Every Monday, we will be introducing a few of our CESTA Summer Research Assistants and their projects. This week’s spotlights are on Grace Klein, Dee Dee Pickard, and Carla Forbes.
Grace Klein is a senior majoring in English Prose with a minor in Digital Humanities. They have been working on Elaine Treharne
's CyberText Technologies
project since its inception two years ago, attempting to catalogue and track the development of dominant text technologies across the millennia to identify success trends. Along with the rest of the team, Grace has been responsible for database creation and management, research and case study mining, theory formulation, coming up with new research methodologies for the project, and then redoing everything when we realize that we actually need to be heading in a different direction after all. Grace is known as the encyclopedia of the team, and is generally reliable for remembering obscure and overlooked details that would be useless in any other context.
CESTA has taught Grace job skills that have been very useful for every other job they've held simultaneously during their time at Stanford, like how to dig up and slam 100+ entries into Excel spreadsheet in under eight hours. These organizational principles will form a great foundation for them moving forward while pursuing their dreams of creating and editing comics and graphic novels, and writing the official Sharknado novelization.
Dee Dee Pickard
Dee Dee Pickard is a rising senior and transfer student majoring in psychology, with an emphasis in gender culture. She’s currently working with Professor Sarah Levine
(Graduate School of Education) on the Levine Eye-Tracking Project. This project uses audio and eye-tracking technology to collect data about how PhD and high school students read different kinds of texts. Insights into the processes employed during reading can help teachers implement better strategies and techniques for critical analysis and reading comprehension. Dee Dee is working on transcribing the audio interviews with study participants and coding these transcripts with tags that show the frequency with which participants utilize particular Rules of Notice (comprehension of important information and repeated patterns) while reading.
Dee Dee’s interest in the Digital Humanities stems from a desire to participate in the creation of educational accessibility and equality. So far, her experience working in the CESTA lab has given ample opportunity to reflect on how the intersections of humanities education and technology can be crucial sites for understanding inequality in educational systems. She is most excited to learn more about whether specific subject matter elicits more effective reading process.
Prior to her study at Stanford, Dee Dee spent ten years teaching voice and singing professionally. Her time in Los Angeles significantly contributed to her interest in social psychological questions, and she draws on her experience in the music industry to contemplate how media shapes individual-level psychological experiences.
Carla Forbes is a senior pursuing a B.A. in African and African American studies, with a minor in Urban Studies. They are currently a research assistant for CESTA’s ongoing Chinese Railroad Workers
project, led by Dr. Gordon H. Chang
. The project attempts to cultivate understandings and histories regarding the experiences of the Chinese laborers who were critical to the late-nineteenth century production of the Transcontinental Continental Railroad. The goals of this project are not only historical, but anthropological as well, aiming to highlight the Chinese narratives that have been absent from this foundational moment in the American memory. More specifically, Carla is reviewing the Survey of Race Relations, an archival collection from the early 20th century containingdocuments that investigated non-white residents of the Pacific coast of the United States. This collection gives further insight to the racialized social and political dynamics at play between white colonizers and the Chinese laborers they depended on during this epoch. In addition, Carla is assisting with the updatingthe project database.
They are excited about the range of resources that CESTA has to offer, from its community to the hidden wonders within the university that help make the digital humanities flourish. They joined the CESTA team intrigued by the dynamic, interdisciplinary curiosity of the center’s research approach and projects. Carla’s interests range from Black Feminist and Black Queer theory, identity formation, and institutionalized inequities to concerns of knowledge production, distribution and pedagogy. Extracurricularly, they are an avid Whovian and general lover of science fiction, specifically for the room the genre creates for imaginations of liberatory practice(s). They love to art and craft, enjoy nature’s flora and fauna, and they are the proud parent of two fierce felines, Diego and Luis. Carla’s favorite holiday, although not personally practiced, is Día de los Muertos, which has developed their affinity to Calaveras de azucar (Sugar skulls). On a given day, you can catch them avoiding public spaces and discovering new ways to trip over miscellaneous objects!
From the writer’s desk
I’m Huanvy Phan, a rising sophomore majoring in Asian American Studies and Philosophy. I’m working as a Communications Assistant this summer, which involves helping with the day-to-day intercommunications between the RAs and managing this blog. I’m beyond thrilled to be working with CESTA and I’m eager to dive into the world of digital humanities.