Current Projects

Article: Weight Stigma and Cultural Images of Control: Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty and a “Whiter” Definition of Beauty

In response to women’s growing dissatisfaction with the representation of the female body within advertising, Dove launched its Campaign for Real Beauty (CFRB) in 2004 to expand the definition of beauty from an emphasis on slimness to a more inclusive perspective based on confidence and pride. However, through its selection of mainly white, fit models, Dove only reinforces a white-centric rhetoric of control concerning its assumption of feminine beauty. By considering the culturally differing images of “control” between white and Black women, I use Dove’s CFRB as a case study to analyze the intersectionality of Black women and weight stigma and to examine how the rhetoric of control surrounding the over-hyped thin, white body overshadows stereotypes of the Black female body. Through examining the CFRB advertisements, I argue that Dove reaffirms “controlling” images of Black women while seemingly challenging the pervasiveness of thin, (white) female bodies in advertising. Finally, by examining the ways in which the corporation co-opts the “voices” of its few Black models while manipulating—and consequently forgetting—their bodies, I analyze how Dove inscribes them within the boundaries of the white ideal of femininity that conform to a “whiter” definition of beauty instead of a “wider” one.

Status: This work is currently under invited revision at a peer-reviewed journal.

Conference Proceedings: Résumés in the Development of Undergraduate Engineering Identity: A Genre Analysis with Teaching Implications

Undergraduate engineering students are often instructed to write engineering résumés working from models that come from different fields. As part of a project to develop stronger disciplinary instructional materials for engineering résumé writers, this study investigates a way to quantify the quality of engineering résumés based both on established rubric methods and on a new “scoring” mechanism by which significant differences in the types of disciplinary discourse enacted strong, moderate, and weak engineering résumés. This study is guided through Activity Theory, such that the “rules” of writing an engineering résumé are mediated not only by the general design, content, and style principles of written and visual communication, but are also mediated by the community in terms of what language and activities are most demonstrative of engineering expertise. Findings indicate that a blended approach to scoring engineering résumés may be a promising way to investigate the problem of teaching and evaluating engineering discourse by non-engineering faculty.

Status: This conference paper was presented at ProComm 2016 and won the Hayhoe Award for the best graduate student submission. My collaborators and I intend to publish the results of our study in a technical communication journal to offer pedagogical strategies for instructors assisting students in their professionalization as engineers.

Paper: ProComm Paper

Conference Proceedings: A Degree is Not Enough: Promoting Engineering Identity Development and Professional Planning through the Teaching of Engineering Résumé Writing.

Undergraduate engineering students are often taught to create their engineering résumés early in their academic careers as part of first-year composition or technical writing classes. Often, these classes are not taught by engineering faculty, and few resources exist for engineering-specific résumé development. A corpus of 31 engineering résumés was collected, representing engineers across experience levels and engineering fields and analyzed through genre analysis methods in order to understand the linguistic mechanisms by which engineers present the merit of their work in a condensed résumé format in order to develop an intervention to help instructors of technical writing and first year engineering develop engineering résumés in a disciplinary context. The intervention facilitates student reflection on authentic engineering résumés leading them toward their own learning regarding effective presentation of engineering experiences on a résumé, as well as to encourage engineering students to plan effectively for the experiences that will help them achieve their desired careers.

Status: This conference paper was presented at the Frontiers in Engineering Education Conference. My collaborators and I are currently working on a grant to create pedagogical workshops for engineering students related to résumé writing and revision.

Paper: FIE paper