By Stuart Parrish
I’m Stuart Parrish, (he/him) Assistant Writer and Content Manger at TDHN this semester, and my Nom de Digital Media is Durham Person.
Let me begin with 2013. I began revisiting the certification at the Center for Documentary Studies, Duke, and also took the foundation course in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at Duke Integrative Medicine. That Fall 2013 semester I met Dr Fulford and took her Intro to Technical Writing class. Spring 2014 I took her Writing for Digital Media class.
Then a four year unplanned break from the institution came, as I took care of aging family, buying and selling houses, moves, etc. Fall of 2018, I was back and under advisor Dr. Stefanie Frigo as an Interdisciplinary Studies major taking an orientation to IDS. When I saw the course abbreviation “ Interdisciplinary Stu” I felt I had arrived!!
Cognition with Dr. Walter Charles, which I found rigorous and challenging, and Dr. Fulford’s classes were game changers, confidence builders, and I thought outside the box for myself. I used my relationship with Dr. Fulford to collaboratively create one of the most meaningful and rewarding experiences of my undergraduate (read that ‘entire’) life. ENG 4400 was a self-designed independent study culminating in a final report entitled “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Research on Nontraditional Students.” I had gone from being a subject in a Learning from Adult Learners study where Drs Frigo and Fulford were the PIs, to a closely mentored/supervised data parser. I began to think and write like a researcher, fulfilling a deeply personal goal. A word about the study – Adult Learners here are defined as those who have spent a year or more between high school and college, or were attending university and left before returning after at least a year gap. My concentration was on the area of adult learners, who, like myself, found technology and instructional technology, prevalence of cell phone/app usage, and online and hybrid learning daunting, or stressful. As an undergraduate with hopes of graduate school, I hope the work on the upcoming Triangle Digital Humanities Institute will continue to inform and inspire me in that area of special needs in Adult Learners with gaps that correspond to rapid change in tools and methods and the technology divide. I expect to meet other community members who are well acquainted with their story, but from new perspectives.
This Spring 2019 work led to Dr. Fulford, Jamal Whitted, and I presenting at the July 2019 conference on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion held at NCCU. In the wake of this, I urged my advisor, Dr. Frigo, to help me find a rewarding internship in Professional and Technical Writing, which, thanks to Dr. Lisa Carl and Claire Cahoon, finds me here writing and sneaker networking between the NCCU faculty meetings on the upcoming Triangle Digital Humanities Institute in October in Durham and and the TDHN writing team.
I did a short piece for Dr. Julie Nelson’s History of Rhetoric class last Spring which met in NCCU’s Digital Humanities Lab as a final project in digital rhetoric, discussing the change of the name of the Office of Student Disability Services to Student Accessibility Services. I was able to interview the director, Chevon Bogle-Dessuitt and create a combination music/spoken work piece for the class website. Dr Nelson was a former fellow of the Franklin Humanities Institute and brought strong insight and leadership to our fortunate small class of five! It was a rare exceptional class.
Fall 2019 has already proven to be fulfilling in addition to my work here at TDHN. I have reconnected with music and drama, two old lost loves, and acted in the recent A Need Fulfilled, telling the story of black nurses in WWII, and joining the Electronic Music Ensemble.