I began researching graduate schools in late 2011 with an eye toward finding a terminal credential that would help me improve my skills with digital composition, communication theory, and media studies. I looked at programs across the country that had a variety of different approaches. There were creative writing PhD programs, American Studies programs, and old-fashioned English PhD programs. I got into some and was denied entry into others. I thought seriously, albeit fleetingly, about a move for our family that would have taken us into a completely different part of the country.
Ultimately, I found a program in Orlando at the University of Central Florida that has exceeded my expectations and helped me grow as a scholar and a person in ways that I never could have anticipated when I began attending classes in the fall of 2012.
UCF was rigorous, practical, and engaging. I took courses in HTML and XML theory, Web design, transmedia narrative theory, electracy, technical writing, modern rhetoric, writing for the Web, and cultural studies. I published three essays, completed thirteen classes, passed three qualifying exams, composed a six-chapter, 300-page dissertation, and successfully defended that research project in a culminating exam last week.
I am very thankful to UCF and to the faculty in the Texts and Technology program. The aims of the program, which combines traditional and historical communication theory with cutting edge computer science, are perfectly applicable to my work in Florida State College at Jackonsville's Converged Communication program. I have forged friendships and made relationships that I plan to keep well into the future, and I know that I am a stronger writer because the work I have completed has been met with greater enthusiasm by editors and readers.
I am participating in commencement in a few weeks with my family in attendance, and that will formally conclude at least one part of the process. But beginning with my classes at FSCJ in May, I will begin a new journey as I completely re-vamp my teaching approach and curriculum to help our students at FSCJ.
These are exciting times, and I couldn't have arrived at this place without UCF, the Texts and Technology program, and T&T's amazing faculty and community of scholars.