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.  
  • Wendah Alvarez (Native American Studies)
  • Jennifer Burke Reifman (Education)
  • Chloe Crull (Education)
  • Garrett DeHond (Education)
  • Shelley Dykstra (Spanish)
  • Roxanne Elliott (Education)
  • Jason Hockaday (Native American Studies)
  • Taylor Holden (Education)
  • Julia Houk (Education)
  • Beshara Kehdi (Cultural Studies)
  • Amy Lombardi (Linguistics)
  • Sophia Minnillo (Linguistics)
  • Katia Monterrey (Education)
  • Anna Peñaloza (Education)
  • Kirsten Schuhmacher (English)
  • Sabina Simon (Education)
  • Mikenna Sims (Education)
  • Nick Stillman (English)
  • Sydney Sullivan (Education)

Wendah Alvarez

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Email Address:
Home Department: Native American Studies
Research Interests: Native American literature, poetry, social justice, humanizing research, indigenous pedagogies, language studies, poetic rhetorics, and genre writing   
  • A.S. Nursing, Natural Science and Biological Science, Sierra College
  • A.A. in English and Humanities, Sierra College
  • B.A. in English with Minor in Native American Studies, UC Davis 
  • M.A. in Native American Studies, UC Davis
Teaching Experience:
  • Teaching Assistant: UC Davis Winter and Spring Quarter SY 2017-18, NAS 01.
  • Associate Instructor: NAS 5 SY 2018-19.
  • Guest lecturer:
    • Sierra College: Intro to Ethnic Studies
    • UC Davis: NAS 188 and NAS 01 SQ 18.
Why did you choose the DE in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies?
I'm interested in the rhetorical moves in literature and how it has been used to perpetuate the diminutive perception of the oral tradition. With that being said, I am also interested in composition pedagogy that invites emerging English speaking students to write.

Jennifer Burke Reifman

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Home Department: School of Education
Research Interests: Writing program administration, basic writing and writers, community college students, composition pedagogy, technology and writing, digital literacies,
  • B.A. in Journalism and Anthropology, SUNY Purchase (2008) 
  • M.A. in English Composition, SFSU (2013) 
  • Ph.D in Education, UC Davis (in progress)
Teaching Experience:
  • San Francisco State University (2011-2014)
  • Contra Costa Community College (2013-2014)
  • Bucks County Community College, Community College of Philadelphia, Rowan College (2014-2018)
  • UC Davis (2018-present) 

Chloe Crull

Email Address:
Home Department: Education

Research Interests: Writing centers, peer tutors, writing pedagogy

Education: B.A., English, UC Berkeley, 2022

Garrett DeHond

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.

Shelley Dykstra

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Email Address:
Home Department: Spanish
Research Interests:  Second language and heritage language reading and writing, pedagogy, and critical language awareness.
  • B.A. in Linguistics Language Study, University of California, San Diego
  • M.A. in Spanish Linguistics, University of Barcelona

Roxanne Elliott

Email Address:
Home Department: Education
Research Interests:  Second language writing
  • MA in Translation & MA in TESOL
    Middlebury Institute of International Studies, Monterey, CA
  • BA in Foreign Languages & Art History
    Scripps College, Claremont, CA

Jason Hockaday

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Email Address:
Home Department: Native American Studies
Research Interests:  I am helping rematriate my family’s ancestral Konomihu-Shasta music recordings. Within this project, I’m researching the gendered aspects of our songs, which are interwoven with stories, and gathering oral histories to provide context, especially with regard to gendered protocol. I hope for my research to support Two Spirit and LGBTQ California Indian wellbeing through the reclamation of specifically CA Indian Two Spirit genres.
  • MA Native American Studies, UC Davis 2020
  • BS Anthropology, Southern Oregon University 2017

Teaching Experience:

  • AI- NAS 135, Gender Constructs in Native American Societies, UC Davis
  • AI- UWP 1 & 1Y, Intro to Academic Literacies, UC Davis
  • AI- NAS 05, Intro to Native American Literatures, UC Davis
  • TA- NAS 01, Intro to Native American Studies, UC Davis
  • TA- NAS 399, Queer Indigenous Studies, Southern Oregon University

