Graduate Alumni Interview: Katie Walkup

Katie Walkup,

PhD English, rhetoric and composition concentration
Spring 2021


Headshot of Katie Walkup smiling into the camera in front of a tree

I'm grateful to USF English for opening up research, teaching, and administrative opportunities. My research interests were supported by the faculty in Rhetoric and Composition, who were willing to give me feedback on award applications, articles, conference presentations, and grants. For example, Dr. Meredith Johnson, my dissertation chair, helped me apply for and win the 2020 Association of Teachers of Technical Writing Graduate Research Award and multiple departmental awards. Dr. Meredith Johnson also helped me submit my forthcoming (July 2021) article to Technical Communication Quarterly.

USF English also helped me expand my teaching abilities. Each semester when I filed my course requests, I always requested to be given a new prep. As a result, I can teach ENC 1101, 1102, 2210, 3246, 3250, and 3310. When I asked Dr. Meredith Johnson about additional teaching opportunities, she offered me the opportunity to co-teach ENC 4218, Visual Rhetoric. Additionally, I had the opportunity to co-teach ENC 6745, Practicum in Teaching Composition.

A final component I wanted to mention here was how much I learned about administration from USF English. I drew on a lot of my experiences developing curriculum and conducting programmatic assessments on the market, and I think these experiences made me a more competitive candidate. More than that, though, administrative experience gave me institutional knowledge; how the university (and university funding) works; how power circulates through departments and colleges. This knowledge helped me choose the best offer for me on the job market.

What is your position now?

I'm a Collegiate Assistant Professor in Communication for Sociotechnical Systems in the Calhoun Discovery Program in the Honors College at Virginia Tech.