As you'll see from the profiles below, the doctoral students pursuing a designated emphasis in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies at UC Davis have a wide range of interests and expertise.   


Current Students




David Coad

davidcoad.jpgStarted the Program in 2013
Email Address:
Home Department: School of Education

Research Interests:

Composition pedagogy, social media and literacy, digital and multimodal rhetoric, qualitative research methods, writing processes and revision


B.A., English; Santa Clara University, 2010
M.A., English; San Jose State University, 2013

Teaching Experience:

  • TA for UWP 12: Visual Rhetoric at UC Davis, Fall 2014
  • Taught UWP 1 and UWP 1Y (hybrid version) at UC Davis, 2013-2014
  • Taught ENGL 1A and ENGL 1B at San Jose State, 2011-2013
  • Instructor and Tutor at the Language Development Center at San Jose State, 2010-2012 

Why did you choose the DE in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition? 

I am pursuing the DE because I am deeply committed to helping college students become clear and effective communicators in their writing. I enjoy working with college writers, and I find teaching with technology especially satisfying. I want to help college students learn how to think critically about the technologies they use, and about the rhetorical strategies they employ when communicating through these technologies. 

Garrett DeHond


Started the Program in 2010 

Email address:
Home Department:  School of Education

Research interests:
Second language writing, feedback and revision, first-year composition, technology and writing

B.A., English; Temple University, 2003
M.Ed., Education, TESOL; Turabo University @ Penn State - Abington, 2012


Teaching Experience:

  • K-12 ESL, Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, South Korea (2007 - 2009)
  • 7-12 English Language Arts, School District of Philadelphia (2009 - 2012) 
  • University Writing Program, UC Davis (2013 - 2014)
  • Institute for Language Education and Research, SeoulTech (2014 - Present)


Why did you choose the DE in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition?
Second language writing in first-year composition is my chief research interest here at UCD. The WRACS DE allows for multidisciplinary exposure to both theory and practice within my interest areas. I also feel fortunate to be surrounded by brilliant minds in the faculty and graduate student body associated with WRACS, both of which will be valuable assets for developing my academic career.

Becky Kling

beckykling.jpgStarted the program in 2011
Email Address:
Home department: English

Research Interests: Nineteenth Century Literature, Rhetoric & Composition, Critical Theory, Prison Studies, Gender Theory 


B.A., English, Gettysburg College, summa cum laude

M.A., English, Lehigh University, summa cum laude


Teaching Experience

  • Teaching Assistant, 2011-2012
  • UWP 1 Instructor, 2012-2015

Why did you choose the DE in writing, rhetoric, and composition studies? 

I chose the DE in writing, rhetoric, and composition because of my interests in pedagogy and literacy and because it was the area of focus that best enabled me to build bridges that could strengthen both my work as a scholar and as a teacher.


Aaron Lanser

aaronlanser.jpgStarted the Program in 2010
Email Address:
Home Department: Education: Language, Literacy, and Culture

Research Interests: Feedback and interaction in social network sites; writing development in informal online settings; genre theory and the formation of new web-based genres


PhD in Education, Language, Literacy, and Culture, w/designated emphasis in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies (in progress)

MA in English w/dual concentration (Literature; Rhetoric & Composition)

BA in English

Teaching Experience:

  • Instructor, University Writing Program at UC Davis, 2010-present
  • Lecturer, Department of English, California State University, Stanislaus, 2005-present
  • Teaching Assistant, School of Education, UC Davis, 2010-2013
  • Teaching Assistant for Davis Honors Challenge, UC Davis 2012-2013
  • Teaching Associate, Department of English, California State University, Stanislaus, 2002-2004
  • Substitute Teacher, Modesto City Schools, 2001-2003 

Why You Chose the DE in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition:

I had been teaching computer-assisted college writing for several years and noticing some trends among my students: Although my students were coming from very similar backgrounds and circumstances, and despite the widespread myth that this generation was uniformly internet-savvy, there were often very noticeable differences in their understanding of conventions for writing online (e.g. posting in discussion boards). Some of these differences were tied to the ways they spent their time online. I chose the Designated Emphasis to better understand how students like mine are writing and responding informally on the web and how these behaviors interact with their “formal” writing development. The UWP faculty are at the forefront in these areas of feedback/response and online writing.

