CRS Team

Dr. Katrina Powell, Director

Dr. Katrina M. Powell is Professor of English and Director of the Center for Rhetoric in Society at Virginia Tech.  She teaches courses in rhetorics of social justice, autobiography, and research methodologies and her research focuses on displacement narratives and human rights rhetorics across transnational contexts.  She is the author of The Anguish of Displacement (UVA Press 2007, funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship) and Identity and Power in Narratives of Displacement (Routledge 2015), editor of ‘Answer at Once’: Letters from Mountain Families in Shenandoah National Park (UVA Press 2009) and Practicing Research in Writing Studies: Reflexive and Ethically Responsible Research (with Pam Takayoshi, Hampton 2012). She has also published in JAC: Journal of Rhetoric, Culture, and PoliticsCollege English, College Composition and Communication, Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, and Prose Studies. Her current work focuses on the dissemination of displacement and refugee narratives and the ethical dimensions of archiving those narratives in alternative spaces.

A center staff member conducting an oral histories interview

Ren Harman, VT Stories Program Manager

Ren Harman is a Ph.D. Candidate in School of Education. An alumnus of Virginia Tech, he manages the day-to-day operations of VT Stories including: managing undergraduate and graduate interns, corresponding with interviewees and scheduling interviews, conducting interviews, coordinating VT Stories across campus, and supervising the development of stories.

Tarryn Abrahams, Research Assistant

Tarryn is a PhD candidate in Science and Technology Studies.

Alexis Priestley, Research Assistant

Alexis Priestley is a third-year PhD candidate in Rhetoric and Writing. She holds a BA in English from the University of Maine, an MA in English from Virginia Tech, and a Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies form Virginia Tech. Her primary research is in food and nutrition rhetorics and overlaps significantly with RSTM. She researches how nutrients and dietary patterns are understood and constructed in scientific and public policy documentation. She is also interested in intersectional feminist theory, critical theory, rhetorical theory, and public policy.

Katherine Randall, Research Assistant

Katherine Randall holds a BA in English from Southern Virginia University and an MA in English from Florida Gulf Coast University. Before joining the PhD program at Virginia Tech, she worked for five years in publishing, where she primarily focused on end-of-life care and physician-patient communication. Her research interests include rhetoric of medicine, health policy, rhetoric of science and technology, and the intersection of environmental rhetoric and global health.