Faculty Spotlight: Emily Smith

Emily Smith

Posted April 22, 2022

Name: Emily Smith

Department: Literature, Media, and Communication

Title: Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Alma Mater(s): Ph.D. in English, Pennsylvania State University; M.A. in English, University of Maryland; B.A. in English and Theatre Arts, Denison University


Who had the greatest influence on your education and/or career path?

I went to a small liberal arts college, and I had several professors work with me to develop the ideas that ultimately became my doctoral dissertation. I try to bring that kind of close-knit environment and energy to all my writing classes. 


What's the goal of your research? What do you hope to change with it?

My research asks how we remember the past, and how those memories —which can shift and change over time — influence the way we approach education and activism in the present. I hope to change the way people think about history as a static narrative and see their role as ordinary citizens in lifting up stories from the past that speak to values we hold dear today.


Why did you decide to teach at Georgia Tech, and what's the best part about working here?

Teaching at Georgia Tech allows me to work with my awesome colleagues in the Writing and Communication Program and teach technical communication classes that develop students’ rhetorical skills with genres that they may well see frequently in their professional lives. The best part, though, is working with students to use our assignments to explore topics and issues they’re passionate about.


What moment in LMC/at Georgia Tech stands out as the most memorable?

Students presented their group research projects to the class last semester, and it was great to hear classmates asking each other questions about these topics that they were all interested in.


What's your favorite course to teach and why?

I really love teaching the computer science and LMC sections of LMC3403: Technical Communication. No matter their majors, Georgia Tech students have wide-ranging, creative interests and approaches to problem solving, which is perfect for the types of topics technical communication covers. 


When you're not working, what do you like to do?

I sing with the Atlanta Women’s Chorus, which has been a great way to meet people in Atlanta and perform a wide range of fun songs. I also have two cats who love attention, so they always want to hang out when I come home.


If you weren't doing this, what would you be doing?

I used to work theatre camps most summers, and seeing kids get more comfortable opening up and expressing their creative ideas is so rewarding, so probably something with children and the arts.


Do you have any advice for LMC students at Georgia Tech?

Your interests and skills can translate to a variety of career paths and settings, so pay attention to what really engages you in your classes and your hobbies outside of class.  


If prospective students or alumni are interested in what you do, can they contact you? What are some topics you can speak to?

Of course! I’m happy to talk about graduate school, teaching, and research in the humanities, but I also really enjoy hearing about what students are interested in and how they’d like to apply those interests!

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Cassidy Chreene Whittle