DJ Quinn

Started the Program in 2015
Email address:   
Home Department: School of Education

Research interests:
Hybrid and on-line models, accessibility, rhetoric, student-teacher interaction, writing process and ecosystems of invention

BA St. Lawrence University
MFA Emerson College

Teaching Experience:

  • 2012-2015: San Francisco State University and University of San Francisco
  • 2007-2012: West Valley College and San Jose State University
  • 2005-2007: College of the Canyons

Why did you choose the DE in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition?
I am interested in how and why students write, and how to build systems that help them write more freely and easily. I've always been fascinated by the intersection of the activities, methods, and the results of writing activity, and working in the DE allows me to explore those interests with my students, using a wide variety of tools, in an atmosphere of support and intellectual curiosity.

Roxanne Rashedi

Started the Program in 2014

Email Address:
Home Department: School of Education

Research Interests: Contemplative pedagogy and writing instruction; writing instruction for students with disabilities; process writing approaches and the self-regulated and metacognitive aspects of cognitive strategy instruction; technology and literacy.


M.A. English, Georgetown University, 2011

B.A. English, UC Berkeley, 2009 

Teaching Experience:

  • Graduate Student Instructor, (first-year composition, hybrid, virtual, face-to-face), University Writing Program, UC Davis, Fall 2014-present
  • Adjunct Lecturer, (first-year composition, advanced technical writing, advanced online writing), Writing Program, Santa Clara University, Fall 2012-Summer 2014
  • Part-time Instructor, (first-year composition, basic skills and developmental writing), Department of English, De Anza Community College, Fall 2011-Spring 2013
  • Graduate Writing Fellow, (assisted faculty teaching intensive writing courses in Psychology and Business), Center for New Designs in Learning & Scholarship and Writing Program, Georgetown University, Fall 2010-Spring 2011
  • English Instructor, (introduction to expository writing for rising high school juniors), Georgetown University Summer College Preparatory Program, Summer 2010
  • Writing Center Associate, Writing Center, Georgetown University, Summer 2010
  • Teaching Assistant, (assisted graduating seniors on thesis projects), American Studies, Georgetown University, Fall 2009-Spring 2010 

Why did you choose the DE in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition?

The DE in WRaCS allows me to research the methodologies in Contemplative Education and Writing Studies. I had been teaching composition and flow yoga for several years and noticed a common thread between the two fields: the emphasis on process and not product. I believe that composition and contemplative instructors strive to introduce their students to adopting a mindful orientation toward the learning process. I chose the DE in WRaCS because I want to learn more about the practices that may help students cultivate a greater awareness of their writing process and composing habits. I wonder how such practices could perhaps establish student agency in the writing process. 


Diana Recouvreur

Started the Program in 2012
Email Address:
Home Department: School of Education

Research Interests: School Organization and Education Policy: push-out, punishment, context, juvenile justice, and school discipline policies in California. 

Education: BA - English Language & Literature, Minor in Creative Writing, UC Berkeley, 2010


Teaching Experience: 

  • Teaching Assistant for the Writing Ambassadors Program (UWP 197TC), 2014-2016
  • Teaching Assistant for EDU 100: Spring 2013, Spring 2014
  • Teaching Assistant for EDU 115, Winter 2014
  • Teaching Assistant for EDU 150, Fall 2013
  • Tutor for Youth Policy Institute, 2010
  • Tutor for Teach in Prison, San Quentin State Prison, 2010

Why did you choose the DE in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition?

Coming from a writing and language background this designated emphasis was a natural fit. Also, much of my research interests include elements of writing and discourse.

Alex Rockey

Started the Program in 2015
Email address:   
Home Department: School of Education

Research interests:
Writing Across the Curriculum; Second language writing; Technology and writing; Teacher training

Ph.D. Student in Education
M.A. in Education, University of California, Davis 2012
Single Subject Credential in English, University of California, Davis 2011
B.A. in English with Honors in the Liberal Arts, University of Wisconsin, Madison 2008

Teaching Experience:

  • Puente teacher Woodland High School 2013-2015
  • English teacher Woodland High School 2011-2015

Why did you choose the DE in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition?
I am interested in ways technology can support second language writers meet increased writing demands of Common Core in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) courses. The DE provides an opportunity to expand my network beyond the walls of the education building and to collaborate with others who share similar research interests.

