Rhetoric & Composition (English MA, PhD)

Student Profiles


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Justiss Burry

My name is Justiss and I’m a first year graduate assistant in the English PhD program with a concentration in rhetoric & composition here at USF. I completed my MA in rhetoric and composition at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and my BA in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on English literature, philosophy, and cultural humanities at UCF. After completing my graduate degree in 2017, I taught first year writing courses at UCF up until this point.

Inasmuch as my research interests are concerned, I’m interested in myriad ideas that revolve around the rhetoric of health and medicine (RHM) such as exploring rhetorical ideas of fitness, conceptions of navigating patient agency in the ecology of electronic medical records (EMRs), and undergraduate medical schools’ pedagogical approaches to rhetorical principles. I’m also becoming increasingly interested in how perceptions of fitness are often embodied and how these perceptions of corporeality are negotiated for those who are HIV positive and those who are HIV negative. Another point of interest is a space where my RHM research interests align with writing program administrators (WPA) work in both first year composition (FYC) and professional and technical communication (PTC). My goal throughout this program is to learn more about these research interests in order to identify and engage in scholarly conversations that help articulate my identity as a teacher-scholar. 

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Jessica Griffith

Jess earned her BA in English and Intercultural Studies from Southeastern University in 2016 and her MA in English with a focus on rhetoric and composition from USF in the summer of 2019. She is currently a PhD student in the English program with a concentration in rhetoric and composition, and also teaches first year composition and professional writing. Her research interests include technical communication, pedagogy, and how writing programs can better support their students and instructors.

Karla Maddox headshot

Karla Maddox

Karla Maddox is a fourth year Ph.D. Candidate in Rhetoric and Composition, graduating in May of 2023.  Her dissertation focuses on the rhetorical nature of resilience work in Florida’s oldest fishing village, Cortez.  She has 15 years of experience in teaching Composition courses such as Analytical and Persuasive Writing, Literature, Communication for Health Sciences, Communication for Engineers, Cambridge Literature courses, and Cambridge Language courses. She is also skilled in Instructional Design, Academic/Technical Writing, Research, Course Creation, and Student Development. She holds a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Literature and a Graduate Certificate in Professional and Technical Communication (P.T.C.) from The University of South Florida. She graduated from The Honors College at USF with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English Literature, Suma Cum Laude.

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Marshall Martin

Greetings! I am a rhetoric and composition PhD student and a graduate teaching assistant in the First Year Composition Program here at USF. I received both my BA in philosophy and MA in English from Slippery Rock University in my home state of Pennsylvania. The academic disciplines I was a part of during my undergraduate and early graduate studies led me directly to the sub-discipline of rhetoric and composition. During my MA program, I served as a graduate assistant to the dean of the College of Liberal Arts, where I obtained invaluable administrative knowledge and experience. My research interests include writing program and institutional administration, labor conditions within English studies, attention and screen time management, and composition theory. I enjoy trying new cuisines, being with my family and friends, and traveling whenever I get the chance.

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Yulia Nekrashevich

Hello there. I am a PhD student studying rhetoric and composition. I graduated from Barry University with a bachelor’s in professional writing and received my master’s in rhetoric here at USF.

I am mainly interested in Mikhail Bakhtin’s writings on dialogue and the Carnivalesque. Previously, I did research on the Carnival and how it changes cultural hegemony. I am now studying the rhetoric of queer theory and applying my knowledge and skills into this area of focus, with the goal of learning and using methods that challenge social norms.

Michelle Sonnenberg

Michelle Sonnenberg

Michelle Sonnenberg is a second year PhD student studying rhetoric and composition whose interests include the rhetoric of science, the anthropocene, and global climate change. Michelle received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus. Her undergraduate degree is in geography and GIS with a focus on water resources. She earned a master of liberal arts from USF St. Petersburg campus focusing on American environmental nonfiction and climate change. At USF, Michelle intends to explore the relationships between humans, nonhumans, and our planet. She sees rhetoric as a tool to engage in effective communication for creating productive change in a time of climatic global unrest. She intends to spend her career exploring interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary pedagogical approaches to rhetoric and the environment. 

On top of teaching and learning, Michelle enjoys exploring the great outdoors, traveling, rain, and the Appalachian Mountains. She is raising a band nerd and a gamer while corralling a dog and three cats. She hopes to include chickens again.