About Me

Currently, I am an Assistant Professor of English at High Point University. At HPU, I specialize in professional and technical writing. As a professor, I am dedicated to helping my students grow their professional and technical writing skills in a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses.

Formerly, I worked as the Associate Director of Composition and an instructor of professional and technical writing at USF. I earned my Ph.D. in Technical Communication and Rhetoric at Texas Tech University in 2014.

I earned my Master’s degree in English from the University of South Florida in 2010. I also served as the First Year Composition program’s Teacher Mentoring Coordinator.

While completing my Ph.D. dissertation, I worked at the University of Colorado (CS) as an instructor of Professional and Technical Writing. Before that, I worked at Texas Tech University as an instructor of composition, and I also served as the Assistant Director of Composition, a position in which I worked closely with the program director and University Writing Center to co-administrate the First-Year-Writing program. At TTU, I was also awarded the title of “Outstanding Ph.D. Document Instructor,” a designation bestowed to an instructor exhibiting the highest level of assessment practices.

In 2016, at the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), my dissertation was awarded the prestigious 2016 CCCC Outstanding Dissertation Award in Technical Communication, a distinction conferred to the best dissertation in the entire field for the year. My dissertation, titled “A ‘Natural’ Miscommunication: An Examination of User-Centered Front-of-Package Food Labeling Practices,” focused on a complex technical communication issue: the rhetoric of health claims made on U.S. commercial food labels. My project utilized a large-scale survey to focus on consumer interpretations of and confidence in health claims made via front-of-package label claims. I published a peer-reviewed article based upon one chapter of my dissertation in the December 2015 issue of Community Literary Journal in an article titled “Nutritional Noise: Community Literacies and the Movement Against Foods Labeled as ‘Natural.’”

Since completing my Ph.D. work, my scholarship has expanded from an interest in the merging between technical communication and public health to several research projects and rhetorical analyses focused on the complex intersections of technology, health, rhetoric, and communication. I have subspecialty research interests charting forward in the areas of technology and mobile health applications as well as the rhetoric of public health nutrition and the emerging area of vegetarianism and veganism. In a 2018 issue of the International Journal of Sociotechnology, I collaborated on a multimethod project titled  “Technologized Talk: Wearable Technologies, Patient Agency, and Medical Communication in Healthcare Settings.” Additionally, I contributed an article titled “Mobile Health Care Applications: Authorship, Regulatory Challenges, and the Role of Medical Writers” to the American Medical Writer’s Association Journal in June 2016.  By the end of this year, I am expecting publication of an additional peer-reviewed piece, titled “The Rhetoric of Vegan/Vegetarianism, and Health, Medicine, and Culture” in Rhetoric of Health & Medicine as well as two book chapters, “‘Friends Don’t Let Friends Eat Tofu’: A Rhetorical Analysis of Fast Food Corporation ‘Anti-Vegan-Options’ Advertisements” in The Routledge Handbook of Vegan Studies and “Bleeding Burgers: Brutality, Masculinity, and the Veg(etari)an Narrative” in The Rhetorical Construction of Vegetarianism.

Further, I have added to peer-reviewed scholarship in many areas related to professional writing. In 2016, I published two chapters in Engaging 21st Century Writers with Social Media, Advances in Higher Education and Professional Development titled “Creating Meaning for Millennials: Bakhtin, Rosenblatt, and the Use of Social Media in the Composition Classroom” and “Curating the Public Self:  Helping Millennial Students Present an Authentic, Professional Persona via LinkedIn.” In addition, I have published a variety of texts on professional writing and composition, including Rhetoric Matters, Rhetoric Really Matters, Rhetorical Approaches to Workplace Writing, First-Year Writing: Writing in the Disciplines, Power to the Pen: Pedagogical Approaches to Composition, and Artifacts. I have also published a book review of “Illness as Narrative” by Ann Jurecic in Composition Studies, and I was a co-editor of the Texas Tech First-Year Writing Program Reader, published by Bedford-St. Martins in 2012.

My research in health communication and rhetoric also extends into service for a growing national journal: since 2017, I have served as an assistant editor for Rhetoric of Health and Medicine. In this role, I have helped to research and compose several author interviews published in tandem with research articles in the journal. Further, I have promoted the journal on social media and within networks, helping to gain prominence for its articles, authors, CFPs, and special issues. In addition, I have served as a reviewer for this journal. At the 2020 MLA meeting, Rhetoric of Health and Medicine was presented the “Best New Journal” award by the Council of Editors of Learned Journals; it was the first writing or rhetoric journal to be given this award in the past ten years.

Before my work in academia, I earned my Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of North Florida and worked for a daily newspaper as an editor and writer. I also served as an editor for UNF’s weekly news publication throughout my undergraduate work. When I’m able, I work on a freelance basis for many online publications writing on a variety of subjects, including public health, food labeling, and nutrition communication.

If you have any questions or comments about my experiences, please feel free to email me at erin.trauth@gmail.com.

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