I’m drawing a blank, so I’m not sure what I’d introduce… maybe something that would encourage camaraderie amongst the grad students across different faculties? Or even between undergraduates and graduates to bridge the gap, like a mentorship program, if one doesn’t already exist. Whatever it is, it would be something that emphasizes community and is of interest/beneficial to the students.

JLH: What is your favourite food for academic inspiration?
JSK: If I’m being frank – and people who know me well know this to be true – I’d say beer, even though that’s not really food. Beer and soup. It’s a weird combination, so I don’t typically have it together (I don’t think?), but usually if I’m stuck in my head, I’ll have one or the other, and even the first bite or sip is enough to ease my tension and get me thinking clearly again. Pho is always a nice go-to here in KW, and a really good hot-and-sour makes a world of difference, but I’ve been struggling to find the latter in the area lately. In a different interpretation of this question, if we’re talking about being academically inspired about food, I’m not sure… probably also soup? I’d have to rewatch Ugly Delicious on Netflix and think it through.

JLH: If we were to look at your works cited, what is the most unusual thing you’ve cited?
JSK: Since I do research in new/digital/social media, there’s probably a lot of things unusual about my works cited (the internet is an exciting and also crazy place to be). Going back to my MRP, one example is a source that looked at the Tigers of Tinder – that is, the constant appearance of tourist photos where the individual is posing with a drugged-up tiger. I’m currently working on a paper for a course that looks at plastic surgery in light of psychoanalysis, so the works cited for that should be interesting as well.


Screenshot 2018-06-25 09.25.35Convocation happens twice a year at UWaterloo. June convocation is the larger of the two. Faculty dust off their academic robes, enviously eying colleagues who graduated from institutions with much nicer robes in more flattering colours or with more interesting designs. (UWaterloo’s are red and green, pictured above.) Inevitably someone cracks a joke about Harry Potter, and who resembles which Hogwarts professor. And then the ceremony begins: we get to watch students receive their degrees as parents and friends cheer, mortifying some, buoying others. Afterwards, there is a reception in the student centre, where everyone poses for photos and faculty mingle with students and their parents. Congratulations to all our new English graduates! Here is our 2018 graduating class, with photos interspersed:


Kasandra Arthur, “We are Having All Kinds of Fun: Fluidity in Shoebox Project” (Supervisor Dr. Neil Randall)

Ryan Clement, “Playing the Story: The Emergence of Narrative through the Interaction between Players, Game Mechanics, and Participatory Fan Communities.” (Co-supervisors Karen Collins, Dr. Neil Randall)



Megan Dawe
Justine Fifield
Tasnuma Mou
Amber O’Brien


Julie Funk, “Sleep Mode and Material Melancholies: Speaking Roland Barthes, Love, Longing and Loss in Smartphone Discourse” (pictured above right) (Supervisor: Dr. Marcel O’Gorman)

Miraya Groot, “Waterloo Region Cyborgs:  Practice and Theory” (Supervisor: Dr. Marcel O’Gorman)

Megan Honsberger, “Technically Buddhist” (Supervisor: Dr. Marcel O’Gorman)

Caitlin Woodcock, “Resistance isn’t Futile: Exploring Mindful Non-Use of Digital Technologies from Female Perspectives” (pictured above left) (Supervisor: Dr. Marcel O’Gorman)


