Kerri Ann Considine combined her love for literature with her passion for performance while working on her PhD in English. She has the opportunity to share her excitement for interdisciplinary research with graduates from across the university as the speaker for the fall 2017 Graduate Hooding Ceremony.
“My speech will focus on the importance of research, collaboration, and being open to thinking across disciplinary lines as we all move forward to the next stages of our careers,” says Considine, a postdoctoral lecturer in the Department of English. “I hope to inspire graduates to celebrate their successes here at UT and offer them encouragement as they move into new and different arenas.”
Considine influenced the lives of many undergraduate students in her role as a graduate teaching associate, which is one reason Dixie Thompson, vice provost and dean of the graduate school, chose Considine to be the speaker at the hooding ceremony.
“As a doctoral student, Kerri impacted our campus in many positive ways,” Thompson says. “Although her academic home was in English, she forged a partnership with the Department of Theatre that allowed her to share her expertise and passion across our campus and into the community.”
Considine graduated from the UT Department of English the summer of 2017 with a concentration in Literature, Criticism, and Textual Studies. Dawn Coleman, associate professor and director of graduate studies in English, nominated Considine as a speaker because of her outstanding work.
“Kerri was an exceptional PhD student who distinguished herself as a scholar by winning a year-long research fellowship at the UT Humanities Center and as a teacher by winning the John C. Hodges Excellence in Teaching Award,” Coleman says. “Perhaps her most impressive contribution to UT while a graduate student was serving as a dramaturg – a person who assists with the research and development of plays – for nine productions with the Clarence Brown Theatre.”
During her graduate career, Considine taught a wide range of courses in both the English and theatre departments. Her dissertation focused on how 20th century theatre has creatively interpreted humans’ relationship to machines.
“This focus is highly relevant to our own age of ubiquitous smartphones and sophisticated artificial intelligence, when our experiences of the world are increasingly mediated by computer algorithms,” Coleman says.
Considine’s dissertation advisor, Professor Stanton Garner, said her dissertation was one of the most exciting he has ever supervised.
“Kerri combined an English specialist’s sensitivity to language and the written word with a theater person’s understanding of how theater works,” Garner says. “She is equally at home with printed plays and live performance, and her scholarship explores the lively relation between the two.”
Considine credits her English degree for much of her success and providing her with tools for crafting language across different media and genres in today’s technological world.
“With the rapid progression of technology, so many of our interactions with other people and the world around us happen online through writing,” Considine says. “It is more important than ever to understand the impact our words can have in the world.”
As a postdoctoral lecturer, Considine continues to impress upon her students the importance of the written word, critical analysis, and research skills that will help them succeed in any career path. She is honored to be asked to speak at the ceremony.
“Completing a graduate degree, for me, was both a triumph and a bit daunting,” Considine says. “This is a transitional moment to both acknowledge past accomplishments and begin new paths to take our work out into the wider world.”