Taylor Holden

Email Address:
Home Department: Education

Research Interests: Media adaptations of literary works, digital literacy practices, writing pedagogies, computers and writing


  • B.A., English with a concentration in secondary education, North Carolina State University, 2019
  • M.A. English Literature and Language, North Carolina State University, 2021

Julia Houk

Email Address:
Home Department: Education

Research Interests: Arts education, drama, writing pedagogies, visual rhetorics

Beshara Kehdi

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Email Address:
Home Department: Cultural Studies
Research Interests: Arab American history, third world student and social movements, ethnic studies education, curricula and teaching training, digital media production and literacies


  • Critical Languages Scholarship-Tangier, Morocco, Arabic, 2019
  • City College of San Francisco- Audio and Video for the Web Certificate, 2016
  • Middlebury Language Schools- Summer Intensive Arabic Program, 2015
  • B.A. University of Oregon, Eugene OR- History and Comparative Literature, Minors: Political Science and Religious Studies, 2012
  • Oxford Seminars, Eugene, OR- TESOL/TESL/TEFL Certification, 2012

Teaching Experience: Global History, Asian American Cultural Studies, Asian American History, History of Childhood in America, Film Studies and Filmmaking, Arab and Asian American Media Justice, and more.

Why did you choose the DE in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition? When I came to UC Davis, I wanted to find a program that paired both practical training with useful conceptual frameworks to help me use and think about writing as a tool for liberation. WRaCS allowed me to take classes I was passionate about, meet and work with amazing faculty, and get credit for a sub-speciality all in one.

Amy Lombardi
Email Address:
Home Department: Linguistics, Dana Ferris (primary advisor)
Research Interests: Writing and English as an Additional/International Language, Writing Across the Curriculum/Writing in the Disciplines, Rhetoric and Propaganda, Media and Information Literacy, Public/Civic Discourse
  • A.A., Santa Rosa Junior College
  • B.A., Latin American Studies, UC Santa Cruz
  • M.A. English with TESOL emphasis, San Francisco State
Teaching Experience:
  • De Anza College: Composition, ESL, and Introduction to Linguistics.  
  • UC Davis: UWP 22, UWP 23
Why did you choose the DE in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition?
WRaCS allows me to study Linguistics within the applied contexts of Text Analysis and Genre-based Writing Pedagogy

Sophia Minnillo

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Email Address:
Home Department: Linguistics
Research Interests: Second Language Acquisition, Applied Linguistics, Learner Corpus Research, Spanish Linguistics, French Linguistics
  • M.A. in Linguistics, University of California, Davis, 2022
  • B.A. in Linguistics, Emory University, 2020
  • B.A. in French Studies, Emory University, 2020

Katia Monterrey


Email Address:
Home Department: Education
Research Interests: 


Anne Penaloza 

Email Address:
Home Department: Education
Research Interests: writing in the sciences, Chicanx studies, the impact of academic writing on undergraduate women in STEM

Kirsten Schuhmacher

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Email Address:
Home Department: English

Research Interests: Ecological rhetorics, Early modern literature, English nation-building as a ecological and rhetorical project, world building


  • PhD, University of California at Davis, current | English Literature, designated emphasis in Writing, Rhetoric and Composition
  • MA, University of Victoria, 2019 | English Literature, emphasis in Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS)
  • BA, University of Nevada, Reno, 2017 | English Language and Literature and Cultural Anthropology with a minor in Environmental Studies | Magna cum Laude

Sabina Simon 



Email Address:
Home Department: Education
Research Interests: Second language writing, peer response, graphic novels, writing placement, community college writing instruction, online writing instruction (OWI)

Mikenna Sims 

Email Address:
Home Department: Education
Research Interests: Contract grading, writing pedagogies, writing program administration

Nick Stillman 

Email Address:
Home Department: English
Research Interests: Speculative fiction, writing centers, digital writing technologies

Sydney Sullivan 

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Email Address:
Home Department: Education

Research Interests: Writing & wellbeing, digital literacies, critical media literacy, social media