I’m at the end of my career as a student. Next week I defend my dissertation, and move on to my career as a professor. Through my time as a doctoral student and candidate, I was helped along the way by so many amazing people. This is the acknowledgements page from my dissertation. It doesn’t mention all of the amazing people who gave me support through social media, conferences, and emails. But they were there, too.
This project has been in development for nearly five years, and would not have been possible without the support, assistance, and input of many people. My advisor, Laura J. Gurak, provided steady support and insight throughout all of my years at the University of Minnesota, not only as an advisor, but also as a friend. Her enthusiasm encouraged me even when I had grown tired of the topic, helping me to see it through a fresh lens and become enamored of it once again.
My committee, Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch, Tom Reynolds, and Michael Hancher have given me encouragement and feedback throughout all of the stages of this work. The Department of Writing Studies staff has been invaluable and has provided support throughout my degree process. I especially thank Mary Wrobel for introducing me to the department, Nan Nelson and Elizabeth Cahill-Dunens for their untiring support during the job search and dissertation completion, and Barb Jensen and Shannon Klug for making my classes run smoothly. This would not have been possible without their assistance.
My colleagues have provided consistent support and encouragement, helping me see the value of my work from a variety of perspectives. Tad Patterson offered friendship and encouragement in all the ways I needed it. I also want to thank Merry Rendahl, Stephen Brasher, Joe Weinberg, Drew Virtue, Josh Welsh, Trent M. Kays, and Kira Dreher for inviting me out of my home in order to be amongst the living. Those lunches and dinners made doctoral work much less lonely.
Anne Wysocki and Dennis Lynch, along with Susan Hilligoss, Karen Gocsik, Candice Rai, Erin Anderson, Heather Brook Adams, Robin Oswald, Tracy Ferrell, Martha Cheng, Kate Ryan, Susan Hagan, and Kuhio Walters, at their 2011 RSA summer seminar on Composing Multimodal Rhetorics, provided integral insights into my research topic.
Krista Kennedy became not only a friend and confidante during my doctoral work, but a mentor. She provided a space for me to think out loud, to vent, to question, and to get feedback.
My family has been the foundation upon which this project is built. Their joy and excitement, interest and collusion made it all possible. I especially am indebted to my brother, Shadow W. J. Armfield, for his patience throughout my studies, my exams, and my writing. He was my rock throughout. I thank his wife, Jennifer, who has also been working on her degrees and supported my need to spend hours talking with my brother about education, teaching and learning, technology, and writing. My nieces and nephews are my reasons for pursuing this work. I want to be a better role model for them at all stages of life.