CRDM Distinguished Alumni Award

Sponsored by the Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media Program, the CRDM Annual Distinguished Alumni Award celebrates program alumni who have distinguished themselves in scholarly research and professional life since graduation. The award rewards alumni who have demonstrated some or all of the qualities below:

  • excellence in interdisciplinary work;
  • distinguished scholarly research and/or professional achievement since graduation;
  • sustained engagement in and ongoing commitments to the CRDM program;
  • outstanding service (community, institution, discipline/professional field or organization);
  • exemplary engagement within their discipline and/or professional field.

Every year, at the end of the Fall semester, the CRDM Director will issue a call for nominations. CRDM core, affiliated faculty, and students are invited to make nominations. To nominate an alum for the award, please submit the alumnus/a’s name, contact information, a current CV, and a brief (no more than 2 pages) nomination letter explaining how the alumnus/a meets the criteria outlined above and why he/she should be considered for the award. Recipients will be selected by the CRDM committee and announced during the CRDM Annual Symposium. Awardees are expected to come to the symposium to receive the award.

Questions should be directed to the CRDM Director.

2018 Winner:


Dr. Ashley Mehlenbacher


The CRDM program committee would like to congratulate Dr. Ashley R. Mehlenbacher, this year's winner of the program's Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dr. Mehlenbacher was presented the award during the opening of the 2018 CRDM Symposium on "Hybrid Play", March 26-27.

Since graduating in spring 2014 with a multiple award-winning dissertation, Hacking Science: Emerging Parascientific Genres and Public Participation in Scientific Research, Ashley has held tenure track positions in both English and Communication departments. She has been intensely productive since graduating, publishing 15 refereed journal articles, one co-edited book, five refereed book chapters, and five book reviews; many if not most of these have been in collaboration with CRDM alum, students, and faculty.

Driving this work is a commitment to understanding and improving the mechanisms through which different publics participate in scientific debates, discoveries, and controversies - from hackerspaces to game design to online forums to classrooms. Her work is timely, and her approach -- applying a rigorous theorization of rhetoric and how it operates across genres and contexts -- involves close collaboration with colleagues and practitioners, in education, science and technology studies, and the natural sciences, not to mention the humanities and social sciences.

In the words of Dr. Carolyn Miller, Ashley’s dissertation chair and frequent co-author and who nominated her for this award, her “career record demonstrates excellent scholarship, wide-ranging interdisciplinarity, and sustained engagement with CRDM. Ashley represents the best of what the CRDM program offers”.

Congratulations, Ashley!


Previous Winners