Category Archives: Graduate students

Preview Recent Grad’s New Book

Dr. Emma Vossen successfully defended her PhD in English at UWaterloo in July; now you can preview her co-edited book, Feminism in Play, part of the Palgrave Games in Context Series. She also contributed a chapter, “The Magic Circle and Consent in Gaming Practices.” From the press:

Feminism in Play focuses on women as they are depicted in video games, as participants in games culture, and as contributors to the games industry. This volume showcases women’s resistance to the norms of games culture, as well as women’s play and creative practices both in and around the games industry. Contributors analyze the interconnections between games and the broader societal and structural issues impeding the successful inclusion of women in games and games culture. In offering this framework, this volume provides a platform to the silenced and marginalized, offering counter-narratives to the post-racial and post-gendered fantasies that so often obscure the violent context of production and consumption of games culture.


A Week in the Life of a Grad Student: Diana Moreno Ojeda


It’s been a while since we had a “week in the life of a grad student” post. You may recall Masa Torbica’s contribution, as she prepared for PhD exams; or Jessica Van de Kemp’s mediation on how she keeps going; Phil Miletic–who has just defended–brilliantly crowd-sourced his. In this instance, PhD candidate Diana Moreno Ojeda writes about how she schedules her life–or doesn’t. Read on to find out more!–JLH

There are two especially important moments in my week: the day when I plan what things I want to get done, and the day I evaluate how much I actually got done. While thinking about how to help readers visualize how my I plan my week, I realized that it would probably be useful to include pictures of what my calendars look like. Yes, you read it right: calendars, in the plural. Don’t get me wrong; there are a number of “little big things” that, although not scheduled, I still cherish because they allow me to function. The 20-minute morning exercises that allow me to fully wake up, otherwise I would be an incoherent grump when required to think before 10:00 am. The night walks that help me think clearly. Getting coffee with friends. Looking at the pictures I get from my niece and nephews. These little big things I play by ear. My calendars are for everything else.

  1. My electronic calendar helps me figure out what time I need to be where. It is really helpful as well when sorting out what time I have available to do homework, schedule meetings, or see friends. This is how my week looks at my time of writing:

I colour-code my entries too, but there isn’t a particularly good reason for it. It just works for me. The entries in salmon are work shifts. They tend to vary, as I sometimes trade work shifts to attend academic events. Blue is my class schedule. Believe it or not, even though class times stay fixed week-to-week, entering them in the calendar has more than once prevented me from accidentally scheduling anything that conflicts with them.

The entries in red display important academic commitments that I can’t miss. And, on some other weeks, I use orange to mark academic events that I would like to get to, but that do not have priority over work or homework. Green, on the other hand, reminds me of appointments with people, whether they are for my personal wellbeing, or my professional progress. Last, but not least, and highlighted in my favourite colour, are non-academic events. This week my partner and I will be heading to Kitchener for the second evening of constructing a Pinball machine at the Critical Media Lab. And, as I was one of those children who really liked collecting and classifying rocks, I’ll be heading to the EIT building at the end of the week for a rock and gemstone show.

  1. My paper calendar differs from the electronic one in that I use it not to assign time blocks to events, but to track the completion of individual tasks. Experience has taught me that being overly ambitious in my expectations about what I can get done is counterproductive, so now I give myself a smaller number of specific tasks, and try to separate what must get done, from what it’d be nice to get started on. This term I am giving myself stickers on the days I complete all my tasks without missing any commitments from my electronic calendar. It is supposed to work as a reward and, really, the stickers I got are pretty darn cute.

There are days, many days to be completely honest, when I feel like I am constantly running around, kind of like a bumblebee, always busy. I joke with a couple of classmates about how often we make all these plans to get it all done on Saturdays so that our Sundays are completely full of fun and worry free: playing games, drawing, getting next week’s lunches ready without dreading how long it takes to cook and clean up. By the time that Saturday rolls in, though, we are so tired that sleeping in is unavoidable, even when we know that such shenanigans mean that a couple of tasks will unavoidably take up a good chunk of our Sundays.