Victoria White

victoriawhite.jpgStarted the Program in 2010
Email address:
Home Department: Comparative Literature

Research interests

Early modern lyric, Petrarchism, theories of imitation, gendered voice, performativity, parody, early modern reception of Classical rhetoric, collaborative composition. 


B.A., Spanish; Whitworth University, Spokane, 2007


Teaching Experience:

  • UC Davis University Writing Program
    • UWP 11 (Popular Science and Technology Writing): Winter 2014 and 2015 
  • UC Davis Humanities Program
    • HUM 4D (Animals in Human Culture): Summer 2012
    • HUM 1 (How to be a Critic: Fashion): Fall 2014
  • UC Davis Comparative Literature Department
    • COM 1 (Major Books of Western Culture: The Ancient World): Fall 2013 and Winter 2014
    • COM 2 (Major Books of Western Culture: From the Middle Ages to the Enlightenmnet): Fall 2012, Winter, Spring and Summer 2013
    • COM 4 (Major Books of the Contemporary World: Utopia/Dystopia): Fall 2014
    • COM 5 (Fairy Tales, Fables, and Parables): Fall 2010 
    • COM 7 (Literature of Fantasy and the Supernatural): Winter and Spring 2011
    • COM 10B (Metamorphoses, Decameron, Arabian Nights, Canterbury Tales): Winter 2012
    • COM 10F (Cervantes, Lafayette, Fielding, Voltaire): Fall 2011
    • COM 10G (Machiavelli, Shakespeare, Lope de Vega, Moliere): Spring 2012
    • COM 110 (Hong Kong Cinema): Fall 2010


Matthew Zajic

matthewzajic.pngStarted the Program in 2013

Email Address:

Home Department: School of Education

Research Interests: Writing development, writing instruction, and writing assessment concerning school-age children with autism spectrum disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and other neurodevelopmental and learning disabilities; cognitive writing processes; writing assessment in clinical contexts; influence of video games, interests, and motivations on writing development; postsecondary attitudes towards and accommodations for students with disabilities



B.A. Sociology, Minors in Education (Applied Psychology) and Professional Writing (Professional Editing), UC Santa Barbara, 2012

Teaching Experience:

Associate Instructor

Teaching Assistant

Undergraduate Teaching Experience

  • College Admissions Essays: The Role of the Counselor as Mentor and Editor (EDUC 1007; Spring 2015, Summer 2015, Fall 2015), UC Berkeley Extension
  • Expository Writing (UWP 1; Fall 2014), UC Davis
  • English Grammar (UWP 106; Winter 2016), UC Davis
  • The Use and Misuse of Standardized Tests (EDU 119; Fall 2015), UC Davis
  • Visual Literacy (UWP 12; Winter 2015, Spring 2016), UC Davis
  • Educating Children with Disabilities (EDU 115; Fall 2014), UC Davis
  • Children, Learning, and Material Culture (EDU 122; Spring 2014), UC Davis
  • Academic Communities for Excellence Writing Tutor (2012–2013), UC Santa Barbara
  • Campus Learning Assistance Services GRE Writing Tutor, UC Santa Barbara 2012–2013
  • Teaching Assistant and Head Reader for Socialization, Self-Actualization, and Creativity (SOC 142; Summer 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012) and Sociology of Drug Use (SOC 176D; Winter 2012), UC Santa Barbara
  • Academic Skills Tutor in the Social Sciences (2010–2013), UC Santa Barbara

Why did you choose the DE in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition?

Focusing specifically on the writing development of students with neurodevelopmental and learning disabilities (or differences), I chose the DE in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies in order to bring together the research methodologies and traditions from the fields of special education and writing studies to learn how best to help this diverse student population. The DE has helped me build a foundation of writing theory and pedagogy that I have used to bridge interdisciplinary knowledge gaps between the fields of cognitive writing research, special education, and autism research (as well as others). The DE has also been the perfect opportunity to learn about the multidisciplinary nature of writing studies, especially concerning how developmental and learning disabilities have been viewed within the field of composition and writing studies in primary, secondary, and postsecondary contexts. The DE has helped open the door for interdisciplinary writing research that informs both research and practice involving children with neurodevelopmental and learning disabilities.