Emran Arif
Aaron David Atienza
Carmen Barsomian-Dietrich
Martin Bertrand
Dale Brennan
Gabriela Carmen Bzorek
Brian Nicolas Carney
Diana Hill Yin Cheung
Erica Antoinette Diane Lucille Coutts
Alyssa Briana Dauria
Benjamin Davis
Sandun Dissanayake
Benjamin Michael Elliott
Annabelle Camilla Maria Eshuis
Christine Barbara Frim
Alicia Jean Fuller
Emily Galvao
Nivan Hamed
Taylor Hatkoski
Meghan Holmes
Ishmal Hussain
Jasmin Jackson
Sumer Jafri
Lisa Manni Juniper
Tasha Karsan
Naz Delair Kittani (pictured above right)
Melissa Karina Koehler
Heather Nicole Lambert
Chelsea Leite (pictured above left)
Hayley Joy Levine
Troy MacArthur
Laura Macdonald
Katharine Macpherson
Victoria Yvonne Malfait
Kayley Maree Marner
Ernest Joseph McCullough
Kristin Elizabeth Rose McKnight
Scott Aaron Metzger
Shehzeen Misbah
Emily Taylore Misurec
William George Mitchell
Tatiana Morand
Zibusiso Ncube
Vanessa Ngan
Ryan Harrison Nisker
Oluwabukunola Oluwafisayo Orunesajo
Emily B Paul
Robyn Peers
Brandon Petryna
Nathika Pratheep-Ananth
Sanum Mumtaz Qazi
Summer Sarah Rashed
Michael Joseph Reitmeier
Alexander Joseph Rollinson
Erica Rosa
Tanja Maria Saric
Pamela Maria Schmidt
Nemanja Simic
Madeline Victoria Smith
Megan Elizabeth Smith
Ashley Marie Snyder
Elizabeth Spanjer
Katherine Elaine Steckly
Jonathan Tang
Naomi Corinna Turner
Sarah Elizabeth Turner
Meghan Elisabeth Voll
Margaret Anna Walker
Mackenzie Jane Verba Weaver
Samantha Miharu Yasui

Award for PhD student Monique Kampherm

Screenshot 2017-04-24 14.56.34
Congratulations to UWaterloo English PhD candidate Monique Kampherm. She was one of many UWaterloo English scholars participating in this year’s Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric conference at Congress. Monique’s paper was titled “Democratic Prosopopoeia: The Rhetorical Influence of Embodying a Political Statement Online” and resulted in her being named the RhetCanada 2018 Graduate Student Prize Winner. As the judges write:

Monique’s paper drew from a wide variety of rhetorical critics and adroitly integrated figurative analysis, digital technology studies, and political studies to examine the rhetorical effects of image filter use on social media during the 2015 Canadian election. While her paper drew on a specific case, it also spoke more generally to the rhetorical implications of how text and image are integrated on social media.

Empty halls? Congress time!

It’s once again that time of year when the UWaterloo English halls are empty, as faculty and graduate students travel to Congress to present their research. From Jin Sol Kim‘s ” Trans Counterpublics On Tumblr: How Tumblr Affords a Digital Safe Space for Transsexual Youth” to Lindsay Meaning’s “Adaptations of Empire: The Colony in Kim, Novel and Game” to Monique Kampherm’s “Democratic prosopopoeia: The rhetorical influence of embodying a political statement online” and Sara Gallagher’s “Mediating Race in Black and White: Oscar Micheaux and the Early Race Film,” UWaterloo English graduate students are presenting varied research.

English’s Dr. Norm Klassen will be giving a plenary, “The Inner Word from Dante to David Adams Richards: Why Christians Who are Neither Fundamentalists nor Mathematicians Believe in a Connection between Word and Thing.” Dr. Bruce Dadey, presenter of “Beyond Shovelware: The Developing Rhetoric of Multimodal Digital Journalism,” has created a list of presenters.

As for me? I spent my research budget on rare books. Someone has to hold down the fort.

How to play critically?


On Wednesday, May 9th, join UWaterloo English’s Dr. Aimée Morrison, UWaterloo English PhD alumnus Dr. Steve Wilcox, and Dr. Leah Zhang-Kennedy at The Museum in Kitchener, for “INTERACTION Dialogue: Learning Through Play.” The event is presented in partnership with UWaterloo Games Institute, founded and headed by English’s Dr. Neil Randall. According to the event page:

“Experts in digital media and game studies as the discussion covers the cultural, educational, social and political role of games and gameplay in our lives. Topics include digital literacy skills, creating and playing games critically, and learning through play.”

More information, including how to pre-register, is here. The event will be moderated by current UWaterloo English PhD student Betsy Brey.

Awards for faculty and grad students

Screenshot 2017-05-29 11.40.18
Congratulations to PhD students Rebecca Anderson and Devon Moriarty, who have both received awards from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to fund their dissertation research.  The awards are on the national level. Rebecca and Devon are also very active in the graduate student society (SAGE) serving as President and Vice-President, respectively. SSHRC.

In faculty news, Drs. Dorothy Hadfield, Linda Warley, and Aimée Morrison have won outstanding performance awards from the University of Waterloo. Congratulations to all!