Hello! My name is Eric Manuel Rodriguez and I am a fourth-year Ph.D. student with Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures Department. I am interested in the decolonial possibility of indigenous frameworks in the instruction of writing. Broadly, I’m attuned to some of the concerns of under-served, low-income communities because I come from these communities. This inspired me to take steps toward addressing what people like myself actually needed and how I could work with my community to better with the skills I have. As a writing instructor, I chose to work at a community college in the city I grew up in, where I actively worked with students like myself—non-traditional, working poor, and often communities of color. I volunteered my time in providing writing workshops outside of the classroom. Understanding that this was work for a community as opposed to working with a community, I knew my focus had to change.

It wasn’t until I was accepted into the Rhetoric and Writing graduate program did I begin to understand the difference between working with and working for communities. With the Michigan Indigenous/Chicanx Community Alliance (MICCA), students worked with Indigenous and Queer youth programs to host events for communities off-campus using our on-campus funding.

Currently, I work with the Building Healthcare Collectives to build capacity for humanities research with health practitioners to promote health equity. Additionally, I volunteer on a project with the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness to compose backing music for speakers on their speaker’s bureau.

I’m excited to finally be a CHI fellow. As I’ve navigated this early academic/graduate student life, it became clear that my bag of tricks needed some expanding. By beginning to understand basic web development and data visualization, whole new fields of research are opening up to me the will allow me not only to theorize about whole other worlds but connect my work with more communities outside of my immediate locale. I’m looking forward to what I’m sure will be a frustrating, if not rewarding, academic year with CHI.