Welcome to the ISU English Department’s Peer Advising Resource Team!
Our advisers are excited to share their experience and perspectives with prospective, incoming, and established members of ISU’s English Department Graduate Student Community.
Whether your questions be about
- Selecting a course of study
- Finding somewhere to live
- Navigating your first few semesters
- Making the transition from coursework to independent research
- Even looking for the best pizza in town
Please contact us, first looking at our individual bios and contacting us individually or sending general questions to our group at this address: email@example.com
To help us best direct your questions, please put the nature of your question in the subject heading.
Hi! I started the PhD in Rhetoric and Professional Communication program in Fall 2014. My research interests include digital rhetoric (especially Internet memes), digital technologies, and technical and professional communication practice and pedagogy. I’m the senior member of the Online Learning Team (OLT), which administers our Moodle and WordPress platforms in the English department. I originally hail from northern Utah, where I earned both my BA and MS degrees at Utah State and worked for a few years as a technical writer.
I would love to provide advice on food, housing, transportation, and cool places around ISU’s campus. I also have two little boys (born May 2014 and September 2016), so I’m happy to discuss young parenthood in a PhD program, though I’d be lousy in a discussion about schools for your children. For RPC students specifically, I’m happy to discuss your program of study (POS), transfer credits, which faculty you might want to work with, and ways you can get involved with Phorum, our student organization for RPC/RCPC students.
- Housing—Seriously consider buying a house if you’re pursuing a PhD here. Rent is so expensive, yet buying is somewhat reasonable. You might pay less on a mortgage than you would on rent. Buying outside of Ames is even cheaper.
- Food—Old Chicago for pizza, Mongolian Buffet and Panda Express for Asian, Jimmy Johns for sandwiches, Culver’s for burgers, El Azteca for Mexican, and HyVee for an amalgamation. People tout the Café and Maude’s, but they’re too rich for my blood.
- Transfer Credits (for PhD students)—Look into this early. Courses that you can transfer out of may affect your whole POS, so don’t wait on it.
My name is Kim and I started the PhD in Applied Linguistics & Technology in Fall 2015. My research interests include computer-assisted language learning and corpus linguistics. I grew up in Mississippi where I earned a B.A. in English and then was a Teach for America Corps Member. I earned an M.A. TESOL at Northern Arizona University and afterward taught ESL for nearly ten years—primarily at a community college in Nashville, Tennessee—before moving to Ames. My household includes one husband, two sons (born in 2004 and 2009), five chickens, and a pet snake. We live in a home we bought near downtown Ames.
I am happy to answer questions about anything, but in particular, I have experiences to share about enrolling children in public schools, purchasing a home in Ames, trying to manage a family while in grad school, and raising backyard hens.
Bonus tip: I encourage you to freely ask questions of faculty, staff, and students. No one can learn everything from the POS Manual or website information. I wish I had asked more questions instead of assuming that I “should” know it all or that asking questions made me seem uninformed. As for food, I like the mac and cheese and homemade chips/dip at the Cafe, pizza at Vesuvius, and Scotch eggs, scones, and tea at the Mucky Duck pub.
Hello! I entered the Iowa State M.F.A. program in Creative Writing and Environment in 2013 and was retained as a lecturer following my graduation in 2016. I teach primarily in the ISUComm program and serve as the advisor of the Iowa State Car Club. Before coming to Iowa, I achieved a B.A. from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and I am originally from Geneseo, New York.
I’d be delighted to offer advice on the M.F.A. program of study, lesson planning, grading, renting apartments in Ames, restaurants and bars, grocery shopping, mechanics, and root beer.
Hi! I’m Sam, a first year PhD student in the Rhetoric and Professional Communication program here at ISU. My current research interests are risk communication, visual rhetoric, and navigating digital spaces. I plan on staying in academia after graduation, ideally securing a tenure track position at an R1 university. I have 3 years experience teaching English Composition courses and hope to teach Technical Communication courses in the future.
I am originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina, but have moved around a bit since starting graduate school. I came to Ames from Tampa, Florida so if you are also from a warm weathered state, we can reminisce about warm winters and flip flops. Topics I can advise on: renting apartments off-campus, CyRide, restaurants & bars, sorting out the course DPS, and getting in your transfer credits.
Bonus Tip: If you’re looking for good wings and a place to watch sports, check out The Other Place. They’ve got good drinks and a big screen for games!
Kelly Cunningham is a PhD candidate in Applied Linguistics & Technology (ALT) co-majoring in Human Computer-Interaction (HCI). She has an MA in intercultural studies/TESOL and taught ESL in a variety of programs in the Chicago suburbs for nearly 7 years before coming to Iowa State. Her research uses UX methods and appraisal analysis to investigate the use of technology in ESL feedback and explores niche genres through corpus and discourse analysis. Currently she coordinates graduate peer review groups through the Graduate College’s Center for Communication Excellence and is an RA in the School of Education.
Areas for advice: Research design (mixed methods & qualitative), writing for publication, conferences & presentations, finding resources on campus (especially for writing & communication), transitioning from ESL teacher to PhD student, job searching for MA TESOL students/ESL teaching in the US, CALL, appraisal analysis, discourse & corpus analysis, portfolio/proposal/pilot planning, talking through research ideas, strategic degree planning, time management, productivity & writing tools/software, research methods courses, off campus housing,
Bonus Tips: For everyone: Los Altos- good sit down Mexican restaurant in the Northern Lights plaza north of the mall, worth checking out. For new students: Use transit directions from google maps for CyRide planning.
