Meet the New Graduate Student Research Assistants

emilyEmily Wilson was born in Hawaii and grew up in the Air Force, moving 18 times before coming to Ann Arbor. Her undergraduate degree is in elementary education, her master’s degree is in English literature and rhetoric, and she enjoyed teaching high school English for 11 wonderful years prior to pursuing her Ph.D. in English and Education here at Michigan. Emily is in the second year of her doctoral program, and her current research interest is helping military-connected students thrive in K-12 classrooms, particularly through literacy-based interventions. Her work as a graduate student research assistant at Sweetland has also piqued her interest in writing in STEM fields and the development and assessment of automated essay feedback programs. She has been married for over a decade to her college sweetheart, Tim, a multilingual vegan web consultant and part-time assistant pastor at their church.


Benjamin Keating is a doctoral candidate in U-M’s Joint Program in English and Education and a graduate student research assistant at the Sweetland Center for Writing. This is his final semester at Sweetland, where he has worked on a number of projects, including a multi-year longitudinal study of undergraduate writing development at U-M. In addition to his Sweetland work this semester, he is busy collecting data for his dissertation, which is an examination of peer review interaction in two college writing classrooms. His own research interests include peer review theory and practice, antiracist pedagogy, critical race and whiteness theory, language ideology, and discourse analysis.



Lizzie Hutton is now entering her sixth year in the JPEE program. Her dissertation explores the early inter-disciplinary career and context of the American reading theorist Louise Rosenblatt and retheorizes Rosenblatt’s constructs of transaction and stance for the post-secondary writing classroom. Lizzie’s interests include composition studies, literacy studies, reading studies, the transfer of knowledge, and creative writing, with a particular focus on poetry and poetics. This also marks Lizzie’s fourth year as a GSRA at the Sweetland Center for Writing, where, previous to her doctoral work, she was long-time faculty, teaching writing and literature courses at variety of levels.



Ryan McCarty is in his third year as a PhD student in the Joint Program in English and Education, and his second year as a GSRA at Sweetland. He has been continuing to gather data in his longitudinal study of bilingual students’ experiences with language and writing as they move from high school to college, and is increasingly interested in the ways that these students develop unique insights through their daily translational experiences. At Sweetland, Ryan has been part of the culmination of a large study of student writing development at the University of Michigan, which will result in a multi-authored book project. He is also helping to launch the pilot semester of a large cross-disciplinary study of writing to learn in the sciences.