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Doctoral Research Associates

An essential part of fulfilling the mission of the Transformation Project is supporting the vibrant and innovative ideas, research, and scholarship produced by doctoral students. To assist in the development and dissemination of their scholarship, The Transformation Project offers competitive opportunities for financial assistance to fund ongoing research projects, attend new training instrumental in their research, and support conference attendance.

 In the past several years, Transformation Project support has enabled attendance at conferences globally, such as the International Communication Association, International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication, Aspen Engaged, and others. Additionally, others have been supported in on-going training that directly supports their research, such as ASU’s “Mindful Leadership” seminar or the international “Being a Leader” course.

Transformative research by doctoral students crosses approaches, paradigms, and methodology. Current projects include the development of Dominant Group Theory and the responsible use of privilege, multi-generational life reminiscence and creative movement performance, mindful leadership, transformative and ontological/phenomenological pedagogies, communicative resiliency, and sibling relationships. Methodologically, students use a variety of research methodologies, including autoethnographic, performance, qualitative, participatory approaches, quantitative, critical, and rhetoric.

Below you’ll find current Transformation Project associates discuss the impact and support of the Transformation Project in their scholarly journey.   

Lauren Mark

The transformation project has enabled me to have a variety of experiences across diverse conferences, teaching and presenting, that I would not have been able to afford without their funding. In 2017, I had the opportunity to the attend the 67th annual conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) and present my research on multi-generational life reminiscence sharing that led to generated creative movement performances. Later that summer, I again received funding to aid with travel expenses to guest teach alongside John (Jack) Condon at the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication at Reed College for a workshop based on the teachings of Edward T. Hall. I had the opportunity to supplement Jack's teaching on Hall with embodied, experiential exercises crafted to help participants experience various principles of Hall's concepts.

This year, in 2018, the Transformation Project's funding enabled me to attend the 14th International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry (ICQI) in Champaign, Illinois, where I presented research featuring the use of the Feldenkrais method on students' writing process in an arts-based research and education panel. In addition to presenting, this conference opened my eyes to a breadth of qualitative work being conducted across disciplines that will forever after altering the way I view research. I'm very grateful for the supportive, collegial atmosphere that the Transformation Project has provided since I arrive at Hugh Downs.

Conferences and Support

International Communication Association (2017); Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (2017); International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry (2018)

Bailey Oliver

The Transformation Project has supported me throughout all four years of my doctoral program at ASU, and I am still reaping the benefits of my time spent with this initiative in my career today. From early on in my program, the Transformation Project supported me by funding my travel for academic conferences where I met with some of the scholars I would ultimately be publishing with on cross-institutional research teams and who would even serve on my doctoral dissertation committee!  These important relationships were in many ways cultivated by programs and conferences supported by the initiative and even lead to recommendation writers when I was on the job market. The networking opportunities and monetary support from the transformation project are truly what allowed me to be successful as a graduate student and budding academic on the job market. I am also very thankful that the Transformation Project hosted both formal and informal sessions for scholars to talk about their research and brainstorm new research ideas. I was awarded two regional top paper awards for research that originated in some of these sessions! The transformation project truly helped me cultivate new ideas and surrounded me with a support system of scholars with similar research goals. During my last year at ASU, the transformation project also offered a grant to help support my dissertation research. I was able to conduct two different studies to contribute to my dissertation research thanks to this grant, a feat that would not have been accomplished without the financial support. In sum, I am forever grateful and indebted to the Transformation Project, which supported me in funding and mentorship throughout my doctoral program.

Conferences and Support

Southern States Communication Association (2016)

Nandita Sabnis

Through the Transformation Project, I have been connected to scholarship that provides insight and understanding into the nuanced elements of the human condition understood through human communication and the way research can produce understanding and change in the world. I was awarded a $500 grant to attend the ICA Conference 2018 in Prague to present a solo-authored poster as well as co-authored paper. Additionally, the Transformation Project provides opportunities for collaboration and workshopping. I was able to attend the June 2018 writing retreat which allowed for the time and space to work on refining my dissertation.

Conferences and Support

International Communication Association (2018)

Sophia Town

The Transformation Project has been an integral part of my research success during my time at ASU in three impactful ways. 

First, the Transformation Project has made it possible for me to travel and present my work on co-elevating leadership at regional, national, and even international conferences. Through this travel and networking, I have had the opportunity to share my work, discuss collaboration opportunities, and even meet new committee members! I am so grateful the Transformation Project has helped me begin to carve my path as a junior scholar in the field of organizational communication.

