Chat with us

Our Staff

Jackie Rhodes, Director

Jackie Rhodes studies the intersections of rhetoric, materiality, and technology, and has had her work published in journals such as College Composition & CommunicationCollege EnglishComputers & CompositionenculturationJAC, and Rhetoric Review. Her co-authored and co-edited books have won a number of awards, including the 2014 CCCC Outstanding Book Award (for On Multimodality) and the 2015 Computers & Composition Distinguished Book Award (for On Multimodality); the 2016 CCCC Lavender Rhetorics Award for Excellence in Queer Scholarship (forTechne); and others. In 2022, she was awarded (with frequent collaborator Jonathan Alexander) the CCCC Exemplar Award “for exemplifying the highest ideals of scholarship, teaching, and service to the profession.” She is also a filmmaker; her documentary Once a Fury, which profiles the members of a 1970s lesbian separatist collective, is currently in streaming distribution. Over the course of her career, she has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in rhetorical theory and history, multimodal composition, writing pedagogy, and LGBTQ+ studies.

Alice Batt, Assistant Director

Alice Batt is a graduate of UT’s English Department (MA, ’91; Ph.D. ’96), a former UWC consultant, and a long-time lecturer for the Department of Rhetoric & Writing. As assistant director Alice supervises the administrative staff and student staff, teaches RHE368C: Writing Center Internship, and represents the UWC to departments and units across UT. Her research interests include disability studies (particularly in relation to writing center work) and collaborations between libraries and writing centers. She is past president of the South Central Writing Centers Association, a frequent presenter at the International Writing Centers Association Conference, and the proud parent of two currently enrolled Longhorns.

Michele Solberg, Operations Manager

Michele Solberg handles all the business elements of the UWC – budgets, appointments, work schedules, and payroll. An accomplished singer-songwriter, Michele has produced 7 CDs, the latest of which is Harvest Time. She has received numerous honors from the Austin Music Awards (1992-1995), and a Nonny Award from Greenlights for Nonprofits (2007) for her production of Christopher House Songs (2006). She lives in South Austin with her daughter, husband, a cat named Steve, and a dog named Bo.

Emma Beard, Administrative Associate

Emma Beard graduated in 2020 from UT with a Bachelor’s in History, and recently earned her Masters in Public History from Texas State University. Her research focuses on memory studies, 20th century Texas history, and issues within archiving. Her Masters thesis examined roadside memorials, their regulation through agencies such as TxDOT, and how they can be preserved. Emma has had her work both exhibited and presented in the Texas State Alkek Library and at the Center for Southwest Studies, respectively. Outside of academics, Emma enjoys trying new recipes, reading any fantasy or science fiction she can get her hands on, and painting. 

Michaela Pernetti, Assistant to Graduate Services

Michaela Pernetti (she/her) is a PhD student in the Educational Policy and Planning program at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research examines local responses to teacher attrition and shortages in an effort to better understand how we can build a sustainable and diverse workforce of high-quality educators. She also works as a graduate research assistant at the Texas Advanced Computing Center and is the Managing Editor for the Texas Education Review.
Michaela first began working in writing centers as an undergraduate at Santa Clara University, where she earned a BA in English and a BS in Political Science in 2019. She continued working as a writing partner and instructor at the University of Chicago, where she earned her Masters of Public Policy in 2022.
In her free time, Michaela enjoys reading, winning championships with her softball team, and volunteering with Camp Kesem.

Erin Akins, Assistant Program Coordinator

Erin Akins (she/her) is a PhD student and assistant instructor in the department of English. Erin earned a BA in English in 2019 from West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas, and an MA in English from the University of Texas at Austin in 2022. Her research focuses on the dramatic representations of gender and power in early modern English drama, particularly history plays. Erin also writes poetry and enjoys video games. 

Ali Gunnells, Praxis Assistant Editor

Ali Gunnells (she/her) is a PhD student and assistant instructor in the Department of Rhetoric & Writing. She also works with the Assessment of Teaching & Learning Fellowship at the Center for Teaching & Learning as the Graduate Experiential Learning Pedagogy Consultant. Ali previously received a BA in English and women’s studies from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, an MA in humanities from the University of Chicago, and a dual MA/MSIS in English and information studies from the University of Texas – Austin. Her research interests include digital rhetorics, narrative, archival theory, and pedagogy. Outside of academics, Ali enjoys spending time with her husband and cat, cross stitching, and playing baritone saxophone in two local brass bands: Yes Ma’am Brass Band and Dead Music Capital Band

Hannah Halford, Presentations Co-Coordinator

Hannah Halford is a doctoral student in the department of Language and Literacy in the College of Education. Prior to enrolling at UT, Hannah taught eighth and ninth grade English for seven years. She earned her B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Psychology from Rhodes College in Memphis, TN., and her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Mississippi as a member of the Mississippi Teacher Corps program. Her research interests include secondary writing pedagogy efficacy and the cultivation of writing identities. When she’s not working, Hannah can be found on the soccer field, on the pickleball court, or on the couch with a book (or Xbox controller!) in hand.