Scholar Spotlight: Kelsey Virginia Dufresne

1. Why did you apply to HASTAC? 

I applied to HASTAC because I started learning about and practicing in digital humanities a few years ago (at the start of my graduate work) – and I have since then been craving a community of practice. 

2. What has been your favorite course so far as an instructor or student? Why?

My background is in Secondary English Education, so teaching American Literature is an absolute dream. Last semester I was able to teach “Studies in Poetry” and “Great American Authors.” For the former, I focused on American poets and the process/making of multimodal poetry. For the latter, I focused on non-canonical authors and challenged what constitutes a “Great American Author.” For both classes, we were really able to explore the power of stories, storysharing, and how these things can help us to be better people — and hopefully be part of making a better world.

3. What do you want to do after you graduate?

This is the question I am most asked on a regular basis – and it is the most difficult to answer. I love teaching and being a teacher is a big part of my identity – yet I am very aware of the highly competitive job market for tenure-track academic careers. So with that, I would love to continue to teach, but also work in a Education Coordinator role for a museum or library. 

4. What’s something that people would be surprised to know about you? 

For folks that know me, this isn’t surprising – but I enjoy using my class presentation times to facilitate flower seed bomb-making and collaborative graffiti murals. I love experiential learning and doing.

5. What are some things that you wish you knew before you got into graduate school?

The best piece of advice I got at the start of my graduate education, but didn’t learn or understand for almost four years, was that coursework is far less of a priority. Instead, everything else you do and focus on are far more important.

6. How do you envision HASTAC and/or higher education in 10 years? Where do you fit in?

While I am not sure exactly how HASTAC will continue to grow and flourish (although I am positive it will), I hope higher education becomes far more authentically and genuinely inclusive, equitable, accessible, and anti-exclusionary. From course design to publishing systems to physical spaces, I think higher education institutions and systems have a lot of room for improvement.

7. How does digital scholarship fit into your research or teaching?

Digital scholarship and digital humanities are both integral to everything I do! With NC State University Libraires, I serve as the Digital Project Coordinator for the Open Knowledge Center – where I help develop digital projects, like Fermentology. In my own studies, I focus my work on the intersection of digital humanities and critical making design, seen with the QR Code Quilt. I also encourage students to develop digital-based projects to analyze American literature — which has led to my students developing 3D models, video games, music compositions, e-poetry and much more. 

8. What do you hope to accomplish with your research or teaching?

I hope my students and I can all teach each other to be kinder and more socially and critically-aware humans. And I hope my research stays with the trouble.

9. What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to?

In school, I am currently teaching Karla Cornejo Villavicencio ‘s The Undocumented Americans. Beyond school, I am (as always) listening to My Favorite Murder interspersed with musical theater. 

10. What’s something we should ask you? What’s your answer?

What do you love to do to practice care? I love cooking and baking – and then sharing that food. My favorite thing to make right now focaccia and a chocolate-hazelnut soufflé. Also buttered toast with berries on top.