I am a third-year PhD student in the Applied Linguistics and Technology program. My areas of interest include corpus linguistics, sociolinguistics, identity, spoken language, and learner autonomy. As a graduate assistant here at Iowa State, I have taught ENGL 150, 250, 99L, 99R, 101C, and 180A and have been working as a graduate communication consultant at the Writing and Media Center. Back in my home country, Iran, I was an English Translation major as an undergraduate, got a Master’s in TESL, taught English to adults and young adults at several language institutes and a university, and worked as a newscaster/translator in the English Radio. I love trying new foods and cultures, therefore travelling and finding new friends.
I would be happy to provide advice on: developing plans for PhD coursework; teaching any of the courses I have taught; applying for non-teaching jobs such as at the WMC; and travelling and visa processes for Iranians. I would also love to provide support for new (particularly international) students regarding cultural differences and adapting to their new life in Ames as well as possible difficulties that come with being a PhD student.
Hi! My name is Joe Geluso. I am in my 4th year of the Applied Linguistics and Technology program. My studies focus mainly on corpus linguistics, phraseology, cognitive linguistics, and SLA. Outside of the ALT program, my life consists of spending time with my kids (5 and 8 years old). Typical activities include scooting around and exploring Ames on our A5 Lux kick scooters, refining our ground strokes on the tennis court, kicking balls on the soccer field, deconstructing the latest Marvel, DC, or Star Wars experience, building Legos, and reading books together. I would be happy to share information about Ames related to family life (e.g., where to live, schools in the district, etc.).
I also have a lot to say on the coursework in the program and which courses I would take and in what sequence if I had the chance to do it all over again. Please ask me questions!
Hello, and welcome to ISU’s English department website! I’ve been a PhD student in the ALT program since 2014, specializing in language assessment with a sort of unofficial minor in corpus-based methods. People often think I’m from around here (Iowa), for some reason, but I originally come from Canada—Medicine Hat, Alberta, to be exact. Other places where I have lived include Korea and Taiwan. As you might guess, I am pretty accustomed to picking up and moving to other locations, and have made more international moves than I care to recall. I am single and live by myself, though I do have 2 cats that have lived with me in all of the countries in which I’ve lived, so among other things, I can give advice about moving when you have pets.
Other things to ask me about: language assessment courses, general coursework, living off-campus, student visa (esp. for Canadians), clothes shopping, pets, ridiculously cute cat pictures
Bonus tip: Lagomarcino on campus has a nice little cafe that serves food. It’s pretty busy during noon hour, but the rest of the time it’s usually quiet. Outside seating in summer (or winter if you’re brave). Off-campus, a nice coffee shop is the Dutch Oven Bakery. It’s fairly far from the university, but is a quiet and well-lit place. Good spot to get work done.
I’m a PhD student in Applied Linguistics and Technology. I started this program in 2016. My BA and MA are both from Northern Arizona University, where I studied English Literature and Professional Writing. Outside of academics, I’ve worked as a technical writer and quality assurance generalist in engineering companies. My research interests include discourse analysis, morphology, semantics, and computer science. I am happy to address questions about teaching ISUComm, project planning, group projects, and research proposals.
Personally, I live off-campus and commute (as much as possible) by bicycle. I have 2 dogs and a cat.
As far as navigating graduate student life in Ames, I can recommend a good veterinarian, mechanic, and CPA. If you like cooking at home, talk to me about recipes that are good for reheating as leftovers.
Hello! I am currently a PhD student in the Applied Linguistics and Technology program at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA. I used to be a Fulbright recipient from Vietnam and received my MA in TESL from Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, USA in 2011. I am also a lecturer of English at University of Foreign Languages – the University of Danang, Vietnam. I am interested in validity, statistics, psychometrics, second language oral assessment, and quantitative research methods.
I am willing to provide advice regarding housing and transportation in Ames as well as courses that should be taken if language assessment and statistics are the areas of interest.
Iowa State is a large, prestigious university with a friendly hometown personality. Its 26,000 students choose from 100+ majors, study with world-class scholars and keep more than 500 student organizations going strong. The ISU campus was designed by the Olmstead Brothers in 1906, The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) selected Iowa State’s central campus as a “medallion” site in 1999. Iowa State joined Yale University and the University of Virginia as recipients of this honor.
About the Ames community
What’s it like to live and study in central Iowa? The city of Ames offers possibilities you didn’t expect.
Ames, the home of Iowa State, ranked in the New Rating Guide to Life in America’s Small Cities as the second most livable small city in the nation. The city of 60,000 people, which is also the site of the state Department of Transportation, the Ames Laboratory, and the National Animal Disease Lab, lies 30 minutes north of Des Moines, in central Iowa (which was rated the #1 best place in the United States for business and careers by Forbes magazine and the #9 best place to live in the United States by Yahoo).
A Cosmopolitan Small Town
Ames benefits from the university’s cosmopolitan atmosphere and offers the advantages of a small city. Cyclone Stadium and the various performing arts facilities of the Iowa State Center (James H. Hilton Coliseum, C. Y. Stephens Auditorium, and Fisher Theater) host major concerts, touring companies, small-venue artists and groups, and other cultural events. Ames has an extensive, well-maintained, and accessible park system; the downtown park hosts evening band concerts once a week throughout the summer. Students with families will find excellent public schools, numerous activities and organizations for children, and many day care centers. Expansion Magazine rates Ames #3 in the United States for “best-educated work force” and “most PhDs per capita.” AARP Magazine (2009) rates Ames the #5 place to live in the United States, The Award-Winning ISU Campus is Among the US’s Most Beautiful, calling it “high on culture and low on stress” (Ames topped the AARP list of cities in the U.S. for life expectancy). In all, it’s a very pleasant place to live. The City of Ames, Iowa State students, and the University itself collectively support an efficient public transportation system. Des Moines, the state’s capital and largest city, offers additional cultural attractions, including outstanding art and science centers and triple-A baseball in a beautifully remodeled ballpark.