Graduate Student/Dissertator

Elizabeth Walker

PhD Candidate in English

Personal Info (e.g., age, field of study, personality type, etc.)  Elizabeth Walker
PhD English (4th year)
Age 30
ambitious, introverted, studious, fastidious & detail oriented
Responsibilities  Elizabeth teaches 2 sections of introductory composition to first year undergraduates.
She is writing a dissertation on representations of telecommunication technology in the Victorian novel. She is responsible for managing the expectations of her committee members, who are supportive of her ideas of doing a digital dissertation.
She has a dog named Bruno, he needs a walk twice a day.
Chairing an interdisciplinary digital culture reading group for PhD students & faculty that meets monthly. She maintains the blog for the group.
She is preparing to give her first paper at the MLA convention in Jan 2013.
Job Type (e.g., admin, professor, support staff)  Graduate student
Teaching Assistant
Motivations  Wants to complete the dissertation in a timely manner.
She wants a tenure track faculty position at a liberal arts college.
She feels the subject matter of the dissertation is better served by a multimedia based form of expression
She wants to do a digital dissertation to distinguish herself when applying for jobs, but she also has anxieties that faculty search committees will not care or understand a digital dissertation.
One of the motivations for starting the digital culture reading group was to find other graduate students interested in working on digital dissertations.
Technical Savvy  Elizabeth is familiar with HTML and understands multi-media technology. She spends a lot of time on the internet reading blogs and tweeting.
She understands the WordPress blogging platform and is saavy enought to install WP plugins, but doesn’t feel like she fully understands how these technologies work. She feels like she often is simply copying and pasting HTML she finds on the web.
Goals and Needs  While she has some technical savvy, she does not feel comfortably in control of the afforded modes of expression made possible by HTML and the web. She needs technical help with formats and standards for web publishing and digital preservation. She has never done any programming and she would like to learn, but she is very frustrated by the current approaches to teaching programming.

She would also need to understand how users will find and access her digital dissertation; she will need help with metadata, copyright options, and the relationship between the digital dissertation and future publishing options she may want to exploit with this project.

She really wants to connect with other graduate students attempting to produce digital dissertations so she can learn from their example and also learn from them about what did or did not work.

Interest in Project  The development of a digital dissertation depository would help Elizabeth meet her goal of developing a born-digital dissertation in a few ways. First, it would provide her with a sense of the constraints and guidelines for a non-standard dissertation. Second, having her dissertation deposited in such a depository would alleviate some anxieties for her dissertation committee and future faculty search committees: it would be available online for the long-term at a stable address, and would be available to access under conditions that she chooses (i.e., to the world, to her campus community, embargoed access for a period of time). Third, she would like a way to discover and access other digital dissertations to learn more about how other students have successfully executed them.
Brief Bio Statement  Elizabeth Walker is a 4th year Doctoral Candidate in the Department of English at the University of Kansas. Her dissertation is tentatively titled “Twitter and the Victorian Novel: Gossip and the Emergence of Mediated Telecommunications in Late 19th Century England.” She graduated cum laude from the University of Ohio with a degree in English and a minor in journalism.
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