‘Digital Mirror’ reflects Blair’s collaborative spirit

BGSU President Carol Cartwright and Kristine Blair

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Helping girls to understand and use the “digital mirror” of computer technology to create and represent their digital identities has reflected back numerous successes for Dr. Kristine Blair, chair of the Bowling Green State University English department. The most recent is the President’s Award for Collaborative Research and Creative Work, presented at the annual Faculty Recognition Dinner March 22.

Along with the award came $2,500 for Blair and another $2,500 for her to continue her collaborative work with graduate students.

The “Digital Mirror” was a residential summer computer camp conceived in 2006 by Blair and students in her Rhetoric and Writing classes. With the aim of providing a positive experiential learning environment for computer technology to girls in grades 6-8, Blair has worked with 13 graduate women students in directing and administering the camps. Not only have the young students benefited, but also the graduate students involved, said Dr. Erin Dietel-McLaughlin, who was among the original group of organizers and is now an assistant teaching professor at the University of Notre Dame.

“As a result of my participation in the camp, I developed a valuable experience administering a community-based research project and collaborating across institutional boundaries, as well as gaining additional teaching experience,” she wrote in support of Blair’s nomination.

Dietel-McLaughlin noted the range of other professional and intellectual benefits she and the other graduate students reaped from the project as it progressed, from writing and securing a grant for the camp’s ongoing support to co-authoring a book chapter on the Digital Mirror and giving presentations at five national and two local conferences. When she was going through the job search process, she relates, time and again search committees were “impressed with the administrative, pedagogical and scholarly experience” she had gained.

Camp co-director Meredith Graupmer Hurley wrote, “I learned from these experiences the importance of connecting academic research with community outreach projects to benefit those who work inside and outside the academy. I also learned how the process of collaborating with my colleagues fosters new insight into my own research endeavors and improves my confidence to pursue professional projects throughout my career.”

Said Dr. Michael Ogawa, founding vice president for research and economic development, in recommending Blair for the award, her “success in her collaborative efforts to establish and run the Digital Mirror Camp represent the very best that our institution has to offer.”

Blair has taught at BGSU since 1996. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from California State University and her Ph.D. from Purdue University.

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(Posted March 24, 2011 )