Focusing specifically on the writing development of students with neurodevelopmental and learning disabilities, I chose the DE in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies in order to bring together the research methodologies and traditions from the fields of special education and writing studies to learn how best to help this diverse student population. The DE allows me to build a foundation of writing theory and pedagogy that I can then use within special education and clinical writing research that other researchers without this foundation may neglect to consider. The DE is also the perfect opportunity to learn about how developmental and learning disabilities (or differences) are currently viewed within the field of composition and writing studies, opening the door for interdisciplinary research that would benefit all fields involved.


Michele Zugnoni

michelezugnoni.jpgStarted the Program in 2014
Email Address:
Home Department: School of Education

Research Interests: I'm currently surveying institutions throughout the U.S. in an effort to update the WAC/WID Mapping Project and discover the role that WAC/WID plays in U.S. higher education. Beyond that, I’m interested in self-reflective writing; writing assessment; and writing differences as they pertain to background, culture and spoken dialect.

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Ph.D. in Education, designated emphasis in Writing, U.C. Davis (in progress)

M.A. in English, concentration in Rhetoric and Teaching Writing, California State University, Stanislaus, May 2013

J.D., U.C. Davis, May 2008


B.A. in History, emphasis European, CSU Hayward (now East Bay), June 2002


A.A. in General Studies, Las Positas College, May 1999


Teaching Experience:

Teaching Associate

Teaching Assistant

Writing Center Tutor

Substitute Teacher (all subjects, grades K through adult)

Why did you choose the DE in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition?

I love to write. It is my passion, my solace, my drive. It's saved my life more than once. I also love to teach. Besides my moments spent writing, my favorite moments are when a student's eyes light up and they become excited over the process of learning. Even better is when they become excited over the process of writing. It is my goal to become a writing teacher. I know the emphasis in writing, rhetoric, and composition will help me make that goal a reality.