Second, the Transformation Project supported my continued education by awarding me with scholarships to attend meaningful courses and certificates, such as a certificate on Mindful Leadership, which is directly relevant to my dissertation work on mindful leadership and organizational paradox. Furthermore, the Transformation Project is funding my travel to the boutique Aspen Engaged conference this year to present my in-process dissertation and gain insight and knowledge from respected organizational communication scholars around the nation. 

Last, and certainly not least, it was through my work with and for the Transformation Project that I was selected as a 2018-2019 Jeanne Linde Herberger Fellow in Communication. This monetary fellowship will allow me to expand my dissertation research in such a way that will impact the rigor, quality, and reach of my work. 

On top of all of this, the Transformation Project has given me a “home” within the larger organizational communication field. By conceptualizing my research as work that aims to transform, I am able to better understand myself and my long-term scholarly aspirations.

Conferences and Support

Aspen Engaged (2017, 2018), Mindful Leadership workshop (2017), Academy of Management (2018)

Rob Razzante

 Aspen Engaged

  • The annual Aspen Engaged Conference is a great place to collaborate with organizational communication scholars and practitioners. Most of the attendees are working through projects and present questions to their colleagues to help further their ideas. Funding from the Transformation Project enabled me to workshop ideas for bringing intercultural communication and organizational communication into conversation with one another. From that conference, I developed ideas I then pursued my advanced qualitative course, critical-cultural communication course, and organizational communication course. I wrote the class papers I then submitted to conferences and journals. The willingness of faculty and practitioners to collaborate helped motivate me to pursue these projects.

Communicating Diversity Conference at Texas A&M

  • The Transformation Project supported my trip to a conference on diversity at Texas A&M. The conference allowed me the opportunity to present ideas regarding dominant group theory as transformative practice to faculty and students. This trip helped me refine my ideas for a final project in Dr. Tracy’s well-being and social impact class. Additionally, the trip allowed me the opportunity to meet with the great faculty in A&M’s school of communication.

 #ResponsiblePrivilege Workshop

  • The Transformation Project provided funding for the creation of t-shirts for my final project in Dr. Tracy’s well-being and social impact class. The workshop entitled, #ResponsiblePrivilege, was a workshop where attendees talked about their own privileges and disadvantages before exploring what responsible uses of their privileges might be.

 Conferences and Support

Aspen Engaged (2017); Communicating Diversity Conference (2018); Financial support of #ResponsiblePrivilege workshop held at ASU (2018)

Jessica Kamrath

The Transformation Project has provided me with opportunities to research ontological/phenomenological approaches to teaching and learning, specifically in the areas of happiness and leadership. An ontological/phenomenological approach focuses on a level of mastery that leaves the student being in a new way rather than epistemological learning, which focuses on knowing. The approach provides access for transformation, leaving those engaged with the approach access to be in a new way. I attended the Creating Course Leaders in Toronto, which focused on mastering the principles and effective delivery of the ontological/phenomenological access to leadership. The course was an intensive 58 hours of workshops and assignments to master the effective delivery, course content, course distinctions, and method to create the access necessary for students to discover for themselves the distinctions for the effective exercise of leadership. Later, I attended a seven-day intensive course at Clemson University to advance my research and mastery of the material. Today, I continue to research students' and teachers' experiences engaging with the approach. I have been able to teach courses using the approach at the undergraduate level and works as part of a teaching team at both the undergraduate and doctoral level. Beyond teaching, I have also had the opportunity to be involved with conference papers on the approach, presented by my colleagues at the Organizational Communication Conference and at the ICNAP (Interdisciplinary Coalition of North American Phenomenologists) Conference. In addition, I was asked to present a leadership workshop at the CLAS Student Leader Night.

Conferences and Support

Creating Course Leaders Workshop (2015); Being a Leader Course (2016), Organizational Communication Mini-Conference (2017)

Carlos Flores 

During the inaugural writing retreat in the Spring 2018 semester, Drs. Tracy and Alberts offered financial support to graduate students undertaking various projects. I benefited greatly from the support of the Transformation Project, as I was provided with financial resources to obtain editing services for my dissertation project. I sought the editing services of Kristen Foht Huffman, who has been connected to the Hugh Downs School faculty and previous graduate students by way of her previous work and contributions. It was through her assistance and the support of the Transformation Project faculty that my dissertation came to fruition, and I am truly thankful for them.

Conferences and Support

Financial support for editing Dissertation project