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Allison Hitt

  • West Virginia University, MA in Professional Writing and Editing, 2012hitt
  • Hollins University, BA, 2005
  • Doctoral student at Syracuse University
  • Syracuse, NY

Though I have always considered myself a bit of a tech nerd (carrying around a red pen in my purse as a teenager…), it was not the technical side of the Professional Writing and Editing program that really hooked me. It was the rhetorical. Classes in humanities computing, professional writing theory, and even editing made me more and more curious about the rhetorical choices that go into each document we compose, design, and edit.

This interest was intensified as I began tutoring in the WVU Writing Center. Working one-on-one with students not only influenced my own teaching practices but also started to align my learning and research interests more firmly into the field of rhetoric and composition. My internship for the PWE program allowed me to use some of my professional and technical experiences to get more acquainted with writing center work. I was able to learn more about website maintenance, podcast and video production, and the importance of creating accessible content for digital texts.

These combined interests led me to the pursuit of a Ph.D., and I’m now a student in the Composition and Cultural Rhetoric program at Syracuse University. My research interests include writing center theory and administration, digital rhetorics, and disability studies. Currently, I’m drawn to the intersections of composition and dis/ability—how students with diverse abilities access sites of composition and how they compose themselves as rhetorical beings.

In many ways, the work I do at Syracuse is influenced by my experiences at WVU. In Catherine Gouge’s editing class, we discussed—among other things—the ethics of looking at other people’s work and editing their writing. I think of these frequently in writing center sessions. Similarly, Nathalie Singh-Corcoran’s course in spatial rhetoric has greatly influenced my understanding of the work that can be done within the spaces of the writing classroom and writing center—how the physical design of particular spaces provides or inhibits access, how the technologies and pedagogies employed within these various spaces vary depending on what the space can support. Above all, my experience at WVU helped prepare me for doctoral work—showing me how to look closely and rhetorically at texts, to think critically about writing processes, and to present myself professionally and ethically.