Name Home department Year you graduated Dissertation Title Dissertation committee  Current employment/occupation
Brenda Rinard Education 2010 The Persuasive and Evaluative Essays of Adolescent English Learners: How Context Shapes Genre Chris Thaiss (Chair, UWP), Kerry Enright (Education), Dana Ferris (UWP) Continuing Lecturer, University Writing Program, UC Davis
Betsy Gilliland Education 2012 Talking about writing: Culturally and linguistically diverse adolesecents' socialization inot academic literacy Kerry Enright (Education, chair), Dana Ferris (UWP), Chris Faltis (Education) Associate Professor, Dept. of Second Language Studies, University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa
Linda Florence Matheson Comparative Literature 2012 Divinely Attired Brenda Schildgen (Chair, Comp Lit) and Susan Kaiser Lecturer Comp Lit and Textiles and Clothing
Shannon Pella Education 2012 A Situative Perspective on Developing Writing Pedagogy in a Teacher Professional Learning Community Chris Thaiss (Chair, UWP) Christian Faltis (Education), Karen Watson-Gegeo (Education) Assistant Professor, English Language Development and Bilingual/Biliteracy in Secondary Education. College of Education: Teaching Credentials, Sacramento State University
Juliet Michelsen Wahleithner Education  2013 High School Teachers’ Instruction of Writing:  Negotiating Knowledge, Student Need, and Policy Steve Athanases, chair, (Education); Carl Whithaus (UWP), Michal Kurlaender (Education)  Assistant Professor, Literacy, California State University, Fresno Kremen School of Education & Human Development & Co-Director, San Joaquin Valley Writing Project
Grant Eckstein Linguistics 2014 Ideal versus Reality:  Student Expectations and Experiences in Multilingual Writing Center Tutorials Dana Ferris (chair)--UWP; Vai Ramanathan--Linguistics; Chris Thaiss--UWP Assistant Professor in the department of Linguistics and English Language at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
Miki Mori Linguistics 2014 Negotiating Ownership when Incorporating Outside Sources: A Qualitative Study with Multilingual Undergraduate Students Julia Menard-Warwick (Linguistics, chair) Dana Ferris (UWP) Vai Ramanathan (Linguistics) Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the Centre Universitaire de Formation et Recherche (CUFR) de Mayotte
Sarah Klotz English 2014 Sentimental Literacies: Grief, Writing, and American Indigenous Rights Carl Whithaus (UWP) and Mark Jerng (English) Co-Chairs, Hsuan Hsu (English) Assistant Professor of Research and Senior Project Specialist at USC's Rossier School of Education
Aparna Sinha Education 2014 ""Exploring Directed Self Placement as a Placement Alternative for First year College Students in Writing Classes" Chair: Chris Thaiss; Carl Whithaus, Karen Watson-Geogeo, and Kory Ching Assistant Professor, Composition & Rhetoric, CSU, Maritime Academy
Joanna W. Wong Education 2014 What to write: Elementary bilingual students writing in a second language Christian Faltis (Advisor in School of Education), Dana Ferris, and Karen Watson-Gegeo (School of Education) Assistant Professor & Elementary Education Program Coordinator, Department of Education and Leadership in the College of Education, California State University, Monterey Bay
Hogan Hayes Education  2015 Mapping the Writing Resources Present as Students Transition into Upper Division Course Work in the Biological Sciences Committee Chair Dana Ferris, UPW; Carl Whithaus, UWP; Lee Martin, Education Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition in the English Department at Sacramento State University
Kelsey Krausen Education 2015 District Leadership and the Politics of Portfolio Management in an Urban School District  Thomas Timar & Michal Kurlaender, Co-Chairs (Education), Carl Whithaus (UWP) Senior Research Associate, WestEd, Comprehensive School Assistance Program
Tara Porter Education  2015 Success and Sustainability of Writing-across-the-Curriculum Programs Chris Thaiss (Chair), UWP,Carl Whithaus, UWP, Dan Melzer, UWP Self-employed, Web Developer
Mary K. Stewart Education 2016 Interactive Learning in Technology-Mediated First-Year Composition Courses: A Grounded Theory Study of Small Group Discussion and Peer Review Carl Whithaus (chair, WRaCS), Chris Thaiss (WRaCS), Rebekka Andersen (WRaCS) Assistant Professor of English, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Jenae Cohn English 2016 "The Books that Bind Us: Remediation of the Printed Book as Social Practice in the 21st Century" Carl Whithaus (University Writing Program, Co-Chair), Evan Watkins (English, Co-Chair), John Marx (English) Academic Technology Specialist, Program in Writing and Rhetoric, Stanford University
Michal Reznizki Education 2016 Doctoral Preparation in Rhetoric and Composition:  Understanding Postsecondary Teacher Education Dana Ferris (Chair), UWP; Christopher Thaiss, UWP; James Jerry Murphy, English   Adjunct Professor, University of San Francisco
Rusty Bartels Cultural Studies 2016 War Memories, Imperial Ambitions: Commemorating WWII in the U.S. Pacific National Park System Robyn Rodriguez (Chair, Asian American Studies); Caren Kaplan (American Studies); Sarah Perrault (Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies) Assistant Teaching Professor in Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition at Syracuse University
Katherina Sibbald Education 2017 Tyranny in the Mirror: Critical Reflections on Literary Talk with High School Juniors in Writing Conferences Dr. Kerry Enright (Chair), School of Education; Dr Steven Athanases, School of Education; Dr. Sarah Perrault, University Writing Program; Dr. Danny Martinez, School of Education Lecturer, University Writing Program, UC Davis
Kendon Kurzer Education 2017 Writing in Economics Classes: Departmental Practices and Multilingual Student Challenges Dana Ferris (Chair), UWP, Chris Thaiss, UWP, Michelle Cox (Cornell University) Lecturer, University Writing Program, UC Davis
Manuel Senna Education 2017 Variations in Support for Second Language Writers: Lessons from Top International Student Destinations Dana Ferris (Chair), UWP, Carl Whithaus, UWP, Chris Thaiss, UWP EFL lecturer at Fukuoka University, Japan
Katie Evans Linguistics 2017 Engaging undergraduate writers: A study of motivational dynamics in the second language writing classroom Dana Ferris (Chair), UWP, Vaidehi Ramanathan, Linguistics, Chris Thaiss, UWP Lecturer, UC Santa Barbara Writing Program
Kenya Mitchell Education  2017 The Deleted Drafts Chris Thaiss (Chair), UWP, Paul Heckman, Education, Mary Soliday (San Francisco State) Assistant Professor, English, Santa Monica College