Current Student Profiles

Name: Kim Baker
Degree: PhD (2nd Year)
Interests: Usability testing, professional writing pedagogy

Kim brings nearly a decade of professional experience to her academic work as a graduate teaching assistant and Ph.D. student in the Professional Writing program. In 2012 she earned an M.A. from the same program, and prior to that earned a B.A. in Advertising from Marquette University (2001). Before starting her program, Kim worked for a Milwaukee-area custom media firm and served several Fortune 500 clients in public relations, marketing communications, and trade media relations roles.

Her current research interests in usability testing and professional communication pedagogy seek to blend workplace experience and academic scholarship. Currently in her second year of doctoral studies, Kim teaches Business Writing (ENG 205) and Introduction to Composition (ENG 101) and contributes to usability-testing and user-experience research initiatives in her role as a usability testing specialist in the L&S Usability Testing Lab.

Major Accomplishments:

  • Chancellor's Graduate Student Award, UWM, 2012-2013
  • James A. Sappenfield Fellowship, UWM, 2013-2014
  • Student remarks, UWM College of Letters & Science Scholarship Reception, October 1, 2013


Name: Mick Brickner
Degree: MA (1st Year)
Interests: New media, single-sourcing, IT process documentation, IT communication, wikis, technology transfer

Like many students in the Professional & Technical Writing program, Mick is both a practitioner and student oftechnical communication. He joined the Professional & Technical Writing program as an M.A. student in 2013, and he currently works in professional development and technical training for UWM's University Information Technology Services group.

Mick is also one of several students in the Professional & Technical Writing program who has an academic background outside of technical communication. He earned a B.S. in Education with emphasis on Broad Field Science: Early Adolescence through Adolescence in 2008. His academic background mixed with his technical communication experience puts him in an exciting position as a member of the new wave of scholars in the Professional & Technical Writing program.

Major Accomplishments:

  • Co-presented "Meeting Information Security Awareness Needs, and the Campus Likes It!" at the 2011 EDUCAUSE Security Professionals Conference


Name: Pete Donahue
Degree: MA (2nd Year)
Interests: Innovation strategy, creativity studies, collaboration, document design, usability testing

Pete is one of several Professional & Technical Writing students who started off in the Department's Professional Writing & Communication certificate program. He now serves as both a student and the Department of English's project assistant. Additionally, he holds a B.A. with emphasis on Rhetoric from Binghamton University (2006) and a Graduate Certificate in Project Management Strategy from the University of Chicago (2013).

While completing his coursework, Pete is also employed in IT communications for Johnson Controls, a global organization that ranked 67th on the 2013 Fortune 500 list. He served as a research assistant at UWM's Center for 21st Century Studies in 2011 and has also completed numerous freelance technical writing and editing projects rooted in a variety of fields.

Major Accomplishments:

  • Chancellor's Graduate Student Award winner, 2012
  • Department of English project assistant


Name: Avery C. Edenfield
Degree: PhD (4th Year)
Interests: Critical pedagogy, cooperatives, new materialism, rhetoric of technology, sexuality and gender, activity theory
Dissertation: Exploring effective communication through a cooperatively owned, collectively managed, for-profit enterprise

Avery is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Professional & Technical Writing program and one of the program's most experienced graduate teaching assistants, having taught five different preps in the past few years. Most recenlty, this includes MATLENG 201, the communication lab for UWM's Material Sciences students and part of the Engineer Exchange Program, which brings in Professional & Technical Writing Ph.D. students to come in and teach communication skills units as part of real engineering courses.

Prior to joining the Professional & Technical Writing program as a Ph.D. student, Avery earned his M.A. from the same program in 2010. Additionally, he earned a B.A. in English Language and Literature/Letters from Lee University in 2007. Avery's Master's thesis was a literature review of the intersections of queer theory and professional and technical writing pedagogy, included a look into the potential impact queer theory could have on professional and technical writing pedagogy. The tentative focus of his dissertation is exploring effective communication through a cooperatively owned, collectively managed, for-profit enterprise.

Major Accomplishments:

  • UWM James Sappenfield Award, 2012
  • UWM First Year Student Success Award, 2011
  • UWM Community Service Award, 2010


Name: Molly Kessler
Degree: MA (1st Year)
Interests:: Rhetoric of science and medicine, health communication

Molly joins the Professional & Technical Writing program as an M.A. student after earning her B.A. in English with emphasis in technical and professional writing from UWM in 2013. During her time as an undergraduate, she worked in the Body Weight and Shape lab under Dr. Lori Klos, where she discovered her passion for health communication. She also currently works as an RA for Dr. Scott Graham in UWM's Scientific and Medical Communications Laboratory.

Outside of her research in health and science, Molly also volunteers for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America-Wisconsin Chapter, where she uses her professional and technical writing skills to assist in grant writing and public relations projects. As bridging the gap between the humanities and medicine is her main focus, she plans to attend medical school upon graduation and incorporate her knowledge in rhetoric and health communication to facilitate meaningful patient-to-physician interaction.

Major Accomplishments:

  • Klos, L., Risse, V., & Kessler, M. (2012) To weigh or not to weigh: An examination of the relationship between self-weighing behavior and body image among adults. Body Image, 9, 551-554.
  • Klos, L. A., Greenleaf, C. A., Paly, N., Kessler, M., Shoemaker, C., & Suchla, E. (2013, May). Losing weight on reality TV: A content analysis of weight loss behaviors and practices portrayed on The Biggest Loser. Presented at the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Conference, Ghent, Belgium.


Name: Tammy Rice-Bailey
Degree: PhD (4th Year)
Interests:: Business, technical and organizational communication; rhetorical strategies of cross-functional work teams, remote workforces, and organizational newcomers
Dissertation:: Knowledge Retrieval, Collaboration, Quality, and Value: A Qualitative Study of the Working Relationship of Technical Communicators and Subject Matter Experts.

Tammy brings to the Professional & Technical Writing program over 20 years of experience as a professional technical communicator and over 15 years of teaching experience. She holds a B.A. in Communication from UW-Parkside (1988) and an M.A. in English Literature (1995), earning Cum laude honors for both degrees. Prior to joining the Ph.D. program in Professional & Technical Writing, Tammy held several high-level industry positions, including Senior Technical Writer for Kemper Financial Services, Inc and Instructional Design Manger for McDonald's Corporation.

In addition to her experience in industry, Tammy has also served as an instructor in both communication and English and previously taught at the International Academy of Design and Technology and at the College of DuPage. She is currently a graduate teaching assistant for the Professional & Technical Writing program, and has taught Business Writing, Technical Writing, Oral and Written Communicaiton for Mechanical Engineers, and First-Year Composition at UWM.

Major Accomplishments:

  • Margaret Baker Graham Research Grant. Association for Business Communication 2013.
  • Appointed Graduate Student Representative, UWM Professional & Writing Program, 2012-2014
  • Chancellor's Graduate Student Award, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2012