A highly productive week

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This week is “Spring Break” at NCSU. Being in my mid-twenties, I’m not so keen anymore on announcing to people, “I’m on Spring Break!!” Don’t get me wrong: I’m grateful for a week-long hiatus from class. It’s just that the concept of Spring Break is misleading for people when you’re a PhD student. So, from now on, I’m calling it my “highly productive week.” Because contrary to popular belief, I’m not spending the week laying on the beach – I’m whipping up some work and spending just as much time, if not more, doing all the things that just don’t get done when I’m in class, teaching, and generally prepping for my weekly deadlines.

The first task I tackled this week was data collection for a joint project that I’m doing with a colleague of mine, Ashley R. Kelly. We are examining rhetorical markers of controversy in public discourse surrounding the Duke Energy-Progress Energy merger that’s happening here in North Carolina. The new mega-power company will be the largest energy provider in the United States (in terms of customers). Complicating matters is the company’s desire to change North Carolina law in order to bypass public hearings about the proposed construction of nuclear reactors. We’ve just completed the data collection stage, so I’ll post more information once we’re further into the project.

I’ve also had the opportunity this week to develop my submissions for NCA 2011. I’ve submitted a revised seminar paper that I wrote last semester and am also finalizing a paper session proposal that Ashley and I will do together along with a PhD student from UGA who is also looking at rhetoric of science and nuclear energy issues. Hopefully, I’ll have to slots in the program for NCA 2011 and will be able to enjoy four great days in New Orleans this November!

Also on the agenda this week is reading Sherry Turkle’s newest book, Alone Together. I haven’t finished it yet, so I won’t post a full review until later, but in the meantime, I have a few ideas as I’ve been reading. It’s a little unsettling to read about how technology impacts our human relationships while at the same time, I’m taking notes on my Macbook, texting my husband, and checking Twitter. So automatically, I see the need for her research to better understand how this impacts our interactions with each other and our increased use of and reliance upon technology for everyday activities, including socializing.

Finally, I’m also working on my latest web project – a final project for my course in Writing Program Administration. It is a labor of love that I am really enjoying working on, but it will be a little while before it will go live and I will be able to share it with you. My goal right now is just to meet the deadline for the last day of class!

I realize I’ve falling a bit off of the blogging bandwagon and will hopefully get back on track now to my regular one post per week – so long as I have something important to say!

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