Here’s a familiar face: our very own Laura Romano, who just graduated from Ball State in 2014 with her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition. Now a member of our family as an assistant professor, she will be teaching classes in the Writing Program.

Laura was born in the state of Maine and grew up playing in rocky tide pools, eating lobster and breathing fresh pine tree-scented air. She moved to Indiana nine years ago after her husband was offered a public relations position at Ball State, and she lives in Yorktown with her husband, Anthony, her children Nicholas and Alexandra, and their new puppy, a miniature dachshund named Moxie. She enjoys baking, running, hiking and reading.

Below, Laura takes us through her interests.

How did you get interested in Rhetoric/Composition?

One of my research interests is exploring community rhetorics, particularly using the methods of oral history interviews and ethnographic observation.

This interest began when I was doing my undergraduate work at Bowdoin College. As an English major, I had the chance to write features and human interest stories for the school newspaper, and when I graduated, I was hired as a newspaper reporter. Eventually I was offered a regular column profiling the eldest members of my community, which sparked my interest in oral history.

I then earned a Master’s Degree at the University of Southern Maine, where I was fortunate to have the chance to work at their “Center for the Study of Lives” and use oral history to capture life stories.

Through my doctoral studies at BSU, I broadened this interest to use immersive qualitative research methods to investigate the rhetorics and literacy practices of community. My dissertation dealt with the intersection between digital technologies and identity within a small community in Maine, and I look forward to continuing to research the intersection of identity and digital technologies in the future.

How would you describe yourself as a teacher?

As a teacher, I try to connect with each student.

Writing can be a very personal thing, and when a student trusts his or her professor and knows that this professor has a sincere hope for that student to grow as a writer, then I think there is a greater potential for growth over the course of the semester.

In my classes, I emphasize writing as a process and the importance of revision, as well as the usefulness of collaboration with peers.

I am proud when a student sees that his or her work, even as an undergraduate, can be useful outside of the classroom.

Welcome to the English department, Laura!