During my tenure as graduate student in the Department of Communication at the University of Arkansas, I had the opportunity to study and analyze important moments of American culture, from looking at representations of race in Star Wars to Colin Kapernick’s protest.  This page is dedicated to things I learned in grad school.

Colin Kaepernick’s Protest and the NFL Plantation Metaphor

Published, Top Student Paper at SSCA

In this paper, I use public reactions to Colin Kaepernick’s protest and plantation
metaphor to expose inherently racist structures within the NFL business model. First, I look at other athletic protests and what makes Kaepernick’s protest different. Secondly, I review slave laws and plantation metaphor. Lastly, I end this paper with my analysis of different reactions to Kaepernick’s protest using plantation metaphors as a lens to read the text.

Implicit Racism in Portrayals of Diversity in Star Wars: Rogue One

Essay for Interpretive Communication

Star Wars is a global phenomenon with a rich history that has attracted millions of fans. Since the acquisition of Lucasfilm, Disney has made Star Wars movies more inclusive, but at what cost? Using the work of Stuart Hall and the principle of racist ideology, this paper will look at how Rogue One’s portrayals of minorities depicts minorities through the lens of colonialism, stereotypes of criminals, and as martyrs in need of redemption.

This paper seeks to create an awareness to the issue of gratuitous representation. It
matters how people groups are represented, not just that they are. If Hollywood truly seeks to show progress, filmmakers must understand the context in which they add diversity.

American Exceptionalism and Controlling Bodies at the U.S.-Mexico Border 

Essay for Feminism and Gender Rhetoric

This paper identifies themes of American Exceptionalism in Trump’s immigration rhetoric. Furthermore, I establish a link between this kind of immigration rhetoric and an American history of policing bodies and racial discrimination at the U.S.-Mexico border to show how the ideology of American Exceptionalism is weaponized against unwanted immigrants.

You Have Failed This City: Green Arrow and Vigilantism as Citizenship

Essay for Civic Engagement 

This paper takes a rhetorical analysis approach to understand the relationship between vigilantism and citizenship. First, I review the literature on the matter of citizenship and how scholars define it. Then, I look at failing government institutions and how the benefits of citizenship are not provided equally. In the section that follows, I investigate the topic of vigilantism; how it is defined, its role in American history, and how it is portrayed in American media. Using the CW show Arrow and the persona of Green Arrow as a case study, I identify themes of vigilantism and how it compares to traditional understanding of citizenship. 



Inclusivity through Storytelling and Design


The purpose of this capstone is to produce a creative communication work product for the Office for Diversity and Inclusion that will help convince regionally diverse and first-generation students to consider attending the University of Arkansas. This project examines competing narratives about first generation students at the University of Arkansas and uses narrative paradigm and storytelling theory as frameworks for producing stories that will help address the concerns of prospective first-generation students. This capstone uses design techniques and principles in the creation of the final work product. The final product is an online map of the state of Arkansas that consists of 75 unique, but equally sized circles which represent every county in the state, and will feature the stories of first-generation Arkansas students at the University of Arkansas.