Once I heard that graduate student life should be treated like a job. In a way, this piece of wisdom makes sense; work is not all you do, nor is your graduate degree. Yet, I have never really been able to see my graduate studies that way. There are two reasons behind my lack of identification with that statement. Part of it is that, like many other students, I have a couple of part-time jobs to help me pay the bills and so I organize my research time in a less structured manner. The rest of it is that the one thing always making me excited about coming to school is the chance to talk to people working on a range of different fields, to brainstorm, to debate, in classrooms and in the halls. In the end, even when reviewing my week is sometimes overwhelming, by the time Saturday rolls in, and I stay in bed ninety minutes past my alarm, I feel pretty content with my life.

Congratulations to Katherine Tu

Congratulations to UWaterloo English student Katherine Tu. Katherine, who is enrolled in the MA program, has been awarded the DiMarco Graduate Scholarship in Computational Rhetoric. It is awarded annually to a graduate student registered full time in the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science or the Faculty of Arts at the University of Waterloo with a demonstrated area of interest in computational rhetoric.

Read all about it!

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Head on over to UWaterloo English to read our 2018 newsletter, featuring a letter from our new chair, Dr. Shelley Hulan, and updates on faculty and student achievements.

3D printing methods and poetics?

On Monday, October 29th, drop by the University of Waterloo English’s Critical Media Lab (44 Gaukel St., Kitchener). Digital artist and writer Aaron Tucker will be giving a talk and workshop on 3D printing methods and poetics.

Aaron Tucker is the author of the novel Y: Oppenheimer, Horseman of Los Alamos (Coach House Books) as well as two books of poetry, Irresponsible Mediums: The Chess Games of Marcel Duchamp (Book*hug Press) and punchlines (Mansfield Press), and two scholarly cinema studies monographs, Virtual Weaponry: The Militarized Internet in Hollywood War Films and Interfacing with the Internet in Popular Cinema (both published by Palgrave Macmillan).

Congratulations Dr. Lacey Beer

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It’s been quite the week of defenses! We are pleased to offer congratulations to our newest PhD graduate, Dr. Lacey Beer. Today Dr. Beer defended her dissertation, “Tongues Tide: Translingual Directions for Technologically-Mediated Composing Platforms.


Her supervisor was Dr. Frankie Condon,· with committee members Drs. Jay Dolmage and Vershawn Young. Dr. Jerry Won Lee of the University of California, Irvine served as external examiner. Dr. Beer’s research was supported by a SSHRC award and a President’s Graduate Scholarship, and she has published in The New Quarterly.


Congratulations to our newest PhD, Dr. Phil Miletic

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You may remember English PhD candidate Phil Miletic from previous posts, such as “A Week in the Life of a Graduate Student” and “Rewriting Gertrude Stein.” Well, now he has defended his dissertation, “Only Connect: The Virtual Communities of Gertrude Stein and David Foster Wallace,” and he is DOCTOR Phil Miletic. Congratulations!

Dr. Miletic has been active with UWaterloo’s First Person Scholar as well as our graduate student association. His publications have appeared in African American Review, Canadian Review of American Studies, and The International Journal of Comic Art and he has a piece forthcoming in Biography. His dissertation research was supported by a SSHRC award as well as the President’s Graduate Scholarship.

Dr. Miletic’s supervisor was Dr. Aimée Morrison, and his committee members Drs. Kevin McGuirk and Marcel O’Gorman. The internal examiner was Dr. Ian Milligan; the external examiner was Dr. Lori Emerson, University of Colorado at Boulder. Phil’s description of his dissertation follows.

“Only Connect: The Virtual Communities of Gertrude Stein and David Foster Wallace”

My dissertation compares Modernist imaginations and applications of early radio with Late Postmodernist imaginations and applications of the early internet. The American authors that I focus on and compare in my dissertation are Gertrude Stein, a Modernist, and David Foster Wallace, a Late Postmodernist. My dissertation asserts that Stein and Wallace each incorporate the techno-cultural imaginations and feelings of community through the democratic poetics and aesthetics of their work. Both Stein and Wallace engage with facilitating literary communities that form around emerging mass media––for Stein, the radio, and for Wallace, the blog––and provoke readers to participate in auto/biographical practices as a mode of discussing American identity, community, and democracy. Where the orality of Stein’s texts invites readers’ auto/biographical engagement, Wallace’s written depictions of mental health, addiction, and loneliness prompt readers to share auto/biographical narratives/disclosures related to those topics in the reading group discussions. Altogether, my dissertation engages with a unique media archeological combination of literary analysis, media studies, and critical media production in order to suss out the dynamic exploration of identity, community, and democratic participation these authors and their readers feel for within the mediascape of their respective eras.